Skydiving St Kilda Beach

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In taking this assignment, I was a little unsure as to whether or not my editor was trying to ‘remove’ me from the staff of SKN. If so, he’d gone to extraordinary lengths to achieve this, so I thought I’d call his bluff.

My task was to parachute from 14,000 ft above St Kilda. Ho hum. All in a day’s work for a SKN writer, I suppose.

I played it cool in front of my colleagues, and at the time thought I’d smash it, without fear, but as I got closer to the date, if I’m honest I did start to feel a little trepidation. This increased significantly during the process of filling out a ‘death or serious injury’ waiver, which I was provided with shortly after rocking up at their offices at St Kilda Marina.

The team at Skydive The Beach made me feel considerably better through their professionalism and comprehensive instruction. They took me and the other guy silly enough to jump through all the techniques required in a calm manner that put me at ease. A bit.

After fitting jump suit and safety harness, we piled into the van that would take us to Moorabbin airport. Rather than let us stew in anticipation, the friendly instructors kept us occupied with chit chat until we arrived. On arrival, I was surprised at how quickly we were boarding the plane. From arrival to take off took maybe two minutes. Even at this point I was OK, as I tricked myself into thinking I was taking a regional flight. It only really sunk in when my instructor Cody clipped us together and opened the door of the plane.

Then I may have peed a little bit in my pants.

Luckily enough, I didn’t have long to consider the reality of the situation before we were out the plane and tumbling in space. The initial couple of seconds were very disorienting, but, WHAT A RUSH!!

We stabilised shortly, and then the sensation of acceleration dies away very quickly. From that point on, I was weightless (I wish I could be like that when I stand on the scales in the morning!) and the overwhelming sensation is the noise and feel of the air rushing past as we fell. My face and hands were quite cold, but it was irrelevant when compared to the view I was looking at.

Before I had time to get used to it, the chute had opened and we were floating. I looked down and could see Albert Park, the Esplanade, Fitzroy and Acland Streets, and numerous other St Kilda landmarks. It was amazing to be able to compare all the aerial photos I had seen previously to the actual scene that was laid out before me.

Cody took us in a few tight circles as we descended, and before I knew it, we were landing in the park next to the St Kilda Marina where it all began. Amazing.

On the brief walk back to the office, I was on tip-toes. I was shaking and all I could think was “F-CK YEAH, my boyfriend is dead!” Within half an hour I had a video of the experience in my hand and was walking to the pub to brag about the experience to my mates. Which I did, at length. And then went home and abused the shit out of my amazing, good looking, sexy and generous boyfriend.

This was honestly one of the best experiences of my life and I would highly recommend that anyone who gets the chance to do it should jump at it – pun entirely intended.

By Kate Nankivell

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