Skydiving Over the Great Barrier Reef

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Skydiving is something I always wanted to do. I’m not sure whether it was the thrill that enticed me or whether I wanted to prove to myself I could do something so adventurous. One thing I was sure about is that it needed to be the perfect location. This turned out to be Australia.

Whilst researching what to do on my first backpacking trip, I stumbled across the opportunity to skydive near Cairns at Mission Beach. This is where you jump off the plane over, wait for it, the Great Barrier Reef!! You then land on a beach. I couldn’t think of anything better, that was the one.

When the morning arrived I couldn’t wait. It took us 2 hours to get to Mission Beach from Cairns and I still didn’t feel the slightest bit nervous. Perhaps it didn’t feel real at this point. After the safety briefing I met my tandem master and listened intently to how I should position myself for the jump. I was to dangle my legs over the edge of the plane, hold my harness to my chest and lean my neck and legs back to form a C shape. I was confident it would go swimmingly.

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It wasn’t until I was at the edge of the plane looking down at the sea far, far below me that the realisation of what I was about to do hit me. I felt petrified, forgetting all instructions for how to position myself- my tandem instructor had to physically move me! I think you can feel my terror looking at the pictures below.

I jumped from 14,000 ft and free fell for a minute. But this minute only felt like a few seconds. It went so quickly. Apparently when your brain is trying to take so much in at once, it distorts time.

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Once the parachute opened I could fully appreciate where I was. It felt surreal to be ‘flying’ over the Great Barrier Reef. I could also see the beach and rainforest. Ending the jump by landing on the beach was an incredible experience and I was absolutely buzzing. I couldn’t believe what I’d just done!

I haven’t skydived since Australia because, for me, no place could ever beat it. If you’re thinking about doing a skydive I would say: Go for it! And if you can do it on Mission Beach even better. 4 years on and it’s still the best experience of my life.

Tip: book the skydive for your first couple of days in Cairns. I met a lot of people who had their skydive cancelled due to whether conditions. If you book it early you’ll have time to reschedule if it’s cancelled.

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