Stuart John from Base Brisbane loves adventure, and he reckons SOMETIMES the best things in life last the shortest time. JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE being one of them. Of course if you're going to jump out of a plane, you may as well do it properly and jump over Australia's third largest city before landing on a beach.
Fortunately, here in Brisbane a company called Jump the Beach do exactly that. They run their skydives out of Redcliffe, a peninsula north of Brisbane previously famous for being Queensland's first European settlement, the childhood home of the Bee Gees, and, ummm... the Redcliffe Dolphins rugby league team?
At any rate it was up bright and early for the drive out to Redcliffe on a gorgeous Tuesday for my morning quickie so to speak. Once there the staff got us to go through the paperwork before being introduced to the men and women who would literally have our lives in their hands. My tandem was Englishman Phil, who strapped me into my harness before Teresa took us through our positions in the air.
Time then to jump on the bus and have that small quirt of adrenaline start to kick in. We jumped on-board the plane at Redcliffe Airport and quickly had a birds-eye view of Caboolture (home of Keith Urban for most of his childhood years), Lakeside Raceway (home of Queensland motor racing for many years), and Kallangur (home of my father for the last few).
Then, around 11,000 feet above the Redcliffe Peninsula, the door opened.
Phil and I were the last to jump, which I've decided is quite possibly the worst spot when you're sh!t-scared of heights... We edged across to the open doorway in time to catch a glimpse of Moreton Bay directly below me (did I mention I'm scared of heights and depths?!?) before Phil pushed us off into the abyss below.
Back at the office Teresa told us to look up when we first left the plane - and I gotta tell you, that was good advice. The sight of the plane apparently shooting off into the skies gave way to sheer exhilaration as we dropped through the skies, accelerating at 9.81m/s/s until Phil pulled the cord and the parachute slowed us right down. This gave me the chance enjoy a 360 degree view of the peninsula before drifting down to the beach for a soft landing.
While drifting to the ground was pleasant enough and lasted a few minutes, without doubt the best part was the sheer thrill of the freefall. Watching the plane disappear upwards; the ground start rushing towards you; the feel of the air pressing against your face to make it contort in that weird way you can only get on the ground when you put your hands in those new-fangled hand dryers: this couldn't have lasted more than 60 seconds, and yet it was one of THE experiences of my life.
Yep, you can live for a long time and play it safe.
Me? I'll take the 60 seconds of excitement and adrenaline thanks!