It should have gone down like any other mid-week morning. I would have rolled around my bed, pressing the snooze button about a hundred times, fighting for a little bit extra room from the smallest puppy in the world that still seems to be able to stretch and take up a whole queen size bed.
But no, this morning was different. The decision had been made over a Christmas drink or 10 just a week prior, when one of my friends piped up with, I was thinking about going sky diving. Who wants to come?
With Aunty Vodka under our belts, it sounded like the best idea in years. Unfortunately my friend was the kind of person who would announce a couple of days later it was all booked and paid for, and there was no turning back.
So after the buzz of five alarms, just in case, I threw myself out of bed and was soon hurtling down the coast in a minivan to Wollongong, all at 7am.
I’m not sure if it was the combination of excitement and not being able to sleep the night before or just being up so early, but the lead-up all seemed like a big Brady Bunch holiday, with all of us scoffing into lollies we had bought for the journey.
Now there were a couple of things that made my nerves stand on end. The first was the public weigh in, which it seemed everyone had to do but which also gave perfect strangers the right to glance over your shoulder as you stood, trying to explain the muscle weighs more than fat theory.
Within minutes I was introduced to Tim, my instructor, whom I would be strapped to. He ran through all the safety procedures -“ the arch of your back, how to throw out your arms -“ but it just wouldn’t sink in.
As Tim had a Handycam tied to his hand, so I also had a few rules and instructions for him. As I quickly ran through the pros and cons of up shots and multiple chins, we were herded into a caravan plane, packed in on top of each other. You have to sit on your instructor’s hips -“ it was heaven.
Our jump sequence was as follows: Rob first out, then Maxi, then Norman, four other tourists and then following up the rear was Neal.
It seemed like seconds and we were at 14,000 feet and the door was open. Rob was flung out by his instructor and left the plane with a high-pitched girly scream. It was now my turn. I was soon falling to the ground at 200kph, screaming like a crazy person.
Fear number two: face flaps. When a high speed wind hits your face it makes it flap like a flag in the wind. And my face flaps were flapping like there was no tomorrow, even when my canopy had opened, as I continued to scream. From memory I think I was screaming 10 minutes after I had landed.
It was, I have to say, absolutely amazing. To have so much trust in a perfect stranger you are strapped to is really liberating.
So if this big girl can jump out of a plane, anyone can do it. I have to admit, I almost did a little bit of a wee coming down, but nobody noticed.