After our last minute decision to leave Geraldton in the afternoon, we managed to get to Jurien Bay to set up just before it was dark. We were up and ready to go for our skydive and walked there as the skydive place was across the road from the caravan park. After signing a million waiver forms and paying for insurance (though afterwards I did question why I bothered with the extra insurance for Master14 much to his horror).
There were three of us going up for a tandem jump that morning and after sitting through our instructional video we were greeted by our tandem professionals. I had Jimmy and his first question was ‘have you been to the loo’ (this guy must’ve jumped with mums before!). After a quick pitstop, I was strapped into my harness and life raft (yes, the harness has one of those attached as we jump out of the plane over water) and getting some more instructions and lots of video and photo footage on the crews GoPro.
The third jumper with us had his wife and baby there and they had a spare carseat in their car so rather than going in the skydive minibus, Miss6 went with wife and bubba to follow us and wait on the beach to watch the jump and landing. Up in the biggest aircraft (it seated 8) and I had my earplanes in ready for take-off. At this stage, I was expecting to start feeling nervous but I was strangely calm and excited – I think. It may have been that I was busy worrying that Master14 was ok all strapped into his harness or that Jimmy seemed competent and happy to go.
Once we got to 15,400 feet in the air, the clear rollerdoor opened and the first jumper and his tandem shuffled to the front before simply dropping away beneath us and into the sky. I was shuffled next and sat with my legs dangling out of the plane over the edge. An obligitory photo on the GoPro (not looking forward to the flattering photos they always produce!) and then we dropped out of the plane too.
Talk about ultimate brain freeze! The air was so cold my head was freezing and despite the earplanes I had in, my right ear wasn’t pressurising and was in agony. The freefall itself was an exhilarating experience and I tried to enjoy it as best as I could while ignoring the pain. Once the parachute was deployed we slowed right down and I could actually feel the sun on my head and thaw out – plus I could hold my nose and pop my ear.
I got to have a turn at steering the parachute before Jimmy pulled hard right and we turned upside down – this was my favourite part. I could see Master14 above me floating safely and I hoped he was having an amazing time too. The sand was looming below and the crew had marked a giant X in the sand (along with another very juvenile symbol that made me laugh).
We came in and landed right on the spot and I then got to watch Master14 float down and land after me. He’d looked very nervous in the plane and said he was pretty scared at teh freefall but absolutely loved it. We were quickly greeted by Miss6 who had watched the whole thing and said that we looked like tiny specs in the sky when we first jumped out.
Back to the office where we were handed our certificate for jumping which also entitled us to a two-for-one deal at the pub – it was 10am so we opted for hot chocolates instead while we waited for the video of our jumps to be ready.
After lunch we decided to head to the Lesueur National Park to check out Wilson Lookout and some of the wildflowers – it was nice to get some fresh air and try our hand at wildflower photography. My ear was still very sore and both Master14 and I were exhausted so we went back to the camper for a nanna nap while Miss6 entertained herself colouring in.
We headed to the beach to walk the pier and watch the sunset before hitting the pub for our two for one drinks where we decided to have dinner too. We went to bed with the sounds of some very strong winds and woke up to much the same – I was glad we weren’t jumping out of a plane in this wind. It was a tougher pack up in strong winds but we got there in the end and hit the road for Perth with a stopover at the Pinnacles.
We got there in time for the rain to stop and some sunshine was even out. The Pinnacles are a surreal formation and walking around the park, it feels like you’re walking through an ancient cemetary with thousands of limestone tombstones seeping out of the desert floor. We did have a giggle at a couple of the formations that looked a bit phelic and even Miss6 yelled ‘that looks like a doodle’ at one of them.
There were photographs in the discovery centre that were taken either at early or late hours of the day where the light really captures the strange beauty of the rocks – I think our photos are more for remembering the visit as the light wasn’t the best at the time of day we got there. We left the Pinnacles behind and headed for Karrinyup Waters Resort in Gwelup, just outside of Perth – our first capital city on this trip and first major town for a few months.