Next up on the trip is Cairns. This will be the first time i have been on Aussie soil for 7 weeks by the time i get here. And what an awesome site to finish on. And an awesome place to relax at the end of my trip! There will be plenty of sun time, water time and me time!
But last weekend i packed a backpack and headed up to Cairns for AJ Hackett’s 26th birthday at the site. And i was not disappointed at going.
Heading up on the Saturday afternoon and arriving at around 4:30, i headed straight to the apartment that i was staying at and spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the surrounding area of Yorkey’s Knob. Not much to see, but relaxing none the less. Grabbed some food at the local sailing club then headed hoe and crashed out.
Sunday was going to be big.
Sunday morning i was up early enough to walk the 7.5kms to the site from the apartment and it was a perfect morning for both a walk and a jump. Winter? Where? I had plenty of time to get there so i just cruised and took my time and the opportunity to take in the surroundings. Cairns is absolutely beautiful!
About halfway there (i think) i thought i was pumped…. then i caught first glimpse of the jump tower, and THEN i got pumped! I was ready! Just get me there. The second half of the walk seemed to go FOREVER! As i got closer, there were more signs to the jump site, and a bigger smile on my face.
Walking into the tree covered entry at the end of the street that lead to the site, passing the mountain bikers setting up for the day, i realised how awesome this site actually was. Then i actually got in to the site. This place is literally IN A RAINFOREST! Following the upward meandering path, that made you feel like you were being lead deeper and deeper into the forest, i started to feel calm…. until i got to the front door…. STAFF EVERYWHERE! And i knew i was in my element!
I arrived at 9:30, but the site didn’t open until 10. Google Maps! WHY LIE TO ME! BUT luckily this wasn’t an issue for the staff and they let me chill out at the outdoor seating area under the jump tower. I could have sat there for ages. And i did, while i sorted out my go pros and how i was going to attach them…. Until i was told by an AJHL (AJ Hackett legend), Baz, that i couldn’t wear it to jump as too many come off and land in the water…. well one of them wasn’t mine, and the one that was, i can’t afford to replace, so this was a superb piece of advice! Thanks, Baz!
By the time i knew it, it was registration time. I took my coffee (again made BEFORE they opened!), and headed to the desk to sign in and get my jump ticket. This was happening. First jump in over a year, better make it good! Coral, the marketing manager of the site, got me sorted and ready to jump. Then i headed straight up, for what was at the time, the only jump i was going to do!
After i sorted out my bag (AGAIN, AJ Hackett hospitality kicks in and they stored it in one of their offices because i didn’t have change for a locker (I NEVER carry cash)), i headed straight up the 196 steps to the top of the jump tower (First of 8 times today!)
On the way up, i met a (recent) Cairns local, who was just about to do his first bungy.. “I’ve done a skydive from 14,000 feet, this should be fine right?” he said, possibly just trying to calm himself down…. “Um…. yeah. But no point delaying so you can go first” AND seeing people jump for the first time, is one of my favourite things….
There’s something about the jump area of an AJ Hackett site. Regardless of which site you go to, or which jump you do, you always feel, immediately, like you are part of the crew. Like they have literally been waiting for YOU to come. I don’ know how they train, or pick the crew, but they have it down pat.
I get the harness on and get through the gate with Jayde, James, Luke and the rest of the crew, and get attached to the cord, and i’m now super pumped for the jump! Next thing i know, i’m on the ledge. 5..4..3..2.1. And i’m out.
GOD I MISSED THIS FEELING!
This time jumping, was different though. This time, there was no fear, and total trust in the crew, which allowed me to feel only the rush. And i chased it, all day.
I ended up doing 7 jumps on Sunday. After the first, i had the jump crew choose my jumps. The second jump was backwards, and i FINALLY got my water touch, or more truthfully, a water dunk! And by the end of the day i would have had 3.
When i came i had three things i wanted to do – Water touch, flips, and a night jumps. And i got to do multiple of all of them! TICK!
The whole day finished with one of the crew doing a jump….at night… ON FIRE! Yup, real fire. After this i spent some time with the crew, chilled out and then headed out.
I left the site at around 10pm…. literally 12.5 hours on site! Exactly as planned.
The staff on the day were seriously amazing. EVERYONE from the awesome jump crew, to the reception staff, bar staff, crew walking around making sure everyone was ok, to site management were perfect. Made me feel like part of the team, and the support i received for the trip was awesome! When AJ Hackett staff get excited, i get even more excited!
It’s not the last trip to Cairns before i go by a long shot! Already looking at booking another trip to Cairns in November and planning something big… Stay tuned.
Videos if the jumps will be put on my social media over coming weeks. Check em out. And if you are in Cairns, make sure you had over to AJ Hackett and let them throw you off high shit!