Skydive, Rafting and Licking Ants Bums

Trip Start Jan 20, 2007
Trip End May 06, 2007

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What I did
Skydive Cairns

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, February 22, 2007

It was the last journey of the Oz Experience bus so we all had a big night out in the 'Woolshed' bar. There were loads of free pitchers of beer as well as free champagne for the ladies... all night!! Now, with an offer of anything free for a backpacker, you are obliged to make the most of it. So it's probably safe to say I got completely rat-arsed with only vague recollections of anything that happened, but I am told I make a very good table dancer.

Following the heavy night, naturally I awoke feeling pretty rough. However today was the day I had booked to go and jump out of a plane. Hmmm yes it was definitely today and due to commence in only a few hours in fact. Good.... And it just got better and better as I turn up absolutely hanging at the Skydive office and meet my tandem jump instructor, who only had 2 fingers. Is that your parachute pulling hand? Aaa yes of course it is.

A great guy though (if a little mad) and after a quick tutorial off we went and hopped into the little plane. 5 scared but excited participants with 5 dude instructors, we were all crammed in like sardines on the floor of the tiny aircraft. My stomach was all over the place as the plane was wobbling and bumping about (not to mention the previous excessive alcohol consumption) so feeling extremely queasy. We kept rising higher and higher and I started feeling more and more panicky and then all of a sudden we turned around and descended towards the airport again. Apparently there was too much cloud. I felt so unbelievably relieved that I got out of it without having to chicken out and maybe now I could go and nurse my hangover more sensibly, although also a little disappointed that I was not able to fulfil the crazy dream.

However within 10 minutes of landing we were herded back into the plane, conditions have improved! So up we went again but this time it felt very surreal and I was quite happy peeking out of the window at the nice views- ooo is that the Great Barrier Reef over there?... then a heart-stopping jolt at reality as the mechanical whirr of the door starts and it slides open next to me. ARGGGGHH!!!

There was much cursing and Damo (my tandem guy) who was sat behind me began pelvic thrusting at me to shimmy us over to the edge. I can remember holding on to the door frame for dear life and not budging so he firmly grabbed my arms, crossed them over my chest, leant us forward and fell out. My heart was somewhere near my tonsils at this point.

And that was it. Suddenly tumbling around in mid-air with absolutely no control. 14,000 feet from the ground. Hang on a minute... this is AMAZING!! It took my breath away and I was in complete awe. Cannot describe the feeling of falling at 120mph through the sky except that it was pretty windy. I had the hugest rush ever though and it was incredible. My cheeks were flapping about like billyo and the view was fantastic!

Then he opened the parachute and with an abrupt jolt we swung forward into a sitting position in the harness. Phew! I felt free as a bird. So peaceful and had a calmer moment to properly take it all in. I was suspended in mid air still about 4000 feet from the ground, but didnt feel scared at all. I was buzzing! Then I got to have a go at steering with the parachute handles so naturally I decided it would be fun to spin us round in tight little circles. Ummm bad idea I now feel like puking again. But we soon came into the ground and skidded elegantly on our bottoms along the grass. Ta-daa, that was absolutely incredibly awesome I loved it! I then threw up the contents of my stomach.

So we had a few days chilling out in Cairns which is a lovely city, loads of surf shops. Also a big artificial lagoon thing by the beach perfect for cooling off in. It got seriously boiling hot here, almost unbearably so but luckily our hostel even had a pool aswell.

Then for our next adventure- White Water Rafting. It was on the Tully River which is grade 5 rapids and crazy crazy fun! I got the best seat at the front of the raft and had to paddle paddle paddle and all jump across the raft left and right to help manouvre us out of rapids and stop it flipping over. In the really rough bits or when we flew down some waterfalls we all hadto duck or crouch right down as well so it was pretty frenzied at times with the instructor shouting one-word commands at us. We navigated some immense rapids though with inventive names, such as 'regurgitator', 'devils toilet bowl', 'drop-stop-rock', 'staircase' and 'double D cup' (it seems someone lost their bra at that one once) It was a gorgeously hot day so getting splashed was lovely and we went for a refrehing trip under a big waterfall too and the scenery was amazing, although difficult to concentrate on it! At one point we got completely stuck wedged at the bottom of one of the drops so water was pouring in the raft and it became like a bath tub. Just about escaped it though and had a tasty BBQ lunch right next to the river where we had a little swim/play after and did some cliff jumping. All in all a wicked adrenalin packed day!

Our other adventure in Cairns was to get the ferry to Fitzroy island and did some good sea kayaking round the island followed by some snorkelling in which we saw a big jellyfish. That put an abrupt end to snorkelling, just incase, so had a nice picnic on the beach and then our guide took us on a walk to a lighthouse lookout for some good views of some other islands. Oh and on the way up we licked a few ants bums. Yup! Called green ants (they are actually brown but with big green arses), about an inch long and can bite too. But you grab one and press its bum on your tongue and it releases this stuff that tastes like sherbert! Really tangy zappy sort of feel. Interesting, and quite addictive. So there you go, I licked an ants bottom!
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