Picture yourself circling and spiraling up into the sky as your adrenaline pushes you to the edge of your seat. After about six minutes, you’ll have reached your target altitude. You’re living in denial of what you just got yourself into until reality sets in with the swing of an open door to the sky. Imagine aerial views of the lakes and beaches of Newcastle, Australia. Skydiving is at the top of many people’s bucket lists; however, only a brave bunch of us are ever willing to plunge from the sky down.
Bryan Palazzolo, a student, studying abroad in Sydney, had experience and anticipation in his pocket the day he and his roommate signed up to skydive. The pair had initially set out to dive in Wollongong; however, due to wonky wind currents, they were taken 1-2 hours away from Sydney with a group of approximately forty fellow divers. They set out to enjoy views of New South Wales’ spectacular coastline.
The experience was estimated to have cost around $300; however, with the purchase of a video, the price rapidly rose to $600. Skydiving locations will often request you plan this experience ahead of time due to the expensive nature and the need to prepare mentally.
There are a few different types of skydiving options to decide between. The most common one is Tandem Skydiving. This is what most first-timers and uncertified divers do their first few jumps. Tandem Skydiving is when a student diver is attached to a skydiving instructor. Palazzolo and his friend had signed up for Tandem diving.
This experience is not for those who intimidate easily. As tensions rise with the altitude, pilots and the certified divers on the plane will make jokes to break everyone’s added stress. When asked about the flight into the sky, Palazzolo smiled fondly as he talked about the rapid incline flying in circles and circles until they reached the 15,000 ft requirement for jumping. He said one significant difference between the jump in Australia and his Jump in America was that he was much more anxious to jump out of the plane in Australia.
When he was just a few years younger, Palazzolo had his first jump in North Carolina, USA. He jumped over a field in America and got washed away in the current of Australia. The thin strip of land divides the ocean from the river, and the abrupt tonal ranges of blue echoing through the Australian landscape were described with excitement and awe.
Seasoned jumpers will recommend first-timers to be the first person that jumps out of the plane. Seeing that diving in Australia was Palzzolo’s second rodeo, the certified master diver he was paired with amongst the others decided he would be the last to jump. This was the first time he would be anything but the first person to jump.
When asked what went through his head in the moments leading up to and eventually descending, Palazzolo chuckled and admitted, “The first few seconds are panic. You just watch people disappear into nothing. As I shuffled to the edge with my certified diver, I definitely had a moment where it felt like I was going to defecate in my pants, But after the initial rush of the fall, you start to appreciate the view. You yell but can’t hear yourself bc of the wind. Complete serenity washes over you.”
With a new appreciation for what was around him, Palazzolo visited a wide range of places both in and close to Australia, the Solomon Islands being his favorite. When thinking about skydiving, brace yourself for intimidation, anxiety, and one hell of a ride; 30 seconds of free-falling with approximately six minutes until your feet gently return to the ground.