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View of Sydney City from top of bridge arch - knackered!

View of Opera House from half way up bridge climb!

Standing over the middle of the very high Harbour Bridge!

Paul & Sophy's apprehension before the skydive

Team Photo - before skydive

Sophy coming out of the plane!

Paul coming out of plane!

Sophy mid freefall!

Paul mid freefall!

Sophy landing on feet!

Paul coming into land!

Walking off the landing strip...straight to the bar!

Sophy & Paul after the skydive!

Team after the skydive!

Sky Dive Day (3rd Jan) soon came around.... Quick journey into town to the Sydney Skydivers office, where we had numerous paperwork to fill in in case anything went wrong (which we were assured nothing would!!). The bus was a late which didn't help the nerves of some of us, so the cricket helped the time pass...a little anyway. The pictues on the wall of the views did look really cool but some people looked very scared int their photo's so we were relieved when the bus turnt up and we headed off. The skydive site was sitiuated in Picton, about an hour south of Sydney, which was just adding to the nerves and tension. We both dealt with our nerves in different ways, Sophy slept and Paul rabbited to another guy on the bus about anything and everything just to keep his mind of what was going to happen. Once we were there the tension built, Paul got very quiet and didn't speak to anyone whereas Sophy kep herself occupied with a football and keepy-ups and burining off any nervous energy possible.... all this for something that would only last around 15 minutes as we would be freefalling for 60 secs from 14,000ft at over 200kmph. The centre said we could all get on the same plane together which is what we wanted and said as they were very busy, we would be jumping in around 90-120 minutes time. About 3.30, our names were called and we were fitted with our suits (v fetching!) and harnesses which were very tightly secured. Paul met his "Dive Master" Kevin who initally said that it was his first jump as a master much to Paul's horror but then reassured him that he had been doing this for 22 years and had over 6,000 jumps to his name. A quick safety induction occured (basically enjoy...I'm doing all the hard work). Sophy's Master was Steve who was a little younger, with 6-7 years experience, but wasn;t as chatty and nice as Paul's.

We got into the plane at the back which meant we were going to jump out of the plane last (Sophy last, Paul second to last) and were joined by (in order of who jumped first).... Clare, James, Ben, Paul K and Norky. The small plane took off and it was a tight squeeze for the 16 of us and soon we were climbing. The DVD'S started recording, capturing some nervous faces as we climbed and climbed. We got what we thought was very high but was horrified that one of the masters said it was only 6,000ft and we had not reached half way yet, yikes! Another 4,000ft and we were in the clouds and Paul's nerves suddenly dissappeared and he was in awe of the view out of the window, blue skies and on top of the clouds (wow!).... The first light went on which meant we had 3 minutes and there was some frantic action, the masters secured themselves to there victims!!! and then 2nd light (2 minutes to go) and then 1 minute which met with some gasps that THIS WAS IT...JUMPING TIME. The door was then open and the noise was really loud, we realised it really was time to jump as Claire and her screams flew out of the door. The others soon followed and we couldn't believe how quickly they were falling and dissapearing from view....with a woosh! wosh! as they went.... Paul was next and had to sit on the edge of the plane and got the instruction ... ready and suddenly he was falling. It was so fast. We finally started to enjoy ourselves, screams of terror turned to elation as we fell at 200kmph. The view was superb but pretty cold as we shot towards the clouds and through them. The feeling was awesome. After 60 seconds of freefall, the parachute opened and it went suddenly very quiet and much, much slower and then gently drifted back down to the ground passing some great scenery. Paul was even allowed to steer the parachute and finally touched down last, after Sophy had managed to land on her feet as she told the instructor about her poor coccyx and not wanting to land hard on it!! (yes - somehow Sophy managed to overtake Paul on the way down...hmmm...she must have put on weight!).

DID IT!!! There were some reliveved people on the ground and a lot of hugs to go round. The bar was open and a couple of cheeky beers were needed whilst we waited for the DVD's. The bus journey back to the city was a lot more relaxed and both of us totally enjoyed it, would definatley do it again and very chuffed with themselves, especially Paul who is scared of heights. We quickly had some food in Darling Harbour and then off to the theatre as Sophy really wanted to see the musical "Prisicilla Queen of the Desert" (about australian drag queens). It was very very good and Paul was very surprised that he enjopyed in so much. Were both quite tired after all the excitment of the day and slept very well that night !!

On our 1st Day in Sydeny we had booked our Bridge Climb for our last day as tehy seemed to be very busy over teh festive period and not much availabilty left, so a 6.05 am climb it was!! After our suits were kitted out and the safety induction was completed, we were off. The complete return journey to the summit (134m) would take around 3.5 hours, it was a clear day, blue skies and very hot even at 8.30am. We climbed along to the walkway of the bridge which was 75 years old this year and started a gentle climb up the bridge. As we were walking up, it was really hard to imagine that it was built around 80 years ago (took 5 years to build) what with all the steel (from England) and all the equipment not around in those days. As the climb got steeper, the views of Eastern Sydney became more spectacular and the traffic below us a lot smaller. The weather was getting pretty hot especially in our suits that we had to wear and our guide took us through some historic facts about the bridge. It is the 2nd longest single span bridge in the world (70cm behind New Yorks Hell Gate bridge) and then for the Olympic Games, they were going to paint the bridge yellow and green but were horrified that an enginners quote stated that it would take 14 years to paint and would need 30,000 litres of paint (i.e: 60 olympic swimming pools). As we got to the summit, we could see Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, the SCG, Circular Quay, Opera House, as well as much more. We had our photos taken and started a decent down the Western side where we could see the Olympic Stadium and Darling Harbour etc.... We got back to base, where a mix up with the booking got us free photos burnt to CD from the Duty Manager and after a quick change, we had the rest of the morning to explore the Harbour and some much needed breakfast....

Adrenalin rush over....well until the white water rafting and bungy in New Zealand next week!!

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