Yes, yes, and yes! I always enjoy a road trip – driving, singing, and nibbling snacks with my friends on the road, looking for directions, and being surprised by what we might encounter along the way. Our trip to Western Australia was filled with adventurous and fun memories. One day we explored the south side of Perth and did something a little bit more thrilling than driving – we visited some adorable creatures and jumped out of a plane!
Dolphin Discovery Centre
First stop: The Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, a city about 2-hour away from our apartments in Perth’s City Center. Bunbury is one of Australia’s premier wild dolphin destinations with nice beaches and clear water. The Discover Centre featured two types of tours: “Eco-Cruise” and “Swim Encounter”. Visit here for the timetable.
Busselton Jetty, the new AUDC
Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. Moving to 2022, a new whale is going to be a new addition to the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC), and it will be completed in December 2022. The body of the “whale” architecture is an aquarium that the visitors can walk in the body and go underwater, observing the underwater sea life in the gallery. The site will also have retail stores and restaurants, and it’s going to be an exciting new landmark.
We were visiting in March and therefore the “Swim Encounter” only started at 7:30 am. It was too early for us as we had to drive down from Perth so we went for 11:30 am “Eco-Cruise”.
The tour was about 1.5 hours, and the cruise explored Koombana Bay. The cruise provided an excellent viewing platform for us to get close to the fascinating wild bottlenose dolphins without getting our feet wet. Right after we sailed into the bay we already spotted a big group of wild dolphins frolicking, playing, sleeping, and chilling in the water! As we approached the dolphins, they playfully swam under our boat and we had some nice good shots of them! The guide on board also gave us information about how these local creatures cope with their natural environment. He was knowledgeable and answered a lot of our questions while we were busy migrating from one side of the boat to another chasing the dolphins.
I did hope we could take part in the “Swim Encounter”. It would be an exhilarating experience as we would have had the opportunity to swim and interact with the dolphins. For those who plan to join the tour, remember to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
We then drove down to Busselton, a nearby city after our sweet little dolphin encounter, and headed to the Busselton airport after lunch. It was my very first (and not sure if it would be my only) time to sign up for a skydiving experience but it was something that I always wanted to do.
When I was researching online, they had a site to skydive in the city of Perth but UNFORTUNATELY, the site didn’t operate anymore. I thought it would have been great to skydive with the skyline of Perth as a backdrop. Now Geronimo only operates in Busselton and Rottnest Island.
The experience didn’t lower my adrenaline level in any way. The moment we arrived at the airport there were a lot of emotions to take in: excitement, anxiety, nerve, thrill… and mostly the unknown of doing something extreme the first time.
We signed up for tandem skydiving and the great thing about this was we didn’t require any prior training and didn’t need to worry about anything technical. People at any grown age could take part as long as they have a good physical condition, courage, and an adventurous heart. The skydiving instructors were experienced and well-trained and we were in good hands. During the peak season, they might have to jump 20 times a day! (Maybe that explained why they could land on the same spot so precisely.)
It was a bit too windy in the morning and I worried that we might not get to jump; the sky was cleared in the afternoon and it was perfect *lucky*. There were four of us and we separated into two groups. As I was waiting in the hanger my excitement was upsurging. I couldn’t wait for my turn when I saw how excited my friends were once they got back on the ground!
Once we took off, we would ascend to 14,000 feet, followed by a 60-second free-falling and finally landing after graciously gliding through the sky. That’s right, the “gracious” part barely came in after the free-falling” because it was not quite the case for me! Once the instructors asked “are you ready”, the now-attached instructor and I wiggled plane exit and dropped out almost instantly.
For a split second, it was a blackout. I didn’t even have a moment to screeeammmmmm!
60-second free fall
Once we “jumped”, I had a Gravity moment. We were spinning 360-degree and my emotions were like a kaleidoscope. Until I could compose myself, I could finally see what was going on through my watery eyes and breathe through my runny nose. The wind was blowing up my face and from the video feed I looked like a bulldog stuck its head out of the car window:(.
All that added up to an amazing of…, not falling, but FLYING. I was so high up in the sky I didn’t feel anything but free. Flying like a bird. I could see the horizon was a curve line. I reminded myself to remember this moment as much as I can.
When the parachute was pulled out, I was once again overwhelmed by the majestic coastline and gorgeous sunset in a much more calm and peaceful manner. The instructor adjusted the straps so I could just enjoy the view in awe.
The second thing that came out of my mouth after we landed was “Let’s do it again!” (I mean it) and I was glad that I did this, I felt like I tried something new, conquered something fearful, and achieved something great! All of us were still sharing and talking about the experience when we were having drinks and dinner at the Busselton Jetty. It’s definitely an experience to be remembered for a lifetime.