How I Faced My Fear of Heights and Skydived Anyway

Melanie Bulmer stared fear in the eyeballs when she jumped over Rottnest Island

Acrophobia, the fear of heights, is a common terror. Research shows that it afflicts up to five per cent of the world’s population. The fear of heights can be debilitating, to the point where sufferers steer clear of certain activities. Skydiving is one of those activities often avoided because of acrophobia (and its close cousin, aerophobia, the fear of flying).

When Sydneysider, Melanie Bulmer, and her boyfriend, Daniel, visited Western Australia in July, they discovered tandem skydiving when trawling for things to do in Perth.

Skydiving was never on Melanie’s life list. For the past 12 months or so, she has experienced physical symptoms of acrophobia: shaking, anxiety and vertigo. But when Daniel expressed interest in doing a tandem skydive over Rottnest Island, the idea intrigued Melanie.

After the 18-year-old university student discussed the possibility of skydiving with her family, Daniel decided he was definitely going to do it. “If I did it or not, it didn’t really matter. He was going to do it and I had to decide whether I was going to join him or not,” she says.

Melanie and Daniel took a couple days to think it over before making a booking.

“My parents said, ‘it’s an experience, why not have a go’ and I said, ‘yeah, but I’m scared of heights’. And that’s exactly what you don’t want to do when you’re afraid of heights,” she says.

But Melanie’s parents brought rationale to the situation. They reminded her that she’d have a fully qualified and experienced tandem instructor strapped to her who’d look after her safety the entire way, and Daniel would be in the plane too.

When Melanie decided to face her fear of heights, Daniel booked them both a tandem skydive over Rottnest Island.

When it came time to ascend to 10,000 feet above Perth’s beautiful holiday island with Skydive Geronimo tandem instructor, Jimmy Baker, Melanie says she put on a brave face but it was hard.

“I was shaking. I was terrified. There’s no other word to describe it. I. Was. Terrified. Shortly, after taking off in the plane, they pointed the Go-Pro at us and told us that we were at 5,000 feet and I looked out the window and freaked out. I thought that we were high enough as it was,” she remembers.

Melanie credits the amazingly gorgeous view over Rottnest Island and Jimmy’s aerial tour guide skills for getting her through the plane ride.

“The view was amazing. It was a beautiful day and the island was absolutely picturesque, it really was.”

I like to call it my closet fear because I don’t like to tell many people about it. When I get up on high things and look down, the ground rushes up and I start to feel like I’m going to fall,” she says.

Well, that sounds perfect for skydiving because that’s exactly what happens: you fall and the ground rushes up.

“That’s kinda why I thought skydiving would be okay because there’s no worry of falling, you have to fall,” she says.

Melanie now feels the skydive has helped calm her fear of heights.

“I was really worried about the falling but then the parachute [opened and] caught me. Sailing down to the ground was lovely. I really enjoyed that part. It was great.”

After their skydive, Melanie and Daniel went on the lighthouse tour of Rottnest Island, and to her surprise, she didn’t feel sick when looking down from the top of a lighthouse.

“Normally, I would look down and freak out but I looked down and thought, ‘wow, this is nothing [compared to 10,000 feet],” she remembers.

Melanie faced her fear of heights with a thrilling skydive over Rottnest Island but would she do it again?

“Definitely. It was an awesome experience,” she says.

Do you suffer from a fear of heights? Are you ready to stare that fear in the face and jump out of a perfectly good airplane? If so, contact the friendly team at Skydive Geronimo today to book your skydive.