Skydiving, I’m sure it’s on a lot of people’s bucket list.. Something you say you’ll do, something you will get around to, maybe for a big birthday, or maybe when your in some beautiful country somewhere. I know a lot of people dream of doing something as crazy as jumping out of a plane but either end up backing out or never finding the time.
I’ve always wanted to do it, during my trip around the world in 2014 I spoke about it a lot but never found the spare cash to fund it. I felt confident in the fact that during my 6 month stay in New Zealand I would find the time and the money to jump. Is there a more beautiful country than New Zealand – this was definitely the place.
Well I’m currently living in Queenstown NZ, which most call the ‘adventure capital’ of the world and well I guess I found the time!
While I was travelling through NZ, Jen and I had both pencilled in that we would do the skydive in a place called Taupo, a beautiful place and one of the more affordable places to jump.
During the month of June however all those with a residential address in Queenstown were able to get any skydive for half price. This was an incredible saving, everyone was talking about it. It became busier than ever and we had one month to decide whether we had the money, the guts and the time to do it.
If it wasn’t for the huge saving I would of been in no hurry to jump out of a plane, Taupo was still on top of our list. But this was a deal not to be missed.
Tuesday 28th June (we like to cut it fine) was the day. We were instructed to meet at 12pm at the shop where we booked it.
I was feeling pretty calm all morning, which I was hugely surprised about, I think what was about to come didn’t feel real. This might be one of the strangest things I’ve ever said but jumping out of a plane is Queenstown is a pretty normal day to day occurrence and even though this was my first time I think the normality of it added to my zen like state.
We were given a debrief at the shop so we knew a bit more about what was going to happen. When I say debrief I want to highlight the BRIEF, at one point we were told we don’t need to know about the health and safety aspects just “lean back and enjoy the ride”.
The journey to what they call the ‘drop zone’ was pretty quiet, a small coach full of people contemplating their life choices. Once we were there, there was very little waiting around. Two guys that had jumped before went straight through and waited for the next plane. We were left to watch the current skydivers plummet to earth and glide effortlessly into the drop zone.
Firstly you hear the plane, then you spot it. You second guess yourself as you stare at that black dot in the sky, ‘surely thats not it, thats way to high.’ And then you see the speck of white dropping out of said dot and when I say they plummet to the earth I honestly cannot think of a better word. The speed that these flecks fall is enough to start anyone trembling. Thats when the nerves kicked in, that was soon to be Jen and I. The specks soon turn into dots, which then turn into people shaped objects, the fall seems to go on forever, technically its 60 seconds of free fall – which Im sure is long enough in anyones book.
Those people shaped objects then become recognisable as people as they start to glide closer and closer to the drop zone.
The next thing you hear is the roar of the planes engine as it comes into land, and then your name as the lady holla’s at you from inside the building. I guess that means its our turn Jen!
We head inside to get fitted in all the gear. The overalls, the hat, the gloves and the goggles. They couldn’t make you look any worse if they tried!
I’m paired up with a super cool Kiwi lady. She makes me feel relaxed straight away which I appreciate massively. We then put our layers of harnesses on and before we know it its GO time.
As we’re heading towards the plane we recorded a little video of me answering some questions about the jump, ill add it at the bottom and you can see what I mean. They do this for those that have bought photo and video packages as they compile a personal film of your jump – what an amazing keep sake!
Then there I was sat on the plane, in-between my professionals legs. They waste no time at all before were off down the run way and into the air, none of this waiting for baggage to be loaded or searching for missing passengers, I could get used to this!
It takes 15 minutes to reach 15,000ft, this felt like a lifetime. The views across Queenstown were stupendous, it was incredible to see home from above. The mountains covered in snow, the aqua blue lake directly below us, the beauty just took your breath away!!
The professional in front of me wore a watch to indicate what height we were at, the numbers rose steadily; 5000, 8000, 13000 and then we were there, 15000ft.
The door was opened, the screams were echoing through the plane and then it all started, people just started disappearing out of that open door. This was not a sight I was used to!
This is when the butterflies really kicked in, I watched another and another go. Then it was Jens turn, I shouted after her but all I got in return was a scream that disappeared into the air.
OMG it was my turn. We scoot towards the door, there no other way out, this is it now. My legs hit the freezing cold air, I tuck them under the plane as instructed, very little is going through my head at this point, I realise I am hanging outside of the plane. I see the blue sky above me and snowy white mountains in front of me and then we fall..
I’m not even sure how I describe this part to you, I’m falling at 200kph, it’s freezing cold, it’s so hard to catch your breath, I don’t even feel as if I can scream (you can see that in my face). Sixty seconds of free fall is an extremely long time, I do remember at one point thinking when will this be over, it’s sooo cold my face is about to fall off. The feeling is surreal, even though we were plummeting towards the ground I didn’t feel scared at all, the feeling is just overwhelming, there’s so much to take in, so much to see. It’s maybe the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced!
Now I really start to appreciate this incredible view from above, I think there is no better place in the world to do this than here. We glide for 7 minutes, an incredible amount of time to experience that rare feeling of flying. I felt like the only person in the world. I completely understand the fascination around this now.
As we take our last wide swing I raise my legs in front of me and get ready for the landing, I’m whooping and hollering now, the last final seconds of this incredible experience. We skid along the grass beautifully and I jump to my feet full of adrenaline and excitement!! I high fived my partner and was so thankful to her for getting me back to earth safely!!! Thank you thank you thank you for this once in a life time experience.
Just do it once, you’ll never regret it!!