For my entire life I have heard stories about sky diving. The adrenalin rush and excitement of freefalling. It’s on everyone’s wish list. Just think to yourself how many times you listened to your friends talk about going skydiving. But one, two, three years later they still haven’t taken that leap of faith. I even said it myself for the past 2 years or more. Now all that talk has ended and I have officially jumped 15,000 feet from a perfectly good airplane. Myself and three other guys from work all took a day off and decided if there was a time to skydive, then this was it, in beautiful New Zealand. On our 2 hour drive none of us could quite grasp what we were all about to do. There were a few moments of laughter when we would talk about opening the parachute to a bag full of spoons just get someone’s nerves going. The part of the trip where it really hit me was when the Sky Dive instructor had us watch a video of their dive. The stomach butterflies were then released! After the video we got dressed in our Top Gun jump suits and headed for the plane. We each had a sky diving professional we went tandem with who sat directly behind us in the plane. I watched as at 15,000 feet the side door of our pink aircraft opened and my friend sitting on the edge of the plane vanished! The next person walked up to the edge. Vanished! One person after the other, they were falling like flies. All 8 tandem jumpers must have been out of the plane in less than a minute. I walked up to the edge and looked down at the gigantic Lake Taupo. The next thing I remember is still starring down at the lake, but with nothing under me and the enormous amount of wind pushing into me. Within 8 seconds of my freefall I reached terminal velocity going roughly 200km or 120mph. The freefall only lasted about a minute, but surprisingly you can comprehend everything during the jump. I waved at the video camera that was taping my every move, gazed at the massive mountains surrounding us, and watched my fellow jumpers falling below me. Once the shute opened the instructor gave me the ropes to control the parachute and for the next 7 minutes we floated gently to the ground.
Nothing can prepare you for your first jump, but I have two recommendations. If you have the choice to do a 12,000 foot dive vs. a 15,000 foot dive then do the 15,000. It may be a bit more expensive but it is well worth it. With the 15,000 ft dive you freefall for a while and have time to comprehend and appreciate the view before the shute opens. While in a 12,000 ft dive you pretty much jump out of the plane and before you even know what’s happening the shute opens. The other recommendation is to not do anything involving effort after the dive. You will feel great an hour after the jump, but similar to drinking and energy beverage, the crash will come and you will be extremely tired. How do I know? Well we all planned a golf trip to Kinloch after our jump and it was pretty much walking 18 holes with a bag full of bricks.
This Skydive location was at Lake Taupo which is New Zealand’s biggest lake. The jump cost $500NZ which actually amounts to only $380 US and it includes pictures and a full video of the dive personalized with music of my choice. Hands Down! Best money I have ever spent! I encourage everyone who reads this to push back your desk chair, drop the pencil that is scribbling doodles on your homework, logout of your facebook account for a day and schedule a date with your skydive professional.