The day we jumped out of a plane @ 16,500 ft
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Bethany Christian Camp Site
Andrew Blog for Today
We woke to a cracking morning no wind and no clouds in the sky. It was finally time to halve the cost of the rest of the trip. Today the Lady would skydive there was no doubt about it. Despite my glory in signing up through fear of missing something in Taupo I had finally managed to regain my manhood with the common sense of a German guy in Taupo, "Andrew, you are more of a man to handle the criticism of not doing what you cannot do, than doing it just in fear of persecution of being weak". We had clearly set out the rules, we couldn't afford for any of us to skydive, worst case she jumps from a plane and I chase her parents for the money when she says it is the best thing she has ever done.
With the rules agreed I drove the lady over to the airport joking about scraping her up and how the trip would become more lonely but the reduced cost would cover the shortfall
Upon being offered a choice of times of either 5 minutes or about 2 hours I instantly said 5 minutes, Erica wanted time to get ready, I was absolutely brutal with her that if I was doing it I was doing it now before I had time to know what I was actually doing. Erica again said we would do it later, but I told the woman “let me get my flip flops off and get me in that plane or I’m out”. With that we went to the van packed up the valuables changed shoes and went back to the desk. We were quickly shepherded into the changing rooms where all of a sudden I was greeted by people saying “I’m x I’m the Y, I’ll just get you in as a suit and the harness. Then I had a camera thrust on my arm and I though the guy was taking a picture of me. I then got dragged outside and asked what I was doing, “jumping out of that over there”
Erica Blog for Today
We woke up to an absolutely beautiful day, looking through the sunroof there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was so exciting. If we (I) were going to do it, today was surely going to be the day. We cooked up some venison sausage sandwiches and sat in the sunshine having breakfast savouring every moment – as far as we were concerned this might well have been our last meal. We packed up camp and drove over to Motueka airport to Abel Tasman Skydive with Andrew still adamant that I would be doing this one solo, well I was hoping that I would be strapped to someone who actually knew what they were doing, but without him (the big Jessie)
At 599 Dollars each – it was one of the most expensive things that we have done on the trip (thanks Mum for the early Christmas present- he he) but it compared well with the other skydive companies as part of the package was a dvd of the jump, exit photos, 100 photo stills and t-shirts plus as I said you can’t jump that high anywhere else in New Zealand. We were told that if we wanted to jump that we could either go in 5 minutes or an hour and a half – that settled it, with no time to think about it too much Andrew was in so we ran back to the van to change our shoes and empty our pockets and Andrew also gulped down his blood pressure tablets (just in case). I would have preferred to wait to get my head around what I was about to do, maybe change a few details of the will, check that the travel insurance policy covered us for extreme sports- you know the usual things
It’s a bit of a blur really, we were quickly ushered in to the kit room and given jump suits to don and then our dive masters (mine was the diminutive Chris), who literally were going to have our lives in their hands, introduced themselves and got us all harnessed up and gave us a quick briefing. Andrew wasn’t saying much and looking rather sheepish I decided to leave him alone to psyche himself up for the flight (I’m sure I saw him mumbling ‘keep it together’ inn true Bowfingerstylee. Next thing we knew we were walking to the tiny plane, one person wide, that was going to take us up to 16,500 ft on our ‘scenic’ flight. We crawled in and had to sit on the dive masters knees it was that tight for space – Andrew of course loved this bit (hmmm) and I was worried about crushing my guys legs, like I say he was a little bit smaller than me. There were 7 of us including the pilot in the plane – us, two dive masters and two photographers. On the way up Andrew was pre occupied in his own world, but for some strange reason I was totally calm and even enjoyed the flight safe in the knowledge that I was getting ever nearer to jumping out of the thing. At something close to 12,000 ft we were given oxygen masks to wear, now that did seem odd when we were going to be jumping out much higher without any breathing apparatus whatsoever – still Andrew almost inhaled the thing
The time came to make a move and my photographer opened the plane door. It hadn’t occurred to me that as I was last in I would be first to jump. We edged towards the door and all of a sudden I was on the edge looking down at a patchwork landscape and it was amazing. I curved my legs back and stuck my hips forward but almost forgot to put my head back I was looking around too much. Then with a few rocks back and forward we were hurtling towards the ground at 200km per hour. It was an incredible sight, the Tasman Sea, beaches, 2 national parks, snow capped mountains and even the North Island – it was almost too much to take in, maybe sensory overload, and I was struggling to breathe we were travelling that fast.
All of a sudden we opened our parachute and there was an almighty calm, the rush was gone but it had left me deaf – oh no not again. It really was beautiful silently floating back to earth watching everything below us getting bigger and bigger. We touched down in the airfield, much more elegantly than I expected and it was such a surreal feeling knowing that seconds earlier I JUMPED OUT OF A BLOODY PLANE!!! I turned to watch Andrew come in and ran over, I was so worried that he had hated it or even had a heart attack mid way as he had predicted but all I saw was this dazed but obviously ecstatic look on his face. He had obviously loved it. We got changed and sat in the sunshine waiting for our dvds and our photos to be ready. We got to watch our videos before we left and had a chuckle about how differently we both handled it, but given Andrew’s fear of heights is that any wonder? But I am very proud of him doing it, god this guy gets panic attacks on ferris wheels – we really should live in a bungalow
We decided to stay at the Christian Camp site again and drove to Marahau Bay, one bay up for Kaiteriteri to make some enquiries about hiring kayaks to explore Abel Tasman Marine Park. The guided tours were far too expensive so we got a price for freedom kayaking and went back to the camp site to consider the options. We cooked dinner and met a lovely Christian Pastor, told you it was a Christian camp site, who had been living in New Zealand for 50 years but still managed to retain his Scottish accent. He kept us entertained for a while and then we sat and watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the camp lounge – oh and our skydive dvds about 20 times each still not quite believing that we had actually done it and lived to tell the tale.
Would I do it again? Bring on Lake Wanaka (oh and mum about next years birthday present...)