The door of the plane opened. I was sitting on the front bench so I had an unparalleled view of the landscape from my seat. We were at 12,000 feet and the 3 people sitting in front of me were getting ready to leave the plane.
After the first 2 training jumpers left the plane, I started to get that feeling of ‘what did I sign up for?’ The last of the jumpers at 12,000 feet left the plane and the door came down. My tandem master patted me on the shoulder as he reached around to show me his meter. We were headed up to 15,000 feet and I was about to do my very first skydive jump with Taupo Tandem Skydiving in New Zealand.
There was nobody left sitting in front of me. It was just me and the door that would open again once we reached 15,000 feet, my heart started to pound in anticipation as the plane climbed higher into the sky.
At this point I transitioned into a surreal state, not really able to process what I am doing as the door opens and my camera guy leaves the plane. My tandem Master then moved me towards the door and there I was sitting on the edge. Nothing but air between me and the vast openness of the sky.
Still sitting on the edge of the door, he points towards a camera and I smile into the camera while giving the peace sign for my exit photo. Without any time to process things, he pulls back my head, gives me the thumbs up and promptly drops us both out the door of the plane.
I know what you are thinking, who would jump out of a perfectly good plane? But skydiving is one of the ultimate thrills you can have in life. IT is a sport that was invented in New Zealand and Taupo Tandem Skydiving has been taking people up into the skies over Lake Taupo for 22 Years.
From the time we arrive at the drop zone we were well looked after. They walked us through all the necessary paperwork then sent us out to the hanger to get fitted for our jumpsuits, hats, oxygen masks and goggles. The hanger is very alive and busy with people rolling parachutes and tense people milling about.
We would be going up with a group of people that were in training for their master status and one other girl that was jumping for the first time. As we hung out on the couches, we were told to step outside and watch the group before us as they jumped out of the plane above us.
This got my heart racing with a mix of nerves and excitement. It wouldn’t be long now, and I would be up there about to do this crazy thing of recreation. As they landed, the tandem masters rushed in to prepare for the next jump and meet us. I would be in the capable hands of Patrik for my jump.
Patrik was great at making sure that I was suited up correctly and that my harness was adjusted appropriately. He grabbed a new parachute, hooked a strap between us and off we walked to the airplane. We ended up sitting on the front of the bench next to the door. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, as it meant I would be one of the first ones out of the plane. I had to make peace with the fact that I was jumping out of that plane no matter where I would be sitting, so I sucked it up and nervously stared out the window. There was only one way out of this plane now and the option was from 15,000 feet.
The ride up seemed slow, I think the anticipation of it all just made the 15 minutes up seem like forever. You get that feeling that now that you are in the plane, let’s just get on with it and jump out. I think that is the contributor to the flight up feeling so long.
We made it to 15,000 feet and out we jumped. It is hard to put in words the feeling of jumping out of a plane. It is thrilling, terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Your stomach drops out as you embrace the weightless feeling you get.
The free fall from 15,000 feet is 60 seconds and seems like forever. The air was crisp that day but we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful, clear day. You could see all of the Taupo area from that vantage point, all the way to the volcanoes. Nothing I have seen in my life compares to it.
When we were through with free falling, Patrik pulled the parachute cord and the World became silent. Free falling through the sky is chaotic and loud, but the minute that parachute opens, you get that sensation of nothingness. We floated gracefully through the air taking in the views.
We landed smoothly as he told me to put my legs up and then just stand up. Our timing was so good I was actually able to stand up for the landing and land on my feet. Not an easy feat according to Partrik.
Skydiving is absolutely amazing. If you can manage to get yourself in that airplane, it will be something you will not regret in life. Now that we have done it, we both plan to jump again in the near future.
Disclosure: We were guests of Taupo Tandem Skydiving. All opinions are 100% mine. All photos and video courtesy of Taupo Tandem Skydiving and owned by Divergent Travelers.