We had been hanging around Lake Taupo, New Zealand, for 3 days already when we finally got the green light. Our patience eventually paid off. We were about to go for one of the most amazing experiences of our lives!
Taupo is the skydiving capital of New Zealand. Back then, we were backpacking on a very tight budget, but somehow Simon managed to get us do the big jump (even if it meant having to eat nothing but bread and peanut butter for weeks).
The weather had been pretty rough for the past few days. Our jump had already been canceled 5 times and we didn’t know when we could jump. So we were stuck there, waiting by the airfield. The third day was the good one though, and everything became suddenly very real. We were at the drop zone, kind of ready (at least physically). My brain was already racing although we hadn’t even got on the plane yet.
And that’s where our mandatory signature on the discharge came in:
“Parachute equipment even when operated correctly, packed and assembled correctly can malfunction possibly causing injury or death”.
What the hell were we doing here?
But then everything went very fast…Jumpsuit, helmet, harness…and next thing I knew, we were crammed into a tiny airplane.
I kept telling to myself “Just trust your tandem master” (whom I didn’t even know the name) and “Enjoy the experience without worrying about the technicalities” (but what if?!). As we were heading up, I looked out the window and realised how high we already were. This was only half the way up! Soon we couldn’t see anything below anymore…we were surrounded by nothing but clouds. Unreal!
By that time, our tandem partners started fixing the last “details” (mainly involving attaching you to them). I was nervous, slightly anxious. I had never really thought of skydiving before but here I was…daring myself at the other side of the world.
When we reached 12,000 feet (about 4 km high), the plane opened its mouth ready to spit all the tandems one by one. As the wind whipped into the plane, I realised what we were about to do.
Oh my… Simon just dropped out of the plane, sucked up by the wind… literally.
But by the time I understood what had just happened my feet were dangling out of the plane. It was my turn to be at the door of death. There was no going back now. I was excited (cough!). I mean terrified.
We sank into the sky’s arms, powerless. The world was swirling, twirling and falling completely away. The wind was aggressively slapping me as we hit a whopping 200km/hr.
We freefell for about 45 seconds but it felt like forever.
And then, all of a sudden, the parachute opened and the whole thing changed completely. It went really quiet. The time stood still. My heart resuscitated as we were floating peacefully in the air. I was in the middle of a romantic dance with the sky. That’s when I realised how beautiful the view was. We were floating over the turquoise Lake Taupo and the Central Plateau Volcanoes.
Soon, we landed… really smoothly on my feet (Simon on his butt).
Relieved and amazed at what we had just done, I looked at Simon whose eyes were still sparkling with joy and ecstasy.
Wow! We did it! Check the video below.