Skydiving is never something I thought I would ever have the guts to do, but when you’re in New Zealand, the adventure capital of the world, it’s amazing how quickly you can be persuaded…
The morning of our Lake Wanaka skydive, I woke up feeling sick with dread. What on earth persuaded me that jumping out of a plane, at 15,000ft no less, was a good idea? I secretly prayed that the fog wouldn’t lift and the flight would be cancelled, but when we got the go ahead I knew I just had to take a deep breath and get on with it.
Once we got to Skydive Wanaka, we signed in, watched a quick safety video and started getting kitted up. It’s amazing what effect good branding and a slick operation does on your fear levels; I knew I would be in safe hands. Before I knew it, I had met my instructor, I was getting strapped up and I was being led to a very small plane.
To my surprise, I suddenly began to feel a sense of calm; acceptance that the only way out of this was out of the small, sliding door to my right. I watched as my fellow skydivers got sucked out of the plane by the force of gravity and then it was mine and Nikki’s turn as we reached a soaring 15,000ft.
As I put my legs out of the plane, it became shockingly clear quite how high we were. The snow-capped peaks and glittering lakes below looked like a toy set. I couldn’t quite believe how far we had to freefall (a whopping 60 seconds).
Shutting my eyes, I felt us tip out of the plane, somersault and then drop at an incredible speed against the force of air; the ground below slowing getting more and more in focus as the altitude dropped. The feeling is hard to put into words: I just remember screaming OH MY GAAAAAD the whole way down, as my instructor span me around to see the incredible panoramic views of Lake Wanaka and beyond.
Suddenly, I felt myself thrust forward into a seated position as the parachute opened and then everything was calm. We began drifting and circling towards our landing spot. Sheep – once little white dots – now became visible and I could make out Nikki waving below. Masterfully, my instructor glided in and I lifted my legs up into a seated position, barely brushing the grass.
What a thrill! Any reticence I felt about skydiving had been well and truly replaced with the most incredible high. As adrenaline rushes go, this one has to be hard to beat.
Now don’t even talk to me about bungee jumping…
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