Thursday, March 31, 2011
Diving from the sky
Why jump from 12,000 feet when you can jump from 15,000? I think they decided to use feet in this case because it sounds higher than 4,600 metres. After we put on our flight suits, life belts (in case we landed on the lake), hats, goggles and oxygen masks (for all the passenger and divers apart from Thomas. Why? We'll never as Thomas only found out on 18/04!), 15 of us squeezed into a tiny plane. At one point, Yumi was sitting in her tandem partner's lap to make more space. At 10,000 feet the oxygen masks went on. At 12,000 feet we had to wait 5 minutes for an Air New Zealand plane to pass before 2 people could jump.
Then it was our turn. 15,000 feet over the Lake Taupo area. Thomas, his partner and the camera guy went first. The plane dipped after they jumped off. That's the first time Yumi felt a little nervous.
Then to the door, smile for the camera, lean the head against the partner's shoulder and Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After a few seconds, it felt more like we were hovering than falling. We did some turns, waves at the camera and unbeknownst to Yumi her partner was making all kinds of funny movements above her like pretending to fall asleep and flapping his arms like a bird. It's hard to look good for the camera when the air makes your cheeks jiggle like jelly.
After a minute of falling, the parachute opened and we got to fully appreciate our surroundings as we gently floated along. It was a beautiful, clear day and we could see both coasts. It was a shame the ride had to end. After a soft landing, our partners were off to do another jump.
It really wasn't as scary as we thought it would be. The initial fall from the plane made our stomachs drop, but then it was just fun because it doesn't feel like you are falling. And your partner does all the work so you can just enjoy the ride.
Would we do it again? Definitely!