Skydive Taupo – Taupo, New Zealand
After a long and well rested sleep, it was time to leave the Tongariro National Park.
There is a lot to do around Taupo but we drove along the lake with a single objective- sky diving with Skydive Taupo.
Now I will be honest- this trip ended up becoming all the things I said I would never do. When we were discussing “crazy things to do in New Zealand”, I thought sky diving would be the compromise to not bungy jumping. As you now know, we ended up bungy jumping anyway so that went out the window fast. This area was rated as one of the best places to skydive due to the sweeping views around in every direction. I drove and it served as a good distraction from the nerves. It was a gorgeous day out- not a cloud in the sky- I was hoping that was a good start.
We arrived to a cheery group of people surrounded by pink coloring of the logo. Weighed in and waivers signed, we sat and waited for the other people jumping to arrive. Once together, we watched a few videos and confirmed our jump height. I booked us for the 12,000 ft jump and after being explained the experience, Kevin upgraded to the 15,000 ft (“only 60$ more!” like it was a bargain deal). I was firm on 12,000 ft and when it was my turn to confirm, everyone in the room just darted eyes at me. I was the only one jumping from that height. I am not sure why that was the reaction but it certainly pushed me forward to just do the 15,000 ft. I turned to the staff member that encouraged the higher level (“just not the same experience and everyone wishes they jumped higher”)- “why do you even offer the 12,000 ft option if you don’t want anyone to do it???” Silence. I can’t believe I was doing this. The nerves were a knot in my stomach. Why do people willingly chose to do this?
Once we were squared away, we waited for our flight. The group would be divided into two planes and luckily, Kevin and I were on the first plane. I don’t know if I could have sat there waiting for everyone to jump for the second plane.
Our tandem buddies greeted us- I had Rys and Kevin had Damian. We got into our jump suits, given hat and goggles, and strapped into our harnesses. As part of the photo/video package, they do some interview type segments. Digging down deep for nervous smiles, it was time to get into the plane.
Rys explained that when it is our turn to jump, to sit out over the plane with my legs together and tucked under the plane, my hands secure on the harness and my head back against his shoulder. He would tap my arm to indicate it would be ok to position into the typical sky dive fly pose.
Filed into the plane, Kevin and his jumper next to Rys and I, sitting backwards squished together as it took over 20 minutes to climb to the 15,000 ft jumping height. I was focused on breathing- perhaps as close to meditating as I will ever be- breathing in and out slowly and deliberately. I turn to Kevin and he is smiling- “we look like boomer pilot’s with these hats” and I start signing “Christmas bells those Christmas bells…” thinking of Snoopy’s similar hat while fighting the Red Baron. We both laugh at these flimsy hats.
Rys handed me my oxygen mask- if you jump over 12,000 ft an oxygen mask is to be worn once 8,000 ft is reached. More breathing exercises. Rys was great in ensuring I was still ok to jump- I was- just had to get through this part of it. I know once the parachute was opened, that would be the best part- just had to get there. Rys attached us snuggly together- a part I was anxiously waiting for, constantly asking when we were going to be connected together- I felt better.
And suddenly the time to jump came and the people in front of us sat on the side of the plane and not two seconds later were gone. Just gone! My brain was firing, Rys was pushing us forward, and just like that I am hanging out of a plane 15,000 ft in the air. I looked out – I promised myself I would not close my eyes- the horizon was incredible. And before I could count to three, we were thrust out of the plane into one barrel roll before stabilizing in a belly down fly position.
I felt Rys tap my arm and I released the death grip on my harness.
We were so high so it was a bit disconnected to feel like we were falling towards the ground but rather suspended in the sky, being held up by a fan. It was difficult to breathe so I know now why the mouth open face is the only thing you do- it was impossible to breath through your nose (I tried). To see the bend of the earth and all the different landscape around us. Not a cloud in the sky- not one!
Just as I was getting through with the free fall, the parachute opened.
It was absolute magic. The noise of the free fall stopped, I could breath normally, and it was complete silence. The tranquility was unmatched as we floated looking at all directions around Taupo. It was so amazing- this is what I knew I would love. I was able to sit like a chair in the harness- even had my legs crossed- so comfortable!
For almost five minutes, we glided through the sky before positioning ourselves for landing. I was instructed to lift my legs up completely as we were coming onto the ground in a sitting position.
And quickly, the ground got closer and closer as we glided into the ground, parachute coming down in front. WOW.
What and incredible experience! I now understand why people enjoy doing this as I certainly did.
Way way way better than bungy jumping for me! The adrenaline was still pumping for awhile as we watched the second group go up into their plane. They prepare the video montage there so we waited so they cut the reel together. Kevin was doing jumping jacks, squats and burpees in an attempt to get the energy out as I smiled beaming from ear to ear. We did it.
As another token of the package, we got t-shirts commemorating the jump. I was not taking this off!
Our videos are hilarious and definitely captured my essence before and after the jump. I hope you are entertained by it as I am!
We jumped out of a plane. It seemed hard to move onto the next part of our day. But the show must continue on! Thank you Skydive Taupo for an unforgettable and incredible experience.