From the moment we signed our lives away on the NZone Ultimate Jump waiver forms and jumped out of that plane, I was oddly overcome with the feeling of complete calm. It was eerie how all the fear and anxiety had dissipated, and there were really no emotions left at all. All that was left was indifference, as if I was removed from my body and left watching myself as an apathetic observer. Either I was really that cool and collected, or I had just gone numb from the fear. Most likely the latter.
JR and I signed up for the middle 12,000 ft jump, which gave divers 45 seconds of freefall (NZD$299). The highest jump NZone offered was 15,000 ft for 60 seconds of freefall (NZD$399), and the lowest was 9,000 ft for 25 seconds (NZD$249). I also bought the photos and video package for NZD$219 to document my first sky dive.
I was unemployed and without health insurance, so maybe that was not the smartest decision of my life – but it was certainly one of the funnest! And had the parachute failed and I died, health benefits would have been useless anyway. The only way to get injured (save landing in a tree) is to forget to lift your legs up during landing and break your legs- and well, with a tandem instructor shouting commands at you, only an idiot would refuse to follow directions.
Nzone drove us to the dive site and we had to do a lot of waiting until our turn. There was only one plane and 4 jumpers at a time, so it took several hours before the whole group was finished. There was a giant chessboard that kept us entertained for most of the waiting period. We also watched as each sky diver floated down to the ground, and the bubbling enthusiasm following the landing helped psyche us up.
It was finally GO time! We got suited up (because it freezing cold versus Hawaii where my friends jumped in their bikinis) and were strapped onto our tandem sky diver. My Jumpmaster was a hardcore Eastern European sky diver, who was all business and seriousness, which worked fine for me! He only smiled once and it was for the picture below.
JR and I made nervous jokes the whole ride up, but it wasn’t really until the plane door opened that my heart started racing uncontrollably. We did 3 swings before jumping and I tried my best not to close my eyes and waste this experience.
I felt the falling sensation where my stomach flip flopped for about 3 seconds until we reached terminal velocity, and I felt I was actually getting pushed upward rather than falling downward. By this time I was having a grand old time! It was cloudy that day and it was glorious to fall through the cloud cover.
After my short but sweet 45 seconds of free fall, the parachute opened and I got to enjoy peacefully coasting down back to earth all the while taking in all the beautiful sights. It only took about 5 minutes before we hit the landing site, but it felt like I had been flying for so much longer, as if time had slowed for my benefit.
It was an incredible experience – the adrenaline rush was unlike any other! I was so glad I decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and I hope to do it again soon!