Seven years ago my brother was in New Zealand. He jumped out of a plane. He went and did a bungy jump, or several. And did other silly, money munching, adrenaline pumping activities. There was no way I wasn’t going to have a go, too.
With three days off ahead of me, on Tuesday I popped into the shop on my way home and booked in for the sunniest day of the three. Locals are very lucky to have 50% off the 15,000ft jump to use before the end of June; I wasn’t going to miss out. Even if it means I live off bowls of oats for the next week.
Yesterday, promptly at 10am, I signed my life away and chose how to record the event. There are a few options, and I went for the Freefall photographs and video package. Having parapented a few times now (thank you, Rick!), I do have footage of parapenting and landing, so opted for someone to dive with me and record my freefall screams and giggles from afar.
A short drive up to the site and we were met by hosts who explained what was to happen over the next few hours. After a short wait, we soon kitted up, were introduced to the person who would have our life in their hands, and the person who would record the fall. I am blaming the adrenaline and nerves, but their names have completely vanished from my memory – sorry!
Instructions were given for the technicalities of the fall before we clambered into the plane, like sardines, nice ‘n’ cosy, to climb up to 15,000ft. The flight was stunning. FYI – The Remarkables looks in great condition! I kept thinking of my mother saying ‘take deep breaths, keep breathing’ and tried to just focus on the instructions and what I had to do.
“Put your helmet on.” Oh gawd.
“Put your goggles on.” Ah cr*ap. *nervous giggle*
“Okay?” As I’ll ever be.
Suddenly my feet were outside the plane.
Banana shape. Banana shape. Feet back. Head back. Hips forward.
My stomach never flipped as I expected it to, but the feeling of just plummeting was insane. I felt a tap on my shoulder. And again. And again. Oh yeah I can let go of my harness now!
Ew! Is that dribble on my face?
Honestly, the craziest thing I have ever done. I loved every minute of it.
I wish I could do it again to appreciate it all the more. It was over in a flash and we were soon back on earth.
The team at NZONE (despite the jokes…honestly, you must be bored of them?!) were brilliant, and not once did I feel unsafe at all. Despite jumping roughly 10 times a day, their enthusiasm for each new jumper didn’t falter. A particular thank you to the two freefallers who looked after me – it was awesome!
Here’s the video clip. Makes me cringe a little. Oh, and I do love my friends and family for the record.