NZ – Queenstown – Skydiving (aka the Jump and the Fall)

– MARCH 15, 2015

15,000 feet.  Inarguably, very very high.

Strapping yourself to another person with a parachute and throwing yourself from a plane, this isn’t for everyone.

But we aren’t everyone.

With 2 guys from France and 1 girl from China, we are ready to go.  We are split up into groups of 3, since the plane only holds 7 people (3 jumpers, 3 tandem guides and the pilot).

We suit up in a jumpsuit and harness, finishing the most flattering activity ensemble yet with the goofiest hat and goggles ever.

The dynamic duo!

The dynamic duo!

Kenneth ready to board!

Kenneth ready to board!

As the plane takes off, the anticipation sets in. Minutes go by. The ground recedes into the distance as the plane starts to climb. The views are spectacular. Spectacular is even enough of a descriptor. Stunning. The vast series of mountains that seemed so far away get closer as you fly up toward the mountain peaks.

A shot outside the plane at 12,000 feet

A shot outside the plane at 12,000 feet

 

A shot outside the plane at 12,000 feet

A shot outside the plane at 12,000 feet

 

A shot outside the plane at 15,000 feet

A shot outside the plane at 15,000 feet

The plane winds its way up, circling, and climbing for so long you are surprised when you are over many mountains but are only half way up!

Every minute that goes by your stomach gets into tighter and tighter knots. The excitement of one of the highest jumps in New Zealand is unbearable.

A shot outside the plane at 15,000 feet

A shot outside the plane at 15,000 feet

As we reach 10,000 feet the red light goes on and our French jump mate prepares to jump at 12,000 feet. As the plane door opens and as they slide out to the edge you get the preview of what you are going to do in mere moments now. They let go and fall from sight you know your turn is getting close. It is just Kenneth and I now with our guides.

At 13,000 feet you begin to see your breath. It is so cold and the air starts to thin. You breathe deeply.  We continue on to 15,000 feet.

The red light goes on and our tandem jump guides go over what is going to happen and what we are expected to do. You prepare (as much as you can prepare for falling from a plane.) Watching that red light steals your attention away from the mountain views that are far below you now.

Cramped into the plane we await the drop!

Cramped into the plane we await the drop!

 

Jill's turn is next!

Jill’s turn is next!

The green light goes and the door opens and Ken with his guide is first to slide out to the door’s edge. As you jump from the plane the position you are going for is head back and legs up like a banana.

He said for me to wrap my feet under the foot rest...yes, under it.

He said for me to wrap my feet under the foot rest…yes, under it.

 

You're just hanging out of the plane at 15,000 feet until the instructor decides to fall out completely!

You’re just hanging out of the plane at 15,000 feet until the instructor decides to fall out completely!

You're just hanging out of the plane at 15,000 feet until the instructor decides to fall out completely!

:)I was yelling “Let’s do this!”

Those first 3 seconds out the door you twist and tumble until you straighten out facing the ground.  Your ears hurt from the pressure and you try to get your ears to pop before they hurt too much.  Kenneth had a head cold, so his ears didn’t pop until the next day.  Painful.

And then the instructor decides its time and you just fall out face first!

And then the instructor decides its time and you just fall out face first!

Jill's jump went into twists instead of a straight face fall.

Jill’s jump went into twists instead of a straight face fall.

The free-fall was 60 seconds, but it felt more like 15.  It was so much fun that it went by all too quickly.  It was easy to underestimate how cold the air is pushing on your face! The wind is extreme. You are free-falling at 120mph after all.

Jill and I wrote on our hands to leave a message. Mine was intended for Chris Blackie..."NOT @ WORK".

Jill and I wrote on our hands to leave a message. Mine was intended for Chris Blackie…”NOT @ WORK”.

 

"YOLO BITCH"

“YOLO BITCHES!”

Surprisingly it isn't scary since you're so high up. It is an amazing feeling though...you just have to scream!

Surprisingly it isn’t scary since you’re so high up. It is an amazing feeling though…you just have to scream!

 

The scenery below.

The scenery below.

Amazing views.

Amazing views.

Amazing views.

Amazing views.

It takes 60 seconds of falling until your parachute opens and you are pulled up so quickly your stomach is in your chest! Once open, our guides loosened our straps so we were more comfortable and for a few minutes you glide. Weightless. You twist and turn towards the ground taking in the breathtaking views.

Then after 45 seconds of free-falling the chute is deployed.

Then after 60 seconds of free-falling the chute is deployed.

 

High-Five for a job well done!

High-Five for a job well done!

 

Now you just sit back and enjoy the slow decent.

Now you just sit back and enjoy the slow decent.  This area was the final battle scene in the 3rd Lord of the Rings movies.

 

Over water...over land....its all good!

Over water…over land….its all good!

 

Amazing.

Amazing.

 

Amazing.

High-Five for a job well done!

 

She always has to make a face.

She always has to make a face.

Jill’s guide even let her steer the parachute! Even with her healing hand and it didn’t hurt so it was all good.

The final decent.

The final decent.

As we steered toward the landing strip we practice our “legs out” landing stance and we each achieved a perfect landing!  Very soft, thanks to Ollie and Mario, our tandem jump guides.

Exhilarating.  Amazing.  Epic.

Top 10.  Very difficult to beat!

<><><><><><><><>

For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.

One thought on “NZ – Queenstown – Skydiving (aka the Jump and the Fall)

  1. You see. That is still way crazy BUT definitely doesn’t look as scary as the bungee thing! I drew ‘Still At Work’ on my knuckles!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s