03.05.2012 - 03.05.2012
So today is skydive day! How exciting! We wake in a frozen van, both inside and out! Everything was so cold and the view outside non-existent for the mist that had descended upon Wanaka – not the best conditions for a Skydive one may assume!
The sun was faintly trying to break through the clouds but it had a long way to go! We drove from the campsite - just so we could get some warm heating going – and waited for Skydive Time on the lake front. Skydive time approached and I was informed that I would be half an hour behind schedule due to the mist. We drove to the airfield and I was so excited! The mist cleared and we had a stunning sunny day with clear blue skies. After watching a very brief video, signing a form to say I understand that human error may lead to my death (well no, not really), donning the standard red and yellow all in one jump suit and meeting my jumper to whom I would be attached we boarded the small plane and set on our way!
On the plane there we five of us jumping attached to our jumpers and two camera men to film one of the couples. We sat astride a bench down the side on the plane and as we ascended my jumper man started attaching my harness to his – it felt very tight and uncomfortable but I felt happy with this! At 8,000 feet I suddenly got my first bout of nerves! We had another 4,000 feet to climb and there was only one way down!
The views form the plane over the mountain ranges, including Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring, and the Lakes were stunning and despite the huge butterflies I was able to appreciate it! We seemed to arrive at 12,000 feet very quickly and suddenly the door was open and one of the camera men was out of the plane holding onto the side. In the next second the first couple went to the edge of the plane and were gone! At this point I felt really nervous – they just fell so quickly and disappeared! However there was no turning back and before I knew it my jumper was edging me nearer to the door. The most terrifying part was sitting on the edge of the plane, with my legs hanging underneath me looking out to nothing...then before I knew it we were gone! The first fall was so fast and I was all the wrong way up and hadn’t a clue what was happening! I had my eyes squeezed shut and my knuckles were white I was gripping onto my harness so tight – not that this was going to help. Within a few seconds my jumper tapped my shoulders and I was able to let go of the harness, spread my arms, open my eyes and just free-fall! For 45 seconds! It was absolutely amazing- the best feeling ever! Until my jumper did this spinning this that made us whizz around manically – I did a very loud girly scream right in his ear and he stopped this! Phew! Although all the skin was flapping away on my face I relaxed into it and just took in the surroundings! It was just stunning. The parachute went up and we meandered down to earth for a very inelegant landing. The whole thing was just amazing; the best experience ever and given the chance I would have gone up again straightaway!
With adrenaline pulsing through my veins I then talked non-stop for about an hour explaining every detail of my experience – lucky Joe! We had a quick coffee by the lake and then started our next adrenaline fuelled activity -a cycle ride around the lake! It was very lovely, amazing views and great weather! After a spot of lunch we got back in Queenie for a long and epic drive! We drove up the west of Lake Hawea, then the east of Lake Wanaka, through the mountains and onto Haast Pass through the best scenery we have experienced yet! The sky was still very blue and the snow capped mountains huge right ahead of us! It was so dramatic, green and on every turn something more magnificent appeared! We continued onto the West Coast and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset before heading slightly inland again to camp by a lovely lake. Here we are placed ready for some Glacier Exploration tomorrow!
All in all, today has been a fantastic day and I would recommend everyone does a Skydive!!