I once jumped from a 12ft roof and severely injured my nose. I’ve cracked a rib jumping on a trampoline. I’ve even broken my leg falling from 6ft (my height). So when the opportunity to jump out of a plane arose, naturally I approached with extreme caution.
Skydive Taupo was the destination and 15000ft was the height. Slightly higher than my previous attempts, the occasion was somewhat bigger and so it felt only fitting that a limousine should greet us on the morning of the jump. Like nervous teenagers on our way to Prom, we spent the 10 minute journey discussing our hot dates (skydive instructors), dresses (jumpsuits) and first kiss (jump). The fear was clearly building.
On arrival, the drop zone was a flurry of activity; the famous pink plane flying overhead, parachutes gliding through the air, and backpackers squealing about their recent ‘life changing experience’.
After a quick safety briefing, the focus moved to my skydive video. Having opted for the Handycam Package, I was given a choice of music to make me look even “cooler” falling out of a plane. Naturally I chose Lenny Kravitz for take off, Swedish House Mafia for the drop and Moby to bring me back down to Earth.
My instructor Chris geared me up, settled any last nerves and before I knew it, we were climbing to 15000ft above Lake Taupo. Bigger than Singapore, it’s an absolute monster of a lake created by one of Earth’s largest ever volcano eruptions. To the south sits Tongariro National Park, home of Lord of the Rings’ ‘Mt Doom’ (Mt Ngauruhoe) and the world famous Emerald Lakes. On a clear day, you can even expect to see both Mt Taranaki on the West Coast and Napier on the east. However, with my legs dangling over the side of a plane, I personally wasn’t in the mood for sightseeing.
3… 2… 1… JUMP! The next 60 seconds were a blur. I screamed, laughed, cried (blame the wind), there may have even been a bit of hand holding with the instructor. For me, it was one mad minute that epitomises everything I love about travelling; stepping out of my comfort zone, making new memories and having unforgettable experiences.
Moments later, the parachute opened, I breathed a sigh of relief and the views came into focus, an unrivalled 360 degree panoramic of the Great Lake Taupo. Five minutes of tranquil gliding was not long enough, I could have stayed up there all day. Next thing I knew we were back down with a gentle bump.
What were my first words when I landed? “Life changing experience” …obviously.
P.S. As for your skydive video, expect to look more Johnny English than James Bond.