The best day ever: skydiving over Lake Taupo

Before I went travelling there were two things I was adamant I wasn’t doing – scuba diving and skydiving. Somehow I ended up doing both.

Up until I arrived in New Zealand I still had no plans to skydive – why on earth anyone would want to jump out of a plane was beyond me. But when in New Zealand, adventure capital of the world, I started to have doubts about my decision.

So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Rotorua Jonny made the call to Taupo Tandem Skydiving (the original tandem skydive company in NZ) and we were booked in for the Tuesday at 10.30am. We had a car in NZ but the novelty of getting picked up in a bright yellow Hummer limo was too good to pass on so we opted to get picked up from our hostel.

I didn’t actually start thinking about the fact I was going to get launched from a plane until late on the Monday night before. My stomach was doing somersaults! Tuesday morning came and I really was peeing my pants. Why was I doing this?! Had I gone completely mad?!

Doubting my decision to do this...
Doubting my decision to do this…

Our Hummer arrived; we signed ourselves in on the iPads and off we went up to pick up the rest of the crazy people who wanted to be thrown out of a plane.

Travelling in style!
Travelling in style!

We arrived at TTS and they went through all the different packages & prices we could choose from. We chose the ‘silver’ packages which meant we would get photos, videos & a T-shirt.

Oh, and we chose to jump from 15,000ft over the 12,000ft jump because it meant we would get 60 seconds free fall time instead of 30. We figured we’d(probably)  never jump out of a plane again so we may as well make the most of the extra 30 seconds of free fall! GULP!

We sat around for what felt like forever (probably about half an hour in reality…) until we were told that we were waiting for the wind to calm down. Trust it to be super windy the day we chose to jump 15,000ft out of a plane Eventually it was time to get kitted up. We met our instructors – mine was Elad from Israel and Jonny’s was Leski from France. The suits went on; and our harnesses were fitted & tightened!

Could this be our last photo together....?
Could this be our last photo together….?

This was getting real.

Then there was more waiting. The wind was showing no sign of calming down. There was talk that we might not get to jump. I had psyched myself up so much for it that if it didn’t happen I didn’t know if I could go through it again on another day. The joys of good old mother nature!

A wee while later good news came! We were safe to go! My heart felt like it was going triple it’s normal rate. Jonny was looking pretty calm though. I was first on the plane with Elad. It felt so tiny from inside and there were 10 more people to get in! It was a very cosy experience.

10 people have to fit on that...?
12 people have to fit on that…?
Acting calm...
Acting calm…
Nope. Definitely not calm...
Nope. Definitely not calm…

I had never flown in light aircraft before so as soon as the plane made it’s ascent I felt like I was going to puke. It definitely didn’t feel quite as secure as an Emirates Airbus!! The view was amazing though. I heard Leski tell Jonny that we were at 5000ft at one point – we were reeeaaallllllly high up. Only 10,000ft more before we were ready to jump. We stopped at 12,000ft and let a couple of jumpers out. Thankfully I was on the wrong side of the plane to get a good view of them jumping – I think I might have chickened out if I had have had full view. Jonny had a perfect view. He became very quiet on the plane which made me nervous!

You okay JC?!
You okay JC?!

The next thing I knew I was sitting on top of Elad. This relationship was moving fast with a guy I had only just met haha! He attached me to his harness and quadruple checked we were well connected. He literally was in control of my life for the next 15 minutes! As we got higher we put oxygen masks on. This just made the whole experience even more surreal.

AM I SICK??!
AM I SICK??!

Then it was time. We had reached 15,000ft. Oh. My. Goodness. I had to watch Jonny go first and seeing him get sucked out of the plane was too much. I wanted to scream “I CAN’T DO THIS!!!”

Out he goes...
Out he goes…
I think he's enjoying it?
I think he’s enjoying it?
Yep, definitely enjoying it!
Yep, definitely enjoying it!

But I had no choice in the matter. Elad started the shuffle along the bench and before I had time to think we were sitting on the edge of the plane. We were supposed to smile for an ‘exit photo’ but I wasn’t even looking at the camera. Oops, I think I was a little preoccupied by the impending jump. I was so on edge (literally!) We did a wee rock backwards and the next thing I knew I was free falling…

The failed exit photo...
The failed exit photo…
Aaaand I'm out!
Aaaand I’m out!
WHAT THE FLIP AM I DOING?!
WHAT THE FLIP AM I DOING?!
Shit, shit, shitttttt
Shit, shit, shitttttt

The first few seconds were so bizarre. I don’t even know how to explain it! It was a total shock to the system. In thos initial seconds I thought I had made a massive mistake but then we slowed down a tiny bit (and I mean a tiny bit!) and my body quickly adjusted to the feeling. The next 56 seconds of free falling was just INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t stop grinning! The air up there is so cold and dry that you end up with a seriously dry mouth and attempting to swallow when you’re going that fast is veeeeery difficult!

YES! I LOVE IT!
YES! I LOVE IT!
Big grin!
Big grin!
So much emotion...
So much emotion…and nostril.

Before I knew it the free fall was over. Part of me was gutted that it had ended and the other part was so happy that the parachute had opened! The parachute ride was so nice. This is where you really get to appreciate the views over Lake Taupo.

How beautiful is that?! (nope, not me and Elad...Lake Taupo!)
How beautiful is that?! (nope, not me and Elad…Lake Taupo!)

Elad let me steer the parachute for a bit! We did a sharp turn & a few twists which just felt amazing! I really did feel so emotional at this point – I can’t decide if the tears were from my emotions or the crazy cold air…

Just casually flying a parachute...
Just casually flying a parachute…

Five minutes or so flying with the parachute up we were ready to touch the ground. Up my feet went and down we fell. It was over. And I was still alive. I felt so overwhelmed at what had taken place and was on such a high! All I could think was “can I do it again?!!”

HI JONNY!
HI JONNY!
Down we go...
Down we go…
BUZZING!
BUZZING!
Elad appreciation!
Elad appreciation!

I was very happy to see Jonny safely at the bottom! He loved the whole experience as well!

Cheers Levski!
Cheers Leski!
Woop woop!
Woop woop!
Back on solid ground!
Back on solid ground!

We were buzzing for hours after. We crashed really early that evening and had to sleep off the excitement! We talked about it for days…weeks…and months after. I’ve watched my video approximately 75 times and every time I get that same wave of emotion!

I felt so grateful that we had the opportunity to do the skydive; and very proud of us for actually going through with it! I am proof that even the biggest scaredy cats can skydive. I do have Jonny to thank for his motivational speeches before the big event – I couldn’t have done it without him!

I cannot recommend the guys at TTS enough! I felt 100% safe with them and Elad was really good fun. We both went for the Handycam pics and video as it meant we would have photos and video footage from the whole jump and not just the free fall. The pictures & video that Elad took for me really captured just how amazing the experience was and I will treasure them forever!

I hope this post inspires those who are doubting whether or not they should do a skydive. Believe me when I say YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

FACT!
FACT!

And if this post hasn’t convinced you then maybe the videos will:

Watch Nat free fall from 15,000ft here!

Watch Jonny get thrown out of a plane here! 

Taupo was a massive highlight of our trip and definitely one of the best days ever.

Kia Ora x

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