Skydiving in Abel Tasman

On Wednesday the 15th November, the big day had finally arrived. I got the voucher for the skydiving already in Auckland because I feared I’d chicken out at the last minute. At  breakfast I found out they’d postponed the pick up time from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm and I was briefly at a loss as how to kill an extra five hours without losing my nerves. I rang my parents, of course without mentioning my plans, read for a bit, and booked myself in for a massage, whereas the poor Dutch boy went for a run. The masseuse worked my back, shoulders and neck quite firmly for an hour but knew exactly what she was doing and even checked on my knees, because one had still a little bit of ligament in it. After a light lunch it was finally time to go. The bus ride was the worst because it was all bendy roads while filling in scary forms and once more signing my life away. After an introductory film and some information we had to fill in yet another form because from a hight of more than 8000 ft they give you oxygen. My two Dutch friends and I really wanted to jump together but I got my overall, hat, goggles, and gloves first and was in a group with two other girls, one of them from Karlsruhe. My cameraman was really cool and after a short interview I met my tandem master, who’s doing his job since 1993, and he talked me through the procedure. I struggled slightly boarding the plane but really enjoyed the flight.

At 8000 ft we got the oxygen mask and even later I realised I’d left my gloves behind. My master assured me the temperature would be the least I’d worry about out there… Only when the door opened at 16500 ft I thought that’s not right and I was (just a little bit 😉 ) scared. But the good thing about skydiving is, that you are just a piece of living luggage tied to someone who’s equipped with a working parachute, knows what he’s doing and hopefully wants to stay alive. I could never jump out of a plane myself but in this matter I didn’t have a say and it just happened.

The 70 sec free fall didn’t feel like 10 minutes as expected but because of the wind at a speed of 200 kmh I had some problems breathing and just wanted it to be over and, even more, the cameraman to go away and leave me alone. Once the parachute opened, both my hands and feet were pins and needles, but I absolutely loved being up there in the sky, seeing the curve of the earth, slowly gliding downwards, enjoying the breathtaking views, even if we couldn’t see the North Island.

Only the turning of the parachute I didn’t like and my lovely and experienced tandem master didn’t even suggest some spinning around. Before we’d boarded the plane I’d mentioned my complaining knees and he managed the softest landing ever. I only had to hold my legs up and when he touched the ground I just stood on my feet and didn’t even have to take a step. Like most of the others I was absolutely hyper, changed out of my jumpsuit and laughed tears watching my 5 min video. Unlike what people told me before, I was really hungry afterwards and glad I brought a muesli bar with me. The Dutch girl was jumping with the next lot but the poor guy had to wait even longer. When he finally floated back to earth I found it hilarious that he had an orange parachute and was very surprised that they did some spins. I thought he’d changed his mind but he later said he didn’t agree to the spinning around but his tandem master did it anyway. Back at our accommodation the Belgian girl had already cooked spaghetti Bolognese and I demolished a huge portion plus a smaller second helping. After dinner I was absolutely shattered but the others wanted to see our pictures and videos and we watched them on one of the Belgian guys laptop. Then I finally managed to book some flights for early January and had a shower. By the time I eventually went to bed I was awake again and it took me a long time to fall asleep.

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