Skydive Abel Tasman
Trip Start Aug 16, 2007
61Trip End Apr 07, 2008
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We waited about 1 ½ hrs. before our turn which gave us plenty of time to be nervous! Although it was nice to watch several other groups go and get a feel for how it would all happen. We got suited up and met our instructors for a few photos and some video commentary then it was time to get into the plane and take the jump at 13,000 ft!
Aaron & I have talked about skydiving for several years and decided it was finally time to do it! I think I was more in love with the concept of jumping out of a plane than actually doing it because as the time came closer I got more and more scared. But once we were suited up there was no turning back, so I smiled nervously, waved at the camera and got into the plane. Since I was the last one in I got to sit right next to the open door and view the scenery fly by. Not the best way to calm my nerves, but Simon, my tandem partner, and Evan, my photographer, did a great job of keeping me talking and laughing so I wouldn't notice the land disappearing beneath the clouds as we climbed higher. Finally at 14,200 ft. (we went a bit higher than planned!) it was time to jump! Since I was the last one in the plane I luckily became the first one out! I scooted up to the door and dangled my feet over the edge. Simon gave me some last minute instructions, pried my hands off the door frame, leaned forward and out we went! I screamed as we plunged out the door head first and started our 54 second free fall! It took me a moment to orient myself since we were falling face up for a few seconds, but soon enough I had salty air flooding up my sinuses and a full view of the scenery below. Evan zoomed in to capture this life changing moment on film, and with a simple thumbs-up disappeared as Simon pulled the cord and opened our chute. The gracious ride down was complimented with the beautiful scenery of the beaches of Abel Tasman and thousands of acres of vineyards in Motueka. With a few tight dizzying turns to line up with the field we landed smoothly in the grass with huge smiles on our faces!
Skydiving was something I have always wanted to try. The idea of jumping out of a plane seemed like a great way to see how I respond to being pushed to the limit. As we took off I could see Michelle was already having second thoughts, but once we were off the ground the only way back down was out the door at 13,000 ft. I think I was more scared waiting to get on the plane then I was on the ride up. I knew the only reason I was in this situation was because I asked for it, so I might as well enjoy the ride! The views out the window were absolutely stunning! As we climbed higher and higher, it was plain to see that the Able Tasman area of New Zealand is truly a paradise. Then swoosh! The serenity of my thoughts was abruptly ended by the wind barreling through the now open door. My tandem partner, Bob, gave me a quick run through of what to expect next. He was great, though he did enjoy the occasional jab by saying something like "if you find yourself falling toward the ground, that's normal." Ha, ha! Michelle went out the door first and I had to laugh at the volume of her scream. Then it was my turn. As we inched to the door I understood why she screamed...13000 ft is a long way down! Then we were out; falling through the sky. I was surprised on how calming it actually was. Mike the photographer zoomed in for a few quick photos and with that Bob opened the shoot and we began the slow flight to the ground. The views in the plane were nice, but hanging up in midair you could see everything with such clarity. Unfortunately, the ground kept getting closer and before I was ready to stop the ride was over. Oh well, it's safe to say I will definitely be doing that again!
After our thrilling jump we grabbed some lunch and took a nap in the park for a few hours waiting for Quinn, Liz and Matt to get back from their kayaking trip. We met up for some Indian food at Simply Indian before heading to our camp site. We found an awesome park right on the beach called McKee Memorial Reserve. It was a great place with lots of space to spread out. The owner would ride his bicycle around in the evening and collect the $4 per person and make sure we had everything we needed. We spent the rest of the evening playing cards and relaxing. Hopefully the weather will clear up (we are expecting rain for the next 2 days) so we can hike Abel Tasman National Park tomorrow.