In October 2015 whilst on our travels around New Zealand we decided to jump 15,000ft out of a perfectly safe aircraft...
We knew we wanted to do a skydive, but just didn't know where to do it as there are many options, from the Bay of Islands to Abel Tasman. We chose to skydive in Wanaka for a few reasons, one being the height of the jump, the highest here being 15,000 ft, one of the highest in the country, another reason being for the views, whilst all of New Zealand offers spectacular views from above, here we would get epic views of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps, we would also get to see Lake Wanaka and Lake Hāwea and other lakes within Mt Aspiring National Park and Mt Cook National Park all gleaming in the sun. Also Wanaka has the most reliable weather conditions in the South Island and West Coast for skydiving.
The company was called Skydive Wanaka and we had many choices to make once we were there like which height we would like to jump from- 9,000ft with a 25 second freefall, 12,000ft with a 45 second freefall or 15,000ft with 60 second freefall. Then would we like just to jump, or to add a camera/ video package for extra.
We chose the 15,000ft jump and the camera and video package where along with our skydive instructor there was another instructor taking footage the whole way. This cost us $668pp (£340)
We were in a small group and watched a safety demonstration then got our jumpsuits on and met our 'beautiful stranger' who we would be strapped to. Then as quickly as anything we were being bundled onto the little Cessna Caravan and whisked up and around the jaw dropping scenery, the weather couldn't have been better and we could see lakes, mountains and clear skies.
Then we were at 15,000ft after a quick tightening on the straps we were sliding forward towards the open door, a mixture of eager and excited faces looked at each other willingly, the first of us just slid straight out, then another, then it was Shannon's turn, he peered his face around to me, his face covered by the googles and helmet, he teetered on the edge then....offski!!
Where Shannon had just been sitting was now the edge of the plane, I gulped- for him, not myself, he was doing it!!! He was free falling at 200km heading straight for the ground, the epic scenery around was fully enjoyed after the 60 seconds of freefall where he was flying gently to the ground, the adrenalin levels were through the roof (if there had been a roof) it takes a lot to process what is happening, it is unnatural but truly awesome.
At this time I was sliding forward to the open door, harness secured and a reassuring thumbs up from my instructor we now were pausing on the edge of the plane, head tilted back against my new friend who I was trusting my life with, I grasped my straps hard as we rocked back then forward and away we went, whizzing through the air at 200km an hour, receiving an instant facelift as gravity pulled by cheeks to my ears. We then soared back up as the parachute was activated, then we drifted for around 5 minutes, soaking up the views and feeling content with life, my instructor already knew I had done a skydive before (in Scotland when I was 18) so he offered me his cords to hold and we drifted around in a circle. We then slowly glided back down to terra firma.
It was an overload of emotions, it was thrilling, exciting, slightly nerve-racking, incredible, our hearts were pumping and bodies full of adrenaline! We both said we would immediately hop back on board and do it all over again (if it wasn't for the money, we would have)! We had an amazing experience and couldn't fault the staff, location or weather!! We literally were Soaring Through The Sky...