I must not fear, fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain – Frank Herbert
I wouldn’t say that I have ever actually had a fear of skydiving, I just really like this quote that I found in my NZONE brochure. I am not scared of heights and have a childhood memory of crying my eyes out at Six Flags because I was too short to go on the “Scream Machine” roller coaster! I have always loved speed, adventure, and will try just about anything once! I would say like most of us, I do have a fear of dying and as I signed the waiver at the skydiving office acknowledging that “Even when a parachute is packed correctly there is a risk of malfunction that could lead to serious injury or death” I wondered for a second if this really was a good idea? And then I thought…WHY NOT???
Skydiving has been on my list of things to do for a while now. It would have been a fun experience to share with a friend, but I was traveling alone in Queenstown (the adventure capital of the world) and couldn’t pass up the chance to skydive over the Southern Alps! And believe me…it was all that and more!!!
We began suiting up about 10:30 this morning and I met my tandem jump instructor Chris, who is from Riverside, California! He joked with me and said, “You had to come all the way to New Zealand to jump with a Californian?” Chris was great and I felt safe with him, which is a good thing as my life was literally in his hands! Chris has performed over 5000 jumps, and does about 15 a day…what a fun job!
We had a short demonstration about how to bend your body like a banana when you are falling. I boarded the plane with 2 other girls, their tandem jumpers, and the photographers. We all paid extra a photographer to jump beside us and I got great photographs and a DVD (see video at bottom of post).
We were all crammed together and I realized right away that I was closest to the door, which meant I would have to jump first! I think this was a good thing as I didn’t have to watch anyone else jump and it all happened really fast leaving me little time to worry about “What If?” I did ask Chris twice if he was sure I was strapped correctly to him and he assured me we were all good!
The next thing I know I am dangling my feet off the plane and we jumped! I jumped from 12,000 feet and fell at a speed of 125 MILES/H (200KM/H). We had 45 seconds of free fall before the parachute opened. It was all such a wild feeling and is very hard to explain! All I can say is DO IT! It was absolutely amazing, fun, thrilling, and I get chill bumps just thinking of it again! And the views, OMG, the views were gorgeous! It was hard to take it all in as I was overwhelmed by what I had just done in addition to the beauty below me. It is so hard to put into words!
Once the parachute opened we were jerked upwards and everything became silent. It was so tranquil and calming. Just seconds earlier I was racing downwards, could hardly move my arms, my face felt stretched, and all I could hear was the wind racing past me. We descended with the parachute for about 5 minutes. This is when I could really take in the beauty of all that was around me and really realize what I was doing! Chris started spinning us in circles, which was very fun! Next he was pointing out the scenery surrounding me and pointed to the white dots below and said, “That is what sheep look like from 2000 feet in the air”. We were right next to “The Remarkables”, one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. Chris then began to prep me on what I needed to do to land. All I had to do was to act like I was sitting in a chair and then lift my legs high once we got close to the ground, it was all so easy! Chris did all the work and I was just along for the ride…and what a great ride it was!
To see all of my skydiving pictures CLICK HERE!
My fist skydive Video! 3/7/08 – Queensland, New Zealand, 12,000 feet!
I am headed out now to meet up with Vicky, a nice English girl I met today while skydiving. It’s so funny how we meet people sometimes! We plan to celebrate our first jump, and cheers to many more to come!