This bucket list item was completed on 10th August 2013 in Wanaka, New Zealand.
Our snowboarding trip on the South Island of New Zealand continued through Queenstown and Wanaka after I crossed #14 Ski a “Real” Mountain off my list at Mount Olympus. The Queenstown and Wanaka area is amazing because there are so many adventure sports and activities packed into one little zone. The skiing is seasonal but mountain biking, bungee jumping, skydiving and many other activities are done all year round.
I found a good deal on a tandem skydive at Skydive Wanaka, so we made sure to fit that into our plans. I had always wanted to skydive when I lived in Canada and tried to organise it with my friends a couple times, but it never seemed to come to fruition. Well, New Zealand is packed full of drop zones and as we drove past each one I wanted to do it more and more.
With the last little bit of money I had, I booked in my skydive. At this point I was running low on funds and only had enough to get back to New Plymouth and look for work.
I watched the weather report for the few days leading up to my jump date to make sure things were all good for me to do my jump. We woke up in the morning in Queenstown after skiing and partying for a few days and grabbed a few breakfast burgers from Ferguson Burger before hitting the road for Wanaka.
We drove straight to the drop zone and the weather was looking clear enough to jump. This is when I knew another one was going to get crossed off my list.
I entered the manifest area and signed in for my jump. They run a pretty smooth operation and it wasn’t long before I was suited up in my stylish, orange jumpsuit and had a harness placed on me. My tandem master talked me through how the skydive would go and what he needed me to do with my body on the exit, in freefall and on landing. It was all pretty streamlined and very efficient.
We had a bit of time to relax on their bean bag chairs and stare up at the sky that we were about to plummet through.
After a few minutes, the plane was fired up we were hopping into the plane. On the climb up to altitude my instructor was joking around with some of the other passengers. He told some of them it was his first jump as well.
He also began pointing at the harness on the girl sitting next to me. He joked with her tandem master and said, “Isn’t that that harness that was recalled?” The other tandem master played along and said “Oh shit! It might be! Oh well, it should hold for this jump.” I knew they were joking but the look on the poor girl’s face told me that she thought they were serious. She seemed really nervous about the whole experience, but I think that changed when she landed safely on the ground again.
I was at the back of the plane, meaning that I was the first one out. When we got to 12,000 ft, the pilot levelled out the plane and gave the signal to the tandem masters that it was “go time”. The door at the back of the plane opened and I slid down into position, with my feet hanging out of the doorway and my tandem master strapped tightly to my back. I curled my feet under and tilted my head back.
We flipped out of the plane and tumbled twice before we got stable. This is pretty standard for a skydive, but I remember my heart dropping as we began falling and I saw ground-plane-ground-plane-ground. Once we got stable I saw the most amazing view of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. It was clear up at altitude and I could see all the snow-capped peaks that surrounded the two picturesque lakes. I will always remember that view.
At about 6,000 feet he pulled our main chute and we began our canopy ride back to the ground. He passed me the steering toggles and let me turn and spin the canopy for a while. It was a cool feeling and a fun experience. Our landing was smooth and I did exactly what he had instructed me to do before we hopped on the plane. Kyle was standing at the fence and snapped some photos of our landing.
It was a great way to start the day with an adrenaline fix and another item crossed off the bucket list. Our adventures continued up the West Coast of the South Island before we returned to New Plymouth to look for work.
Have you gone skydiving? Let me know in the comments below.
Make sure to read my next post, [#3 Lesson] Sample Life for Everything it Has to Offer, which discusses the lesson learned by completing this item.Want to be notified when new blog posts are uploaded? Subscribe below.
Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.