Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane from 15,000ft is not something everyone would do, but for me it's something I have wanted to do for years, and I finally got the chance with Nzone skydive in Queenstown.
After calling for the morning weather check and finding out that my jump was going ahead, I signed my life away and headed out to the jump zone. The jump zone is a short 20 minutes drive from central Queenstown, at the base of the spectacular snow capped Remarkables mountain range.
Arriving at the Nzone base the butterflies arrived and started to flap their wings pretty hard. Fortunately Nzone provide a number of distractions to keep your mind off the fact that your jumping out a plane! There is free internet and wifi as well as a number of giant outdoor games to play such as Jenga and giant Chess.
Then the time came, my name was called along with 5 other people to go and suit up. We were taken into the hangar where we see all the guys packing up our parachutes and I met my jumpmaster, Jose and the camera man, Sam. I was then given my jump suit,frap hat, and goggles.
After the whole group were suited up we were given our safety briefing and taken around to the plane, where we were loaded on, ready for the 20 minute flight up to 15,000ft.
The atmosphere in the plane is one of nervous excitement, as we climb higher the feelings of excitement and nerves also rise. As we near the jump height, it's high fives and fist pumps all round and jump masters and camera men prepare for the jump. Then at 15,000ft the lights turn green and the doors open. I see people "leaving" the plane, and now the nerves grow. Then suddenly it's my turn and I'm sitting in the doorway with my legs outside, and it's 3-2-1 and goodbye safety of the plane! The feeling of freefalling is unreal, you can hear the wind rushing past your ears but it doesn't really feel like you're falling.
The nerves disappear and I have time to take in the moment, the views of lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables are amazing and the freefall is long enough (about 60 seconds at 15000ft) to take it all in. After the 1 minute of freefall my jump master pulls the parachute.
Under the canopy is a completely different feeling, you can speak normally to your tandem master. I even got the chance to steer the parachute for a minute or two before Jose took over for the important part...landing! Eventually after 5-7 minutes under canopy I touched down, safely back on solid ground, my heart still beating from what I had just done.
Without a doubt this 15000ft Skydive is one of the top 3 experience in my life.
A massive thank you to Jose and Sam my jumpmaster and photographer, and Tom from Nzone Queenstown for my amazing experience.