First parachute jump
I went to Taupo, New Zealand, and this was my first parachute jump. Skydiving has never been something that I desperately wanted to do, or even miss such a fleeting thought, but you know, as they say, when you’re in New Zealand …
So I discovered that with strangers I was going to jump from 4500 meters into the thin air above the amazing Lake Taupo, which from this distance looked like a simple pond on the horizon of tiny things.
Although, as we were told in the Skydive Taupo security briefing, the brain stops processing the distance at 600 meters. This means that 4500 meters look the same, apparently. When asked whether it’s safe to jump with a parachute, the instructors assured us that everything will be fine with us. All I knew was that we were picked up by a long old plane from the ground, and, apparently, there was only one way down.
It took 20 minutes to get to 4500 meters, and in the end, just a few minutes to get down to the ground. But I’m ahead of myself.
As soon as I realized that everyone was jumping, and my turn would be very soon, I had a slight panic, and I just reminded myself: “Fear is temporary, achievement is permanent,” as written at a reception in Taupo Skydive.
I had every faith in my jumper. Skydive Taupo has a 100% safety record and told me that there was never an accident, not even a broken toe, so I’ll be fine. The fact that I was attached to a guy with a big smile on his face and who seemed not to be worried or expressed that he was afraid of jumping from an airplane gave me confidence, and my mind began to enjoy it and not be afraid of it .
I barely managed to finish this thought, as he showed me a sign, and now we are looking over the edge. I put my head back, pushed my legs and pulled myself towards my impending descent. I tried to process what he said to me on the ground, but self-preservation lashed out, and all I could think about was to lay my head on his shoulder.
Seriously, it was a terrifying whistle, and we were almost outside. As soon as we sat down on the edge, we were sucked out. My legs were swinging, and I tried to control my limbs and tidy myself.
What is it like parachuting from an airplane?
It is difficult to describe the feeling of skydiving, butterflies in the stomach, free fall and intense adrenaline. It looks like a flight. As soon as I got my breath back, I tried to look around and savor the moment. That was incredible. I fell at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, and now I know it wasn’t very fast, as I didn’t smooth my arms and legs to reduce the surface area.
I usually hate the phrase “breathtaking”, but this jump was literally that way.
Too soon the instructor released a parachute, exactly after I felt it, but just before I started to worry, it would not open. I was a little more than a minute in free fall, and it was one of the best, but most confused feelings in the world.