What. A. Day.
The day started after very little sleep to be picked up for my first (and last) ever skydive. After all where better to do it than the second best skydive in the world (after Everest).
I was volunteered by my dearest Stray family for the high dive at a mere 16,500ft and over a minute of free fall…
After getting dressed into an outfit even more attractive than our kayaking gear, complete with leather skullcap and goggles, the boys, John, Stefan and Sam went first. This was possibly the longest 15 minutes of my life. Then they returned and my instructor Mark took control and bundled me into the tin box of a plane. Because of my silence and grey complexion I was again volunteered to go first.
The views from the plane were spectacular and had I not been just about to plummet from 16,500ft they would have been even better. We overlooked both Franz Josef and Fox glaciers as well as several lakes, mountains and forests.
Once we reached 14,000ft the oxygen masks came out. Then far too soon Mark opened the door and shuffled me out of it. Head back, legs backed under the plane, eyes tight shut. Gone.
Here I am going to take the chance to debunk some skydiving lies that people tell you…anyone who tells you that skydiving doesn’t feel like falling is lying. Flat out lies. The first 5 seconds were not good but you do get used to it. Dry mouth, a nearly missing shoe, and the longest 75 seconds of my life and the parachute opened.
Life was suddenly a lot more relaxed although tight turns still give you that stomach dropping feeling. The views were unreal. Far too soon, and far too quickly, the ground approached. We somehow landed on our feet and it was over. Mark – you kept me alive and for that alone I love you.
Mark and the whole crew at Skydive Fox Glacier were amazing, up for a laugh and ready to reassure the trembling mess that I was. Serious thank you to those guys I would never have done it without them.