|It's another glorious day in Wanaka and today pretty warm too. Forecast is for more of the same, so we may stay here another day or so.
Today was sky-diving day!! Yes, we really did it. 15,000 feet straight out and down. It was absolutely amazing. It was a very slick operation. They sent a van to pick us up at 11.45 and take us to the jump centre at the airport. On the 10 minute journey they showed us an instructional video, which basically consisted of the 3 positions you needed when you came out of the plane, when you were free-falling and when you landed. That was pretty much it. At the jump centre we signed our lives away and paid $369 each. We were kitted out with a jumpsuit, leather-biggles hat, gloves and goggles, and strapped into a harness. Then within a few minutes we met our jumpers. Mine was from Serbia, Nick's from Finland. They did a quick check of our harnesses, and we were off into the plane.
The plane was a tiny, twin engined thing (Sarah – exactly like our parachute jump but with a door!). Nick couldn't believe how absolutely tiny it was. There were 10 of us crammed in it – 4 pairs of skydivers and two camermen. We opted not to bother with pics, so the cameramen were for the other pairs.
The flight was amazing. Really stable as there was not much wind and as there were no clouds, absolutely fantastic views. My jumper pointed out all the sites to me and kept us appraised of the height. The flight took a little longer than usual actually because we had to wait for clearance to go above 10k ft. Eventually we go to 15 000 feet and they opened the door. I was last out, and with every person who went before me the plane gave a great big shudder. I was amazed at how absolutely calm I was. Nick's jumper said it was normal to feel nervous, but I didn't, not even one bit. At least, not until we got into the doorway, then I admit, my heart was in my mouth! 'Feet tucked under the plane, hold on to your harness, head back and...' I don't know what he said, but we were out. Out into the cold, loud air. Falling, I guess, although there was no real concept of falling, just of spinning and of the air rushing over you. My mouth was wide open (thank goodness for no camera) and my mind was racing, but I couldn't scream or exclaim, it just completely knocks the wind out of you. Actually I struggled to breath for a while. And it was very, very, very cold as the wind rushed over my face and got under my hat. All I did was concentrate on the view. The free fall is supposed to be 60 seconds. I think it felt longer. My ears started to ache a bit and my eyes started to water, but I couldn't move and I just wanted to remember everything. Finally, eventually, the parachute slowed us to a stop it seemed. It really felt like a stop too, I suppose in comparison. Quiet too. It was amazing. Then we did a few spins and tricks. I encouraged him to do that, although he did warn me that sometimes people start to feel sick. I didn't think I would, but I actually I did a bit, so I was quite glad when the ground came up. We had a lovely smooth landing, and that was it. Safe as houses. Nick landed just after me. We both thought it was great and will certainly do it again. Now we know what to expect, I think it will be easier to take more things in.
This afternoon we're just mooching. There's an art exhibition this evening in the town hall (with wine and nibbles apparently) so we might check that out, and grab a beer maybe. Apart from that, just enjoying the sun and the view!
Thai green curry for dinner...yummy!