The weather looks promising as the day starts. Here we go Tongariro! We had planned to walk until the Red crater as the Alpine crossing could be too much for Noemie. The path is well maintained and goes through wonderful scenery. We start climibing our way close to the Red Crater when we notice that Noemie is not enjoying the ride in the kangaroo. In reality, although the weather is magnificent, there are some cold winds brushing her face, a bit too much for a 6-month baby. We turn back and rest for no more than 10 minutes in the campervan.
Since skydiving was invented, it made my top-10 list of ‘things to do before I die’. I mentioned this to Jeremie (who did not show incredible enthusiasm), and here we are taking the route to the airport to gather some info about the big fall. We stop at the last one without a lot of conviction, were handed a few paper for info. Too tired to think or make a decision, the next thing we know… Noemie is taken care of at the reception and we are off with our flying buddies putting on the skydiving costumes and equipment.
There’s this kind of daze preceding the dive. We are here, smiling to the cameras, chatting with our buddies, but our minds are not really functioning. What’s gonna happen next? What if the parachute doesn’t open? What if one of us doesn’t make it? No. Nothing of that comes before, it’s carefully kept away in a safe place and ignored.
So here I am with Eddie, an Australian (speaking with a heavy accent) whom I know since 3 minutes but joyfully entrust him with my life… or death. Jeremie goes with Joel who looks very attentive to the smallest detail. We board the small yellow plane with a few others plus their tandem divers. As we go high in the sky, the pressure in the air starts filling our minds and hearts, it’s too late to think about it now. The door of the plane is open – just in case someone changes their mind, they can always jumps off ;-)
When we get to 12,000 feet, it’s a girl’s turn to jump. I pretend not to care about the horrified look on her face. She soon disappears in the scenery with her buddy. As my turn approaches, we move forward in the plane and my buddy adjusts the hat and glasses, starts getting busy measuring air pressure, tightening the grips, and whatnots. I take a look at Jeremie and he’s starting to feel the pressure. He jumps from 15,000 feet (big shot!). The scenery is amazing: down there is lake Taupo, the mountains, the ocean. As we get to the plane door, I began thinking ‘what am I doing, God forgive me for being an irresponsible mom’. Suddenly, my heart stopped pounding and…blank… I can’t look down until I hear 1, 2, 3. Yooohooo, I’m freefalling. A sentiment of total freedom fills me as we’re falling at 200km/hour, nothing stopping us. It really hard to describe this feeling in writing, it’s so full, so light, so fresh…
A student also jumped with us, alone, he started talking as we’re in the air, my buddy is talking to me but everything is so blurred, except the scenery and the incredible real life zooming to the earth. Even with my buddy and all the equipment strapped to me, I feel unbound from everything else. For the following 45 seconds I was freefalling, the wind playing with my hair, the water and earth beneath me, my euphoria became the fire blending the four elements.
Suddenly the parachute opens and I became nervous… my buddy was doing wonderful spins that made my heart go on a separate joy ride… I enjoy the nice scenery and start wondering if Jeremie already jumped.
Time for landing. My buddy takes it very easily and we land on our feet and continue walking until he unstraps us.
Soon later Jeremie lands in another technique and we are jubilating and jumping on the grass, our spirits are still high up. You should definitely try this.