$2600 = later model than many Great running and tidy wagon from 2002 yea...
Taupo Tandem Skydiving, Taupo::
Back when I was a young whipper snapper I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life - a tandem skydive. Now for a man who isn’t fond of heights you would think this would be the last experience I would go for. Anyway seven years on and I’m back in Taupo to remember if it really was that good! Today I’m getting close to death with Taupo Tandem Skydiving (http://www.taupotandemskydiving.com) the original tandem company in New Zealand. With the possibility of pumping through 220 dives a day I felt like they would know what they were doing!
So finally the day came and I stood with some more suicidal maniacs in the centre of Taupo waiting for our ride to the airport. Now it’s worth noting here that even though the skydive is very fast you need a couple of hours at least at the airport. We were picked up at 3pm and finished around 5.30pm. Skydiving is also VERY weather dependent with jumps being rescheduled throughout the day and week. If this is something you really want to do then make sure you give plenty of time to allow for your jump and be ready to go at a moments notice. On the plus side there are literally hundreds of places to skydive in NZ so you won’t be far away from doing it however Taupo is one of the cheapest places in NZ.
Finally our driver arrived and we were whisked off to the airport, a couple of miles out of town. On the way the driver explained the options we had; jump from 9-15000 ft, and any videos or photos. Its worth weighing up the options a couple of days before you jump and seeing what’s the best deal for you. It’s hard to make a decision just before when the adrenaline starts pumping. I have never had a video taken of my skydives because I don’t want people to see me being scared witless on TV. However I have on occasion regretted it as it’s a great memory to show the grandkids! The works including jump, photos and video was around NZ$350 which is a bargain for a once in a lifetime experience.
On arrival we paid up and then were led into the waiting area where you see people heading off into the skies. Be aware there is a fairly long wait (more time to get scared!) so I had time to nip to the loo and become at one with myself. Even though there is always an inherent risk with such an activity there was a great deal of professionalism going on and I felt safe and in good care at all times. Saying that I did find myself writing ‘if I die’ messages in the internet café the morning before!!!
One of the instructors introduced himself and cracked the usual never done it before gags. He then checked I was safely in my gear and we got ready to board the plane. In all honesty I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I had been. Being my second time I knew exactly what I was in for. We clambered into the plane and set off into the air. Once again we were in for a wait of 20 mins as the plane got high enough. As you can expect this went pretty damn quickly!!
And so finally the jump came……
The pilot radioed through that we were ready for the run and the jump light turned from red to green. Although it was noisy in the plane it got a hell of a lot more when the exit door was slid open at 12,000ft. One by one we crawled to the door, a quick attempted smile at the camera then you get to lean over the edge of the door and see how damn high you are. Let’s put it this way – Taupo is about 12 inches wide!!! As you jump there is a strange feeling like being on a fairground ride without being attached to something solid – its bloody great!! The gforce on your face is amazing as you fall at up to 200kmph. My freefall lasted for about 45 seconds and then there is an almighty upward pull as the parachute opens. Then absolute silence….
In my opinion the floating down is probably more scary as you dangle 3000ft above Lake Taupo. You get some amazing views though and get to see things as if you were in a plane but with fresh air. The float down takes about 3-4 minutes and my tandem diver Adrian even let me steer the parachute which was great. And then we landed and shared handshakes between my dive master and fellow divees! I tell you I was bouncing off the walls! After we got out gear off we went inside to see the videos and photos.
Overall I had a great time and would most definitely do it again. Taupo is a great place to skydive with quality companies and some great prices to boot. I now can’t wait for my next chance to dive!