“Why would I ever throw myself out of a perfectly good plane?”

These were the words of the woman who helped us book our skydive with Skydive Taupo yesterday. SKYDIVING?! Yes, skydiving. Taupo is the adventure capitol of the North Island and we had been told by many travelers we had met if you were going to throw yourself out of a plane, this was place to jump. Before leaving the States, John was fairly certain he wanted to skydive. Erin, on the other hand, was pretty much against it. But, after many people told her how fantastic it was, including Newberg family members, she was convinced it would be worth the experience.

We arrived in Taupo expecting to be here for several days organizing the jump, waiting for good conditions, and perhaps taking a course on proper jumping and screaming techniques. To our surprise the concierge was able to call Skydive Taupo at 9:30am and have a limo here by 10:15am to pick us up (no extra charge for the limo, but it did have a license plate that read “JUMP US”). This quick booking was probably a good thing, giving us no real time to think about it or second guess our decision. The Skydive Taupo folks were really nice and made you feel safe about your decision to throw yourself from a perfectly good plane. Within an hour of being collected at our holiday park, we were suited up and boarding a bright pink plane attached to our skydiving instructor.

John and I chose to jump from 15,000 ft–the highest height you can jump from in Taupo–which meant 60 seconds of freefall followed by about 5 minutes of parachute flight. The flight up to our jumping altitude was beautiful. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in the North Island and is bordered by incredible, snow covered mountains. The view from above was spectacular. We were above the clouds! As we reached 15,000 ft a red light in front of us turned green and we knew we had very little time before that door would open and we would fall out of the plane. Sure enough, in minutes the door opened and the insturctors wasted no time in getting us out. John was second to go and Erin was third. It was quite an experience watching John fall out of the plane.

As you fall out of the plane, it disappears from view very quickly and you accelerate up to 125 mph in less than 8 seconds. It is extremely cold at that altitude and the wind chill makes it even colder. Our ears were popping and hurt and we were doing our best to follow our instructors directions and enjoy the ride at the same time. We didn’t really even have time to think about the chute opening and before we knew it the 60 seconds was over, we had fallen 10,000 feet and were now sailing smoothly over the landscape. The next thing we knew we were floating in the air, with our legs dangling, looking across at each other about 50 ft apart, laughing and enjoying the ride. And then our instructors took us into a spiraling dive-combine the biggest roller coaster and tilt-o-whirl into one ride and that’s kind of what if felt like (Molly would hate it).

In no time at all, we were being briefed on how to land and in what seemed like seconds, were back on the ground, still laughing and grinning ear to ear. The adrenaline and other natural drugs were pumping through our bodies.

Is it worth it? Yes and no. It’s probably one of the most expensive 5 minute adventures you can have but unlike any other 5 minutes you’ll experience in your life. Would we do it again? Probably not unless someone else foots the bill. It is cheaper to jump in NZ than back home which was part of our rationale for doing it here. Plus, Taupo is the informal skydive capitol of the world. In the summer months, they push an average of 400 people out of a plane every day with a nearly perfect rate of success. Just kidding, all the diving outfits have impeccable records. If you do decide to skydive, don’t read the warning label on the back of your harness. It provides very little comfort.

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10 Responses to “Why would I ever throw myself out of a perfectly good plane?”

  1. Joy says:

    Thanks for not telling me ahead of time! Carpe diem, or whatever! Makes my heart pound just thinking about it. I’m thankful your lives are in God’s hands.

  2. Joel Bock says:

    What a rush! Did either of you have a chance to yell? Or does the fall take the wind out of you? Is bungy jumping next?

  3. Kim says:

    NO FRICKIN’ WAY! You are crazy! I couldn’t do it, but I’m glad you experienced the thrill of a lifetime. Reading your blog does NOT even make me want to live vicariously through you. 🙂 Way to go!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Erin, the expression on your face in the plane says it all. And I’m relieved you both survived. 🙂

  5. Katie Elmes says:

    Hilarious…oh, I love the blog. I definitely laughed out loud reading it. And then mom’s comment…actually my heart is pounding too just imagining from your very detailed description. Also, I heard you told mom AFTER the jump…good thinking! I’m so glad you guys are living life and having fun. (PS…we’re moving to Texas!!)

  6. andra says:

    you did it!!! wow, you guys are so brave, i don’t know if i could do that …especially judging by my stomach churning and heart racing just reading about it;-) keep up the adventures, we love reading about them and love you guys!

  7. Allison says:

    that is so awesome!!! Way to go Erin. I would have been in your boat. But it sounds like and amazing experience.

  8. Rachelle says:

    Ummmmmm…………..I don’t think I said you should do it! I’m pretty sure I told you I was the most scared I had ever been and had to be rolled out of the plane after I completely shut down.

    Anyway, I’m glad you got to do it and survive. I kept the contract I signed basically saying this is so dangerous and you are probably going to die so don’t blame us.

    Miss you guys, a lot!
    Rachelle

  9. Molly says:

    Way to go!! I’m very glad you survived such a reckless decision! :-> Sounds like you will have many adventures to share when you come back. Love you.

  10. Robby says:

    Wise move telling your mom afterwards…that was mu approach to Bungee Jumping in NZ. She didn’t need to know until I had already gone. 10 years later she still hasn’t seen the video.

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