Where We Be
|Skydiving! -- Wanaka, New Zealand
We woke up to a perfect blue day without a cloud in
the sky and said, “This is it!” We signed up for the
ultimate adventure with Skydive Lake Wanaka, a
firm with a great safety record. We decided to do
the maximum allowable tandem jump from 15,000
feet. You can choose to jump from 9,000, 12,000, or
15,000 feet. A jump from 9,000 feet gives you 30
seconds of freefall compared to 60 seconds at
15,000 feet. We figured, we’re only going to do this
once so we might as well do it all the way.
We also decided to pay a professional cameraman
to take photos and videos of Robin during her
jump, which is why we have these great pictures to
share with you!
The Jump: Robin and I were about ten feet away
from each other, sitting on the floor in the open
plane berth, with each of our jump masters attached
behind us. We waved to each other, then my jump
master told me to scoot forward so my legs were
dangling outside the plane. This was definitely the
scariest and most surreal part of the adventure. It
just feels wrong to have your legs dangling outside
a plane at 15,000 feet. The air outside felt very cold
but the skies were blue and you could see the
whole world spread out below you as if in miniature.
The jump master pulled my head back to rest
against his shoulder. That was the sign we were
about to jump. I took a deep breath. He pushed off
and we hurtled down and out of the plane.
That first five seconds is a rush. You fall forward
and your jump master rolls around so you’re staring
back up at the plane. You see it fly off and suddenly
feel very lonely! The next thing you know you’re
looking back down at the ground at a ridiculous
distance below you. The cold wind is buffeting you.
Your jump master taps you hard on the shoulder,
and that’s the sign you can let go of the straps on
your jumpsuit and put your hands out in front of
you, palms downward, almost as if you were staring
through a window with your hands pressed against
the glass. You stop accelerating and reach
“terminal velocity”—120 mph, faster than most of us
have driven in a car. All this in the first five
You’re now falling at 180 feet per second and
continue falling at that rate until the jump master
pulls the cord and your parachute deploys.
Meanwhile, you’re staring straight down at the
earth in all its glory. You whoop and holler and try
to take it all in. You start to feel like you’re
supported by the air rushing past you. My jump
master moved his hands and we started spinning
so that the whole world spun below us. Wow! When
his altimeter read 3,000, my jump master pulled the
cord and our parachute deployed. Up we went, to
my great relief. Everything slowed down and the
earth swam into clearer focus. My first thought was
that I might be able to catch a glimpse of Robin. I
saw her with her parachute already open making
the same gentle descent I was but at a higher
The memory deepest etched in my mind is of a black
dot—the cameraman—continuing to plummet
towards earth, only deploying his chute once he
was much closer to the ground. He needed to go
faster than us in order to get set up to take the
video of our landings.
|Robin in full adrenaline mode, having the time of her life!
|Amazing photo of Robin in space (earth to left!)
|Contemplating the next few seconds of my life
|Pre-jump photo with our jump masters
|The absolute scariest moment of the whole experience
|Patchwork quilt of the earth, and nothing but air between you and it!
|Fantastic picture of Robin freefalling towards earth
|How did I get myself into this?!
|Wonder Woman takes to the skies!
|So smokin' hot her chute's on fire!
|How was it? AWESOME!!! says Robin
|Feeling doubly alive after this!
|Robin's new favorite adrenaline adventure