He shows me his watch and taps the screen, it says 18.1ft. he takes my oxygen mask off along with his own and puts them back on the wall. “ONE MINUTE” he shouts. We all shake hands, fist bump and smile, some of us more nervously than others. The engine shuts off.
Oh fuck, we’re here.
It goes quiet for a second. Then the door swings open and the noise and cold of the wind rush in and disrupt the calm.
So this is really happening then...
He tells me to hang my legs out the door and I do. He’s right behind me.
We rock backwards and then forwards, “ONE!”
We roll forwards out of the plane.
Body goes down, stomach jumps up.
I catch a breath after a few seconds of screaming and he taps me. I can uncross my arms.
I focus on breathing which is tricky when air is being forced down your throat at 200kmh.
He points at a snow cover mountain top, Mount Cook presumably.
We spin around and he points at another.
We spin more and more and more.
He points out more mountains and glaciers.
I start to wonder if he’s just pointing at the same one over and over for the laugh.
I get used to falling
80 seconds is a long time
Eventually I hear a noise and we straighten up. He has pulled the cord and the parachute is opening.
Well that’s good news.
The harness tightens and we slow.
He asks how my ears are and I realize that I forgot to equalize them to account for the pressure difference between 19,000ft and whatever we were at then.
He gives me the reigns and tells me how to make it spiral. I do.
He points up “that’s your friend up there”.
He tells me to aim towards the landing zone which I do and he takes the controls back from me before we land and I inevitably get us both hurt.
I ask him if we can aim at Heini who has already landed to give her a scare.
He says no.
He tells me to lift my legs up and we land on our ass.
We disconnect, stand up and shake it out
Someone collects our gear and we walk over to the other guys who are waiting
Authored by Richie, the other traveling half