A plunge of perfection

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March 24th 2005
Published: March 24th 2005
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Dear all,

It's the best part of your favorite song played really loud. It's when the person you've been drooling over in the bar looks your way and smiles. It's the perfect drug. Alcohol can't touch it. Sex doesn't even come close. It's absolute legend.
I'm talking about launching out of a perfectly good airplane at 15,000 feet, meat bombing your way into the earth below and hoping that little napkin opens to cushion your fall a bit.
I've always dreamed about skydiving. It seemed an appropriate rite of passage, something a person had to do before becoming a qualified grownup (Yes, yes, flawed logic, but hey...). So when I booked into my hostel at Lake Taupo, I casually asked Paul, the super friendly and laid-back owner, if he'd ever skydived. He smiled at me, eyes gleaming.
"You want me call them and see what time they have today?" he asked.
No, no! I thought. Remembering the horror of the Queenstown Canyon Swing, my heart started pounding wildly.
"Sure." I tried hard to look unperturbed.
He dialed up and chatted with person on the other end, making small talk about his aunt Truda, then asked me, "How's 1:00?"
It was 11:45. Shit. There was no backing out. It was now or never. Why, oh why, do I do this to myself?
Two hours later I found myself at 12,000 feet and climbing in a teeny tiny plane strapped to a charmer named Ted. The dive was to be tandem, of course, which reassured me. I kept giggling with that half-gleeful, half-terrified laugh as Ted kept zooming the camera in on my face. As we neared 14,000 feet, my gut started churning and I chewed frantically on my piece of gum.
"You okay?" Ted rubbed my shoulder.
Yeah, sure. I pretended that we were on a war mission to rescue our troops below, crawling in misery on their bloodied hands and knees through enemy territory. We would emerge triumphant. We would win.
I looked at the man next to me, the first to go. He looked pale, sweaty and downright wretched. Next thing I knew, the little door opened up and he actually SQUEALED before they launched out, pew! like little bombs.
"Go, go, go," Ted said and we scrambled to the edge, our legs dangling over. This was it!
My voice let loose a loud, crazed scream when we fell out. I didn't know what way was up or down, but next thing I knew, we were rushing face down towards the earth, the wind roaring thunderously past my ears. It felt more like we were hovering than falling, like floating, flying like a bird. We fell through little icy raindrops. We, the humans, were the raindrops falling INTO the rain.
It was the best feeling of my life. Joy, exhilaration, exuberance, ecstasy; none of these words come even close to describing how delicious those 60 seconds of freefall were.
Then, a tug from above and we were floating like graceful hawks to the earth's surface. The water-filled crater of Lake Taupo gleamed far below my dangling Teva-clad feet. Ted turned us around and around for tear-jerking 360-degree views of the moutains and lake.
I had experienced heaven.

Additional photos below
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Group hugGroup hug
Group hug

Considering that I trusted this guy with my life, he at least deserves a hug.

5th April 2005

Wow Di... All i can say is WOW! - Scott

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