|Gruffalo tackles the Tongariro Crossing|
|Ruth and Gruffalo at Red Crater|
|Gary on the rim of Mount Doom|
The following day we were booked to do our skydive however when we woke there was a lot of cloud and a strong wind blowing, we phoned at 9.30am as requested and were advised to ring back an hour later to see if we were good for a go Johnny go go go go. At 10.30 we rang and at 10.40 the bus picked us up, what were we doing! We basically signed our lives away on the mini bus and then quickly arrived at Freefall Skydive at the airport. A view of a demo DVD and a decision on the packages (all chose 15,000 feet freefall with DVD and CD) and we were away getting suited up and introduced to our tandem partners. No time for hesitation, we were given an oxygen mask (!) and hustled onto the smallest plane in the world. There were five of us clients with our instructors and five film crews, one each, joy. The plane took off and went through some proper turbulence, it would have been a long trip bouncing around like that but thankfully the higher we went the calmer it got, it took 20 - 25 minutes to reach 15,000 feet, it shot by, oxygen masks went on at about 12,000 feet, all the way the instructors were buckling us in and checking and double checking. At last they got the go ahead from the ground crew and the door opened. The first film man climbed out and Simon the German guy who'd looked terrified since we took off was swung around to the edge, whoosh and he was gone! We all shuffled forward on our seats, swung our legs over and out, assumed the position and whoosh gone, no time to change your mind, a brief glimpse down and you were off. I was third out, Gary last at the back as he'd done it before and wouldn't get freaked. The noise as you fall is amazing, the wind whistling past your ears, I was totally bewildered, the others posed for the cameras etc but I didn't realise my instructor was tapping me or anything, usual befuddlement! All of a sudden the chute is pulled, the cameraman disappears below you and it all goes quiet, the most amazing thing. We free falled for about a minute and then float down for about four, it all passes in a blur, except for the twirling which I didn't enjoy! Down on the ground there was handshakes and a general disbelief in what we'd all just done, a great experience and one I would do again, but not yet!
|Sheer terror at 15,000 feet|
|Too late now!|
|Not much else you can do at 15,000 feet|