posted by Maya

How to skydive...

I have never been exceptionally brave. Sure, I have adventurous moments, but I am generally a pretty timid person. I am terrified of needles and I hate rodents, etc. So, if someone had told me a week ago that I was going to go skydiving and bungee jumping, I wouldn’t have believed them. I really didn’t have any interest in either of these things before we got to Wanaka, New Zealand. But when we got to the travel office, and Alana the Travel Agent mentioned skydiving, something clicked in my brain. It was like my Evil Knevel gene that had been dormant all of these years suddenly activated. I knew that this was something I had to do.

Skydiving Fashions

            By the time we got to the airport the next morning, I was freaking out. I suppose that it hadn’t really registered with me that I would be JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE until we actually paid and got into our jumpsuits. I almost chickened out after watching the safety briefing video, but before I knew it, we were getting in the plane and the only way out was down.

Father-Daughter bonding time.

My flight instructor.

See the cute orange plane.

Now, I don’t want you to think that my parents would let me skydive on my own. It was tandem skydiving, which means that I was attached to a professional instructor who pulls the parachute string.  My instructor was a nice Hungarian man who didn’t give me a second to think before jumping.  All the sudden, the two pairs of jumpers sitting in front of me had leaped out, and it was my turn. I was positively terrified. I did NOT want to do this anymore. But my instructor got ready to go, and since I was attached to him, I didn’t have much of a choice. And then we were falling.

Those 45 seconds of free falling were both the longest and shortest of my life. I was screaming, shouting, shrieking. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” My throat went dry and the wind was coming at me so fast and I was sure that I would never reach the ground. I loved it! Then, the instructor pulled the string and the parachute sprang into action.

“Are you okay?” He asked me over and over. I kept replying “Yes! Of course!” The amazing thing was, that I really was okay. Better than okay! In fact, I had never felt better in my entire 13 years! I was giggling and having a great time.

This is me...

We landed safely on the airport lawn. My face hurt from smiling for so long. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it! After seeing how much my dad (who had also gone Skydiving) and I loved it, my mom decided to go too. She also enjoyed it, but she said after that once was plenty. She doesn’t share my new dream of being professional skydiver one day.

Let's do it again!

Mom did it too!

We decided that one major adventure was enough for one day, but of course, that didn’t stop us from going bungy jumping the next! The bungy was an AJ Hackett bungy rig, invented by none other than kiwi AJ Hackett, the bungy pioneer. It was set up on a high bridge over a flowing river.  Only my dad and I went bungee jumping, although Eva and Rikki both wanted to. (They did the bungy trampoline instead.)

Eva, flipping out.

Rikki, getting some air.

            My dad jumped first.  After watching him jump, I had many of the same feelings I had before Skydiving.  But this time, I knew I could do it.  Extreme sports will change you like that.  The boys up on the bridge tied my feet in a towel and connected my harness to a bungy cord.  In no time, it was my turn. I waddled up to the edge of the platform and turned to the camera. In the pictures, you can see the terror in my eyes. The bungy guy said, “ONE! TWO! THREE! BUNGY!” Without a moment of hesitation, I was jumping.

The fear.

The leap.

The dangle.

The boat pick up.

The most fun ever!

I don’t remember much about free falling, but I do remember loving it.  It was over very quickly, though, and I felt the bungy cord jerk me upside down.  I bobbed and dangled for a while before two guys in a raft came to pull me down. I think my smile was even bigger than the grin I had after skydiving, if it’s possible.  

After giving it some thought, I decided that bungy jumping was scarier than skydiving. When I went skydiving, an instructor forced me to jump. I never had to make that decision. But with bungy jumping, you have to decide on your own to jump. You have to push every fear and second thought to the side and choose to fall. In reality, bungy jumping is very safe, but you have to make the decision to jump on your own. With skydiving, there is plenty of room for error, but once I decided to trust my instructor, I never had to think. Bungy jumping taught me that I could summon the courage- or stupidity!- to do whatever I want to.  And …IT WAS AWESOME!

Loved it!

Categories: New Zealand | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “X-Treme!

  1. moshe frank

    Kol Hakavod to all of you, but especially to Maya. Your description of both the sky diving and bungi jumping was fantastic. I did the sky diving about 10 years ago and you got it right on the button. Continue with your adventures, and keep us posted, we’re enjoying all of it vicariously. Moshe and Rollie

  2. Marianne Bloomberg

    Maya, awesome!! i’m so impressed with your courage!! i don’t think i could skydive or bungee jump. your huge smiles were incredible!! congratulations!! i am loving your posts. i’m so glad you are blogging so everyone can keep up with you. can’t wait to read about your next adventure! enjoy!!
    marianne bloomberg

  3. Kathy & all the Murphys

    Loved this account of your X-treme adventures, Maya – wow! You guys are my idols!

  4. Hello Goldmans!! Ever since you arrived in New Zealand I have been waiting for your bungee jump/sky dive post. I went to NZ and to date it is my favorite place in the world. I too sky dived (actually in Kikora where you swam with the dolphins – I did that too) and I also bungee jumped. A.J Hackett is my hero and so I felt the need to do the Thrillogy. I did all 3 jumps (the bridge, cable car and tree). It was a blast. I feel the same way as you did Maya and have been preaching to the world that bungee jumping is way more of rush than tandem sky diving. I agree that having to throw yourself off the small square of a platform you stand on is way more exciting. I also thought that with bungee jumping that you are high enough up to keep it in perspective but in sky diving you are so high you can actually see the ground.
    I am so glad you guys had that experience. I did the trampoline bungee just last month in Steamboat, CO and LOVED it. It was the best $10 I ever spent (and the most exhausting 3 minutes).
    Enjoy what people call the Adventure Capitol of the world and the most beautiful place I have ever been.
    Looking forward to meeting you soon and exchanging pictures.
    Take care and enjoy!


  5. Bill Marker

    Maya, you’re absolutely awesome! Very courageous and a little crazy.

    Thanks for sharing all these great experiences. I’ve enjoyed all the posts.

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