Terminal Velocity

(Alex) Okay — so my brothers call me an adrenaline junky, and I admit it, I love the feeling of adrenaline rushing through my veins. After gorge swinging in Zimbabwe, I really wanted to do something that would outdo myself. My first idea was bungee jumping, but Mom and Dad quickly talked me out of that. Then we heard about tandem skydiving and that was that. Skydiving. I tried my best not to think about it the night before. Tried not to think about jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. 15,000 feet.

Alexandra is in the red suit, 2 seconds after jumping

Unfortunately, that did not work very well and I was thinking about it the entire way to the airport and Taupo Tandem Skydiving New Zealand. We had to wait for the clouds to move, which built up more excitement and uncertainty in my mind. Finally it was time to board the one plane I would not be coming back down in. As we took off, my skydive buddy Joel was keeping me updated on our heights and at 5,000 feet he told me that this was the height we would be letting our parachute loose. At 5,000 feet everything below me was already ants. Then suddenly we were at 15,000 feet. Well, not suddenly — it actually seemed like forever. They opened the door and an ice cold burst of air froze my bare ankles and cheeks. I was second after Mom, then Emma and finally Dad. Mom went way too quickly for my liking and then it was me. I barely had enough time to analyze the situation I was getting myself into when suddenly we were shooting down. I felt like I was being shot out of a rocket with our terminal velocity at 200 kilometers an hour. Our 10,000 foot freefall in 60 seconds was the fastest 60 seconds of my life. Then our parachute was let loose and we shot back up into the sky. I felt like a bird flying with a bird’s eye view of everything (including Mount Doom!). When we reached the ground all I wanted to do was do it again. No words can describe my free-falling experience and I hope to one day do it again.

Emma in free fall

(Emma) Dad kept trying to talk Alex out of it because she was running the train. She wouldn’t budge. So as a little sister I cannot let her get all the fame and glory; I have to get some of it. The day comes after little night of sleep and a lot of “Emma, you are an idiot” thoughts to myself. The plane takes off with all 4 of the thrill-seekers and their dive masters. The plane felt like hours, but time always runs out. Mom jumps, Alex next, my turn, Dad after. The wind is already whipping and my body goes numb and I start to shake, most likely from fear rather then chill. 1,2,3… Go. I am strapped to the master but those ropes sure don’t feel safe enough. We drop like rocks through space. The plane leaves from above us. My life is over! I am petrified, I can not move one bone, but we still go down. I feel the temperature change as I plummet towards the earth. We free fall for 1 minute, it feels like a few seconds then the parachute comes out. I breathe a sigh of relief. We move to a horizontal position like sitting in a chair, I finally begin to enjoy it. I have always wanted to be a bird, just for a day. This is the closest I will ever be, and it feels good. Time yet again passes and I am a human again. Although I was not a bird for a whole day, that time was just enough. But when that parachute came out my drop seemed a lot more enjoyable. I am glad I am alive!

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5 Responses to “Terminal Velocity”

  1. You girls are nuts! Alex, way to ‘drive the train’ and Em, nice job being the supportive sister. I can’t imagine how scary those few seconds before jumping must have been. I am proud of your mom and dad, too…not too sure how we would react if Frank and Sarah wanted to skydive! another memory for the ages.

  2. NO WAY!!! How cool! Loved the video. Felt like I was jumping out of that plane with you guys. You are a brave and crazy bunch! – karen

  3. wowee! you gals are some kinda crazy young kids jumping out of airplanes… sounds like a fantastic experience, and a great perspective to gain on the world to add to the many you hae attained over the course of this year.
    skydiving polo next time..?
    looking forward to your return in a few weeks!

  4. OMG!!!!!! That sounds like soooooo much fun! I would also classify myself as an adrenaline junky. haha Alex! Can’t wait to see you all!!!!!- Tamar : )

  5. Hi Alex,

    I am probably never ever ever going skydiving. I don’t know why you even thought of doing it in the first place. I’ll admit though, it might’ve looked fun, but then again, the heights… Anyway, if you don’t like heights, there’s a place in California(I think…), and it’s called “Indoor Skydiving.” It’s really fun(and you don’t have to be afraid of heights)!

    ~Benjamin