I told myself it had to be safer than climbing in Laos or dirt-biking in Cambodia and as the plane climbed higher I reminded myself that it was undoubtedly safer than the buses in India and more than likely safer than Lao Airlines.
The thing is at a certain point none of these things matter. The small Cessna plane reaches 12,000 feet, the door opens, the wind rushes in, and you have to step out of a perfectly good plane and into the void. Actually, it’s tons of fun.
The Franz Josef skydive is reportedly the second most scenic skydive in the world (after Mt. Everest). On one side you have a view of the Tasman Sea, and on the other you have the Southern Alps (including Mount Cook).
So what is skydiving like? For a beginner it’s rather easy- you are tethered to an instructor whose job it is to pull the parachute cord (and presumably push you out of the plane if you need a little extra “encouragement”). The first seven or eight thousand feet of the jump are spent in free fall. After the initial jump, or rather being sucked out of the plane and into the sky, it isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. After about 45 seconds, which seem to simultaneously encompass no time at all and a lifetime, and the ground is starting to seem very close the instructor pulls the parachute cord and the free falling part is over. The parachute comes to a gentle glide and before you know it the jump is over.