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  1. I spent almost two weeks with Skydive Abel Tasman while working towards my A licence and would highly recommend them to anyone, from first time tandem jumpers to experienced sport divers. During this time I had one on one tuition with my instructor, Mike, whose teaching style was clear, concise and structured (when it needed to be) but also friendly and informal in between dives. His easy going character made him very approachable when it came to asking questions and he was always keen to teach me new skills. It is still unclear to me if his motivation for this was purely professional or to keep the beer fridge well stocked! (the house rule is anytime you do something for the first time a contribution is gently expected; a contribution I was more than happy to make!) My tuition didn’t end with Mike. On many occasions I picked up pieces of information or refined skills thanks to chatting to some of the other professional divers or the pilot who were always willing to answer questions or help out in a sport they were all clearly passionate about. The guys that packed the chutes were particularly helpful when it came to learning their trade, a skill you have a vested interest in not screwing up! And the girls that worked the front of house always did their best to get me as many jumps as I could. On many days I found myself on back to back loads, which was great. I also had the opportunity to jump out of the drop zone’s new, larger plane which has increased the dive shop’s capacity. The airfield is a twenty minute walk from town in which there are a number of hostels and motels, most of which have bikes you can borrow making the trip to and from the drop zone very easy. The town itself has everything you would need for an extended stay with a selection of stores, two large supermarkets and a couple of half decent watering holes (Hot Mamas and the Sprig & Fern were my favourites). And you are a stone throw away from the national park so if the weather isn’t great for jumping or if you just want to do something different you can go hiking, kayaking or just have a lazy day on the beach. Skydive Abel Tasman is a well organised drop zone, professionally run and situated in an area of extreme natural beauty, which from altitude is truly breathtaking. But their strongest asset is the team of people that make up the Skydive Abel Tasman family, all of whom I wanted to spend time with after their working day. I figure if you are going to jump out of a plane it should be with people that you like, respect and trust. Skydive Abel Tasman has those types of people in abundance.