Oooo myyyyy Gooooood! What haven’t we jumped off in the last 3 days?!… NOTHING… Aaaahhhh!!
The last few days have been nothing short of a wild rollercoaster… Especially for me, the ultimate P+*?y but its been AWESOME!
It all began, the day after Franz Josef… We had a long day’s drive to Lake Wanaca. Lengthened by the fact that as we drove into Fox (the town of Fox glacier), we saw a fantastic view of the glacier… but by the time we reached Lake Matheson, 6km down the road, the whole area was engulfed in very low rain clouds.
Although, seeing this alone was incredible, we were gutted not to walk round the Lake where you can apparently see the most stunning reflection of Fox and Mount Cook! We did try and wait it out while staring at odd cows and making tea in the back of the van (another hot tip for campers – cheap tea can be procured by acquiring hot water in takeaway cup from cafe and proceeding to add tea bag, sugar and milk from your reserve – tasty and cheap! Mm mmm mmmmm :))but it was all to no avail, the rain was not going to shift.
It’s all good because the drive to Wanaca was spectacular, though we could not believe how big Lake Wanaca was as we drove along on what we felt was a coastline. Just as we thought we’d seen as much Lake as possible and turned away from the ginormous lake, lo and behold on the other side there lay Lake Hawea which is perhaps equally spell binding. This had to make up for the disappointment of not seeing Matheson?
(not the lakes…another gorgeous sight…unfortunately the lake photos do not do justice to their beauty… see skydive pics instead! ;))
Reaching Wanaka (town – told u it was a huuumongous lake) the plan was that if the weather stayed abysmal we would move straight onto Queenstown otherwise we would stick around and try and book me into a skydive.
The weather looked dreadful!! Whooo! Boy, was I relieved. But, yeup there’s always a big BUTT, Rishi was not content. He drove round like a man on a mission looking for the skydiving company’s offices to find out what they expected of the weather the next day. Eventually he discovered they were based 10km away so he called them. He wasn’t giving up that easy. And guess what? The weather was going to be the best of the whole week on the following day! Hurrah?! (More like aaaahhhh). I was almost paralysed with fear. Jumping out an F-ing plane, stupid thousand feet in the air, attached to a random man who relies on some plastic to stop us splatting on the ground?! Greeeeaaaat!
I wasn’t booking it yet. “Let’s wait till tomorrow and if the weather is good, and I’m feeling ready, I’ll do it!”… at the same time, I was praying, messaging Anand to hear his support, telling myself that it will be the most amazing rush and bricking it!! I managed to get through dinner reading and re-reading the skydive leaflet, but by the time we got to the camp site (a paid one) in a local town near the jump site, I was ready to knock out. Panicking and preparing for such craziness is I tell you bloody tiring work! Thing is, it was only 8 o’ clock!! Plus the owner of the camp site which was actually just a cricket ground had verbal diaorahea and I kept stupidly making comments which set him off on new tangents of spiel! Faaaantastic…
Anywho, I still managed to get a good 10 hours sleep but was rudely awoken by Rish wanting to get me ready and set for the day… Because looking out the window, it was just clear blue sky! What a contrast to the day before?! I could only take it as a sign from the Almighty; today was my day to jump! To top it off, the guy in our neighbouring campervan was also going to be jumping. I had to do it!!!
We drove down to the offices where I sheepishly called the company, (they weren’t open yet but had a phonebox to call them!?!) trying to make any excuses possible, but inevitably ended up with a jump booking for Rish and I at 10am. No backing out now…
Sitting there in our van waiting for the booking time; preparing ourselves with the safety video, putting on the jumpsuits and even while scribbling last minute inscriptions on our hands, I couldn’t help marvel at the wonder of the mind-blowingly beautiful day it was. The sun was out in full force, the views were extraordinary; this was going to be amazing! And hopefully I wouldn’t poo in my pants from fear! That would probably not be cool? I actually felt relatively calm… My main worry was what colour my parachute would be, I really wanted one with pink in it!! For some reason it helped that the rest of my jumping group were scared. I would be their strength!
Then my tandem buddy came over…. “Hi, I’m Jeff.. You ready?”.. Uh NO!! Literally, five minutes and we were on the teeny plane, and I was at the bloody front… Trying to focus on oo how lovely this is.. What great views, thinking all the while, “Hmm, why do we keep flying higher?” “O, this is only 6,000ft”..
“What .. The … F@*!?”
Guess what guys, 15,000ft is pretty high!! Yeeeup!! The plane just goes higher and higher and when you think its gone high enough, you know what, it goes EVEN higher!!
At around 12,000ft the tandem dude next to me jumped off at a ridiculously fast speed taking his unsuspecting Chinese passenger with him. No sitting on the edge of the plane, no “are you ready?”, no time for anything… Fffvooom, they were gone.
I can’t lie, at this point, I was bloody scared.
Higher and higher we went though, and Jeff started clipping x, y and z behind me. I just stared out….
It was time! 15,000ft above the ground that my feet love to walk on, using that glorious safety net called gravity which would now be my arch nemesis!
Legs off the edge, head up… Last screams of “I can’t do this” but still fully committed to doing it and we were out.
Aweeeesome!! The most unexpected feeling of stability and support while wind gushes in your face so much so that you can’t speak or hear anything but the wind and at the same time as you are taking in spectacular scenes of Lake Wanaca and Hawea and the mountain ranges and the turquoise blue river, you are falling at 200km/hr! Out. Of. This. World.
A full minute of the most amazing freefall and then whooosh, out comes the parachute. A few milli seconds of an odd speed changing sensation and then you are just chilling. No other way to explain it as you float down gently, taking in the majesty of mother nature, the craziness of man made adventure activities and revelling in the disbelief that you jumped out of a plane.
The adrenalin is intense. Even as I write this, I feel that warm, energy boosting sensation in my chest, my heart starts pumping faster and a smile is on my face.
The landing is awesome too. We sped down in a big circle to land, feet in the air zoooming into the fast approaching grass and then somehow we were back; standing upright on firm ground thrilled that I did it!!! And guess what, I had a pink parachute! Yay!
Obviously Rish was already back from his dive despite jumping AFTER me! Just another jump off a plane for him! Hehe!
Hmm, how do u go from there? Well, I jumped around like an idiot. Nothing unusual. Rish was proud and excited. Then I tried to convince the girlfriend of the guy that had camped next to us the night before to do it too… (Think she might be convinced, must check on her)!
On to Queenstown, let’s get Rish on a bungy… TODAY!
Ok, so we drove through the Crown ranges, which really are magnificent, but our brains were on Queenstown and BUNGY! (I didn’t have to do any activities now that I’d done a sky dive.. Achievement enough!) … you can see Rishi was keen to jump off anything…
Unfortunately we weren’t there in time to push Rish off the Nevis bungy ledge but wanting to capitalise on the fabulous weather we hopped on to the shotover canyon jet.
The boat ride is a pretty cool, twist, turn and spin 360′ action adventure in a thin gorge passageway. To be honest, it didn’t have us quivering as we might have done if we hadn’t sky dived that morning. (We did still scream. Yes Rishi too.) But still have to commend the driver’s excellent skills and give the ride a big thumbs up!
Next day was going to be the beast. We questioned every man, woman and their dog about the bungy and swing options before finally booking Rish into jump the canyon swing in the morning, have a quick lunch and then thrown him off the Nevis Bungy that afternoon. It was gonna be one big headrush! Well, we didn’t have much time in Queenstown but couldn’t leave without those activities under Rish’s belt, and so a man’s got to do what a man’s go to do! And Rish usually copies what the man does!
I on the other hand wasn’t even sure I was going to go along because you have to pay to go watch!!! Mental.. Being a good wife though, I thought I’d go watch Rish throw himself off a cliff edge (the canyon swing) and give him moral support (aka check he follows through) as that was only $20.
Another fabulous evening of suburban camping, an early morning wake up and we were off. Almost a private tour to the Canyon Swing. (Guess backpackers like to have a decent night’s rest before throwing themselves off cliffs – go figure!)
Rish was off pretty fast. He threw himself off backwards first but not quite scared by the feat, he requested the jump master suggest the scariest jump and so they tied him up upside down, attached a gimp teddy bear and threw him off again. He was a little more satisfied with that jump (which fyi, is known as ‘gimp goes to hollywood’ .. Hmm) and was considering what would make the swing just that little bit more challenging…
Having watched this ordeal, like any normal god fearing person, I felt I was missing out, so after a little extra push from the jump helper men I got myself saddled up, tied to Rish and somehow was hanging off a rope above a 109m canyon. Hmm, right, how the hell did this happen?? I thought the sky dive was my last challenge!! Reality kicked in around that point but before I could fully realise the concept that I was paying stupid money to swing down a canyon with my stomach in my mouth, we were hurling our way down… And actually it wasn’t that bad! In fact, I might say, it was kinda nice! Wonders never cease hey?!
Pumped again by another dose of adrenalin, we purchased any photo and video we could find of our madness and headed back to town…. (can’t find the photos! 🙁 )
We had a little rest period. Well, by rest I mean, we fueled ourselves with caffeine in Starbucks and carbs and fat in MacDs. Hmmm, healthy!
Next stop, Rishi’s Nevis Bungy. The big mama. The halapalooza of adrenalin and fear led mentalness. The honker stonker of bungys at 134m high. The held at your feet by a stretchy rope jump off a ledge with a 8.5 second freefall into potential oblivion… Head first!!!
What the hell was Rishi thinking? I feared that I would convert (spectator to crazyator) but no chance, this beast was evil… I turned back to look at Rish as we stood on the holding platform before they took us over to the jump ledge expecting fear and trepidation but instead he stood there smiling, excited and egging to go!!! No exaggeration, he was the only one that was this thrilled to be jumping off that ledge! He wasn’t even wanting to ‘quick, get it over with’… No, no, the anticipation of waiting was part of the fun for this numpty!
We went over to the ledge, Rish calming me down as we went. (I know, I know, I wasn’t even jumping)! We watched as one after the other, mindless boys and girls dived off the ledge and then there was ‘the one’. There’s always the one person who gets to the edge … And stops! Yeup, she gave up, panic, grabbing hold of people and scrambling back.. Everyone went quiet. The thought of 134m of nothingness was just too much and everyone could feel the fear and tension in the air.
O well, Rishi up next!
They tied his legs up, my tears welled up, he got up, hobbled to the edge, LOOKED DOWN, took a deep breath and just went for it. AaaarrgggHhhh.
Mindblowing… Never have I seen Rishi smile so much (and you know how much he loves to smile) as when he came back from that Bungy… Yet on his mind was, what next? What’s higher?!! Aaarghgh! Lol
It was time to celebrate, Rish had been on 48 hours of adrenalin overdose. the best solution was to get our teeth into a biiig, juiiiicy FERG burger… Woooh, I can hear all Queenstown visitors going, YEEAAh! That’s what it’s all about!! Woooh!! (Big satisfied grunt)… Sorry to dissapoint all the fans though, but we had veggie versions… BOOOO, I know I know. Lol. Still some big ass burger awesomeness…
Thing was this part of the trip just seemed a little incomplete for me… Rishi was content and happy, I just didn’t feel satisfied. Something was missing… I dreamt about it all night long, parked up on the lake in Queenstown. By the next morning, I knew what I had to do… I had to Bungy!! Didn’t help that even my Dad suggested I go back and do the nevis!! Thanks daddoo… But I knew that was pushing outside of my limits and off into someone else’s domain… I would only be doing that to say ‘I did the Nevis’… So I came to a comprimise.. We were driving back across South Island towards Christchurch and en route we would be passing the original bungy.. The Kawaru bridge… So off we got. I marched down, watched a little girl jump off (on her own) and then dragged Rish on with me, held on to his belt for dear life and plunged downwards attached at my feet with nothing but a towel and some buckly thingy bob… There was the river rushing fast to our face and just before we could feel the cool waters we were yanked backwards to start the plunge all over again…
What a rush… It’s a very, very unusual and different feeling to be heading down in freefall, head first, and seemingly unattached to well, anything!
Thanks to Rish for coming with me so that now I can rest easy knowing that in those 3 days, I felt the fear and still did the 3 jumps. Boooooo yaaAa!
Feel free to share when you guys have felt the fear, said F-it and done it anyway! Woooh!