14 Apr One heck of a day…
If you know me, you know I tend to stay on the safe side of the street; I don’t really seek out danger or adventure. But something has gotten into me, and I’ve fully embraced the adrenaline-filled activities that New Zealand is known for. Last Sunday, I went whitewater rafting and then I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet.
There is clearly something in the water over here.
We started out the day in Rotorua, an area known for its geothermal activity. As soon as you enter the town, you smell the rotten-egg like odor that indicates sulfur. We weren’t here to experience the geysers, however, we were on a mission to raft the Kaituna River and go over the 7 meter waterfall it’s famous for.
In groups of 6, with wetsuits but no training we were off, down the river and ready to tackle the rapids!
It was pretty intense at times, I think partly because we had to learn the ropes so quickly. After just a couple smaller rapids, we were down the waterfall ready to put our new skills to the test. It actually was fairly scary, and we ALMOST tipped over. (Someone else actually did!)
But we survived to tell the tale!
Then… Skydiving. I’ll admit that the idea started brewing once I decided to come to New Zealand. I had never particularly wanted to do it before, because I’m pretty afraid of flying (I know, it’s amazing for the amount of traveling I do, but I just tolerate the flying part.) But when I knew I was coming here, I figured, why not? And when people on the bus started talking about it I figured now was as good a time as any. So this is how I got to go skydiving with about 20 of my closest traveling buddies.
Throughout the whole experience, I was strangely zen. I wasn’t that nervous or scared… I just knew that I was going to be skydiving, and that was that.
As six of us took off in the super small (and pink) plane, I just stared out the window as we went up and up. I asked my tandem partner how high up we were, and he said 2,000 feet. 2,000 FEET? But we were already so high up, and we were going to 15,000 before jumping… that’s when I started to have a little fear about what the heck I had gotten myself into, but it was too late to turn back. I focused on trying to calm down Carol, the nice Irish girl next to me, and forgot about my own nerves. Then before I knew it, the door to the plane was open, people started screaming, and then they were gone…
I scooted up the lines of seats, just confirming to my buddy that I was indeed strapped to him as I should be, and then there I was- sitting on the floor of a plane with my legs dangling off the edge. One second I was sitting, the next I was flying .
Or, I guess technically it’s dropping but we were so high up I could hardly tell the difference. All I know is that it was awesome. 60 seconds of freefall and then it’s over and you’re floating gently amongst the clouds and down to the ground. It was a really great day.
I’m in Queenstown now on the South Island and I’m about to embark on a 5 day hike (!) to Milford Sound. (#2 on my list of 55 Places I want to visit, and the main reason I wanted to come to New Zealand.) Expect a full report when I get back!