Lake Wanaka

By Krissie

November 14, 2009

We headed from Fox Glacier to the town of Wanaka, arriving around sunset.

November 15, 2009

We were greeted by three cheeky mallards in the morning.

After breakfast we went into town to run errands and update the blog (the previous post NZ 11/5-11/14). While we were at the internet cafe, fellow wover Polies Robert and Lance walked in. Those two eventually attempted to summit Mount Cook. I think the weather was against them, if I recall. It was a pretty chill day, but we were getting antsy being cooped up inside, which is why we never attempted another blog update while we were on vacation.

In the late afternoon we hiked a high hill called Mount Iron. It provided spectacular views of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

We finished as the sun was setting, but then we didn't have anything else to do for the rest of the night. I asked a petrol station attendant if there was a cinema. He pointed us in the direction of a motel that had a little cinema attached to it. The quaint and quirky Paradiso is the only cinema in town, and it was packed on a Saturday night. The one movie showing was 2012. We had vaguely heard about the movie from somewhere.

We were watching the movie, and all of a sudden it stopped, and the theater emptied within seconds. I thought, "That couldn't possibly be the end of the movie." During this impromptu intermission, people flooded the lobby to snatch up fresh-baked cookies and carafes of water or more beer. That car in the theater does have seats in it, but the windshield probably gets in the way of viewing. After the movie we headed back to the same campsite.

November 16, 2009

Skydive Lake Wanaka. We had originally chosen to do the 12,000 ft dive, but then, the suckers that we are, gave in to purchasing the 15,000 ft dive. Lake Wanaka is beautiful, so why not see more of it by going higher up? We signed some waivers, watched a video, and then got suited up.

Here you can see the little plane...and the Southern Alps.

This is Jeremy's jump (below). I jumped right after him. Our plane spiraled upward and let one tandem pair out at 12,000 ft. Then it continued upward to our destination. The way they have it set up makes it pretty hard to back out. Your guide scoots you up to the edge of the doorway. You try to hook your legs under the plane. He pulls your head back onto his shoulder, so you're not looking down. It's entirely up to him when you jump. They do a back flip immediately out of the plane. This is Jeremy's back flip. Notice my photog peeking out the door?

Same instant but from above. My photog jumped just before we did.

Here are several shots of us falling.

What you might not know about skydiving: it's very chilly and rather hard to breathe. Although I might be saying, "Woooahhhh!" I think I was just trying to suck in air. The chilliness is certainly related to the tropospheric lapse rate, but'uh, it was probably cold because spring is chilly in New Zealand.

Krissie falling (below). You can always tell my fall by my hook hands. I didn't know I was doing it.

Jeremy falling (below). You can always tell it's his fall because of the more incredible scenery. This was Gandalf's view from the eagle, basically.

Our photogs had bite-activated cameras. They pull their shoots later, so they get to the ground before you do and can shoot your landing.

This is the chute opening. For those with sensitive stomachs, this is the hardest part. When the chute opens there's a forceful, squishing stop followed by a huge lift. That's what it feels like, anyway.

They prepare you for a butt landing but tell you at the last second if they want you to put your feet down. It's amazing how fast you fall even with an open chute. You're only in the sky a few more minutes after it opens.

Jeremy's yellow. I'm blue.

I landed hard on my left foot, which is why I barely have it on the ground (below). Jeremy's fall was painful because his ears didn't pop the entire way down, and his leg straps were very tight.

All in all, it was terrific fun, and we would both do it again.

Next up, Queenstown.
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