Monday, December 29, 2008

What goes up must come down... one way or the other

I’ve been posting a ridiculous amount in a frantic attempt to bring this whole documentation process up to date. We’ve had just far too many adventures to keep up, and I have a feeling that I’ll be behind until August.

On Monday morning (Dec 22nd), we woke up very excited but also a little nervous. What was on the agenda for today you ask? Luging and… BUNGY JUMPING.

I don’t think I’ve shown you the view from our hostel. Well, here it is:

The “mowed” part in the middle is where the gondola goes through. Both the luging and bungy experiences took place on that mountain.

Goin up the gondola...

Before delving into activities, we took some pictures from the top...

First activity was the luging. From the gondola, we took a chair lift to the top of the mountain where the luge course began.

Even without skis on or snow/ice on the ground, it was still a little awkward getting off the chair lift (but I did make it a leetle more awkward than necessary).

View of the luge course from the top:

The luging company's motto was “Once is never enough”. We went five times, and still wanted more. So technically, the motto should be “Five times is never enough.”

Next on the agenda was the bungy. At this point, nerves were running pretty high. Especially for people named Julie Anne.

I have never had even the least little bit of desire to bungy jump, but I’m in NZ, so I couldn’t NOT go. Isn’t that the first thing people ask when you’ve been to NZ: “Did you bungy jump?” Why yes. Yes I have, thank you for asking.

Erin and I did the jump, and Lowell and Julie Anne tried the swing.

I was first up, but my turn was delayed as the young lady ahead of me refused to jump, but also refused to remove herself from the ledge. The bungy workers encouraged her, but after 15 minutes of running to the edge, coming to a crashing halt, looking over the edge and psyching herself out, the frustrated men running the joint gave her the boot (as in, asked her to leave. They did NOT boot her over the edge. They would’ve been in big trouble if they had (I asked)).

This young woman’s antics could have potentially psyched me out, but instead it just convinced me NOT to look down before jumping. So, after having the harness put on by a guy who broadcasted that it was his first day on the job (not a very bright move), one of the experienced guys re-did the harness (much to my relief) and made me stand on the ledge for this compulsory picture. But trust me you… I did NOT look down.

After that picture was taken, I backed up, the dude counted down from 5, and I ran and launched myself off the edge without thinking twice.

I had a headache for like 4 days afterwards, and I’m pretty sure that my brain is still plastered to the ceiling of my head, but WHAT A THRILL.

I want to do it again… but LONGER.

Here’s my video. I’m not sure what’s up with the noises that were coming out of my mouth. The bungy guys claimed that I sounded like a fire truck. After watching the video, I agree.

Next up was Erin.

She made the same smart decision to hurl herself off the edge without looking down or thinking about it.

Here she goes!

And here’s Erin’s video:

Next it was time for the swingers, and Lowell was up first.

Here's Lowell's video:

Then Julie Anne!

My favourite part of Julie Anne's swing was her hair. So dramatic!

Here's Julie Anne's video:

After her reluctance to participate, Julie Anne ADMITTED that she had fun and was even glad that she did it. It was the most expensive 5 seconds of our young lives, and all that was included other than the jump was a cheapo 2 dollar shirt, but I would say it was worth it!

Following the bungy, we headed further south to Milford Sound. This is arguably the most stunning place on earth. So beautiful, in fact, that Erin vowed to name her first child Milford.

You'll just have to wait to see the sheer beauty that is Milford Sound...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

River Wild

And now to continue our backtracking documentation...

After sleeping like LOGS on Saturday night, we woke up Sunday morning (Dec 21st) eager to begin our extreme sport experiences... jet boating and white water rafting!

The jet boat was CRAZY. And also insanely delightful. My teeth were clenched for the first few minutes because the driver scared the living daylights out of me, but I soon grew to trust his maniac skills. He sped through tiny little crevices and intentionally AIMED for the rocks. Had we been like a foot taller, I swear our heads would've been scraping against the rock wall.

The guide would circle his finger in the air like this to signal a pending 360.

Julie Anne got some mid-360 action documented.

WEEEEEEEE. Here's the view for part of the wild ride:

These jetboats were created by the crazy kiwis. They are flat bottomed and can be used on as little as 3 inches of water. We were basically white water rafting on a speed boat going 80 kms/hour with cliff walls on either side. Very extreme. Very Fun.

Right from our wicked awesome jet boating adventure, we received our white water rafting gear and were herded on to a bus that would take us to our starting point.

The bus drove on a tiny road LITERALLY on the edge of a cliff.

It got a little awkward when it came to passing another large vehicle.

When we arrived at the starting point, we geared up and received instructions. Then we hopped in our raft with our CANADIAN guide and 3 random Swedes.

(Let's just pretend that the Swedish blonde girl in the middle is me.)

We went through some pretty intense rapids, but no one was (unintentionally) thrown from the boat. Lowell and Erin took the opportunity to jump out and swim during the calm parts, but I didn’t feel so inclined because I was wet enough from taking the brunt of every single wave that came our way (which was super fun by the way). Plus, I didn’t know if I could pull myself back in, and the Swede who was in the position to assist me had a dislocated shoulder. Wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for COMPLETELY pulling it out of socket!

Anyhoo, the rafting was very pretty and very fun.

We were EXHAUSTED on Sunday night, and slept like babies even though we downed copious amounts of chocolate directly before bed.

Good thing we slept so well because we continued our crazy extreme sport adventures on Monday. Ba-ba-bummmmm (and that be the nail biting cliff hanger...)