Yesterday was a day that brought the weirdest of feelings. First of all the impulse of booking the sky dive and then the tension and knots in getting there and being sent back. Then the waiting and the weather disimproving again and its ultimate postponement. So there was nothing else to numb the disappointment that to go for... yes you guessed it... wine tasting.. this of course to add to the green cider hangover from the night before. Why not? The merry crew of three (Julia Alice and me fein) took off at 2 and knew we would have to be back for 6 to meet up for the movie in the unique Wanaka Cinema..We thought it wise to have very little time there
We were told the hike to Ribbon Vineyard would take two hours but it only took one...oh oh more time there to taste more,..maybe it was the draw of the free drink at the other end that reduced the transit time. The winery was based in most fantastic location ever....half way up a hill overlooking Lake Wanaka and the town on the other side. The wind was fairly whipping it around the place so I think in retrospect it was the best decision not to skydive ... otherwise I could have got a free flight home strapped to some hulky instructor!!
Ribbon is a unique in that the location is supreme. However it also was like an out door sculptor gallery with some of the most unusual pieces which completely complimented the surrounding scenery. You leave the shore line to walk up the hill but that only took about 10 mins.
Once inside, we were greeted by a lovely French girl who gave us samples of 7 different types of wines. Alice was the one who seemed to know the most about the whole art of tasting where as I am crap at it.. If there ws a hint of alcohol then I was satisfied! As Ro Ro would say.. that one would suck the alcohol out of a deodourant stick!
We had been advised that the cheese plate would be a good option.. I was starving as the impending skydive had put me off eating most of the day in case I puked on the instructor plummeting my way back down to terra firma!!
We ordered the cheese plate with two relishes and 4 types of cheese and two packets of crackers but of course had to add a bottle of Gewuerztraminer ( Julias spelling!) to help in the digestion process. So my definition of blitz is scoffing my gob and skulling back lovely chilled vino, excellent company and a magnificent backdrop. Added to that, some fools were getting hitched by the lake shore and having their reception in the winery building. What a place to make a committment or the biggest financial mistake of your life.... ok I retract the last cynical comment. The couple looked very happy... we will see how long it lasts!.. Wrists duly slapped again!
Great evening at the cinema watching the "Fighter" with all the crew. Carmen and James came back from their hike on Ishethe Mountain.. one to add to the list along with Mount Roy...
Wanaka Cinema is unique.. its filled with sofas a convertible VW Beetle and a real laid back atmosphere. They serve drink and freshly baked biscuits and also booze and pizzas. My stomach was a big delicate from the wodges of cheese earlier. It really was not a good idea to mix the cheeses and allow the contents to be sloshed around on a based of wine.
Movie was really good. Back to the backpackers for a a chat, coffee and a few games of cards. They off to the leaba in the dorm with three others..One narky guy kept tutting as I was trying to get into bed and I could not have been quieter... honestly.. Now he would have had reason to tut the night before alright after my bucketfull of green tinted cider!
Sleep again was bit strange. One of my roomies got in at 4 am and he made loads of bloody noise and there was no tutting for him. My dreams were a bit strange as well.. filled with lots of fear and dread of jumping out and no parachute and that sort of scenario!
Woke and showered and had a good brekkie. The others were winding us up really terribly including young Andrew who was saying.. "well YOU did sign up for it and imagine paying that much to terrify the life outta yourself" said with a smug smirk the other comments like...."no its not like the anticipation of the time before an exam.. this is different!" or finally... " the wind looks as if its building up..maybe it will be postponed for another few days" He was bloody right it was different....stomach was doing somersaults and I was paling by the nanosecond. Alan collected us at the appointed time and we trundled our way to the airport. I cannot over state the type of day this has been...... incredibly sunny and cloudless sky and the blueist of skies.
I would recommend Skidive Wanaka to anyone.. the staff were incredible, in the way they explained and more importantly reassured you re everything. Kitted up and met two sets of other clueless Irish fools who also were paying for the pleasure... one lot in our plane and a couple who were on the flight ahead of us.
I was strapped to Alex... a brazilian who was a big butch brawny guy... He was either gonna be a hero by getting me down safely or the one to squash me to pulp if we landed badly. I was last on the plane and so therefore gonna be the first out. .... Yikes!!!!!!
The scenery was incredible with snow capped mountains and the most incredible reflections off the lakes and waterways below.... I had to sit on Alex lap while he attached us together and then put on the Oxygen mask as we rose higher. Eduardo the cam man was taking pics and stills the whole way so I will def bore everyone with a night of showing this event. We hit 15000 feet and Edwardo grins .. gives the thums up and disappears out the door. The gale force siberian wind hits ya and you are so bloody delighted that you had put on the windproof coat just prior to leaving the airport.
What can I say? The odd thing is that the worst part for me was not the leaving go of the plane..... no it was when we turned completely up side down and you see the sky flying away while zooming down backwards. Eduardo appears periodically waving and smiling and basically being a total nusiance.. however the cost included him getting every reaction on cam and stills! All I can say is INCREDIBLE!!!! When the parachute opened.. thank you lord Jesus... we were hoiked back up and then everything goes really silent. This mass expanse of green and sun and water below while you glide down slowly was just truely amazing.Eduardo in the meantime has completely disappeared to get to the ground first to take more shots on landing. Before going he is flying lying on his back filming me above him. I think at that stage I was more concerned that he would not pull his chute than dealing with my ears which completely blocked up and were bloody sore. The left one still is not unblocked 4 hours later and no amount of holding my nose and chewing and awakard face contortions is improving the situation!!!!!!
Landing was so easy and we just glided to a stop on my arse on the ground. Pure elation and adrenalin at getting down safely and getting over a phobia.. albeit an expensive cure for same.
Julia and myself were hugging each other like maniacs on the field whooping laughing and dancing around hysterically... Jeez but this was the weirdest feeling ever...basically it was the feeling of being still ALIVE after seeing the most incredible part of the world below us and plummeting towards same and most importantly SURVIVING.. I will let ye know the progress of the ear drum later. Alex ( the most unlikely Brazilian ever) in the meantime is probably in a home for the bewildered and saying to himself... "NEVER again will I attach myself to a balding middle aged freak!" When you get back inside you have the pleaseure of reviewing the DVD and all I will say is that I neaver realised I was so jowly and do I EVER keep my mouth closed???
But in conclusion all I was saying was "Happy Brithday to me!"