Day 51 – 21 March 2010
What an epic weekend. On Friday morning, James, Mellissa, Jessica, and myself drove in one car and Molly, Jeff, Angel and Joanne rode in another down to Taupo where we went SKYDIVING. We were actually a bit late getting there (somehow Mellissa seriously injured her neck while sleeping) so they rushed us through, made us sign waivers and put us on a plane. Somehow I ended up closest to the back of the plane, meaning: I was going first. As I made small talk with my buddy (by the way awkwardly strapped to him and perched on his lap this entire time) I watched as his altimeter rose and the ground below us dropped away. When we reached 1200 feet he opened the door and told me to dangle my legs out the plane. Ya, sure, no problem. We tumbled out of the plane, maybe even did a few somersaults, but by the time I realized what was going on I was floating, not falling, through clouds at a very high speed. Although I was screaming at the top of my lungs, I couldn’t hear myself at all (I’m sure my friend steve did tho). The free fall went by fast but I did have enough time to realize that my mouth was gaping open and my checks were flapping uncontrollably in the wind. Then all of a sudden I was pulled upright and for a graceful descent (filled with a few spins) down to the ground. I got to watch everyone land with huge smiles on their faces, too stoked to even muster up a ‘yee-haw’. That night we camped at an awesome free campsite in Taupo right next to a river. We stayed up late signing along to Jeff’s guitar as campers next to us loudly expressed their opinions of our vocal skills.
We had planned to do a big day hike the next morning but we heard forecasts of bad weather so we ended up doing a hike just along the river opposite to where we had camped. We hiked to Huka falls and on the way back stopped in a thermal area where we all got in for a swim. We then tried to go to Rotorua to go zorbing but ended up going in the wrong direction for an hour and not making it in time. We headed to Waitomo, where, after hours of looking for a cheap campsite, we just pulled off and set up camp at the start of a trailhead.
The next morning we went on the Labyrinth black water rafting tour. It was awesome. We were instructed to put on a ton of wetsuit gear and then driven to the start of the cave. We walked, climbed and floated on inner tubes through the caves while the guides tried to scare us and make us laugh. There were so many glow worms, or glow maggots I should say, and at one point when we were instructed to try and find our way out without using our headlamps, my eyes adjusted to the dark and the glow worms lit the way. If I had been slightly warmer I could have stayed in there all day. After the tour we got to take hot showers and they fed us tomato soup and bagels. Then we hit the road, made it back to Auckland just in time to get some homework done before I go to sleep. Maybe.