Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Days 17-18: Franz Josef to Hari Hari

We had originally planned to spend 4 days in Franz Josef doing a fundraiser, but when we got into town, we realized that it was pretty touristy, and unless we were offering tours through the glaciers, we probably wouldn't be getting many donations there, so we just decided to enjoy Franz and move the fundraiser to Hokitika, where there are more locals. 

The plane we jumped out of!
We had our first WWOOFing experience in Franz, staying at the Rainforest Retreat, so we had to do 5 hours of housekeeping to pay for our accommodation.  So after that was finished, we were pleased to see that the sun came out, and we decided to go for a skydive, since we heard that it was the number 2 place to skydive in the world, just under Mt. Everest, so we figured we should take the opportunity when it comes! 

It was both of our first times skydiving.  We were glad that we did it so spur of the moment, because once we decided to do it, we were totally freaked out right until about 3 hours after it was over!  My jumping tandem partner was a tiny little girl who comforted me by telling me she had done over 8000 jumps.  But as she was pushing my limbs out of the plane and I had nothing to hold onto, she was not exactly my favorite person...well, until the parachute opened and we spent the longest time in the air because we were so light, we could float down really slowly.  Afterwards, we were feeling really shaky and uneasy but high with excitement, constantly re-living the moment of falling out of the plane!  What an amazing feeling!  After the skydive and a great feed at the Rainforest Retreat, we went to the Franz Josef Hot Pools, where we calmed ourselves down, relaxed and eased our sore muscles.  It was a perfect end to an incredible day. 
The Hot Pools!

The next morning, I was lucky enough to meet up with Frankie, a girl I met at Kapas Island in Malaysia, who was a total inspiration, with loads of stories of her bike trip a few years back in England and Ireland!  She was an angel, knowing exactly what we needed, and gave us a bag of candies to keep us going :)  And it was so nice to see a familiar face and to meet her awesome friend Jeff!

With Frankie and Jeff
It may have been the skydive, the hot pools, the excitement of seeing Frankie, or the 2 coffees we had together, but something made that ride our best one yet!  We were flying!  The road seemed easy, the uphills seemed like downhills, and we climbed over Mount Hercules, which we had heard about weeks ago, as one of the hardest hills, and we didn't even have to walk any of it! 

Hari Hari Motor Inn
We stopped off at the Hari Hari Motor Inn for the night, where the owner Penny met with us, shared biking stories with us, and gave us an amazing dinner and forced us to shower and socialize with her staff :)  After some wins and some losses at pool and darts, we headed off to bed, happy to have met another great bunch of people and shared another great night together with them!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why, but I burst into tears when I just read you jumped out of a plane! Maybe it's because you didn't go splat! Be still my heart! Love you! Mom


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