A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Sea Kyaking and Skydiving

AKA my really expensive day!

rain 9 °C

I get to check off another thing from my "thing's I've always wanted to do" list.
I jumped out of a turboprop plane at 13,000ft (4km) yesterday! bloody amazing experiance! impossible to decribe the sensation of it... But my timing was perfect, watched the sun set while falling from the sky!
I jumped Tandem (you can't go alone unless you have training and 16-25 dives or so) my jump instructor had about 11000 jumps under his belt, so I wasn't worried about saftey. I trusted the gear because he trusted the gear and he's strapped to me... there were 2 other tandem jumpers and two singles, so 8 jumpers in our plane. I watched the two singles go and I was the first tandem to go. you're on the front, so in the dicve you can't even see the person you're strapped to unless he reached around to give you signals.
Jumping out of the plane and the first 10 seconds or so are the freakiest... We jumped quick, right after the two singles. you hang out of the plane, not holding onto anything, only secured by your connection to your partner, smile for the camera and it's go time. You drop out of the plane, the first 5 seconds are really unstable, you can barely tell which way is up, two taps on the shoulder means you can uncross your arms and move your head. The first 10 seconds you're accelerating to 200km/h. the feeling of falling like that will never leave me. when I think of it, I feel it all over again! I bloody love it! once you hit terminal velocity it's just falling. the feeling in your stomach settles out...and you experiance the strongest wind you've ever felt, blowing right through your bones, the skin on your face practically rippling as it is being flash frozen by the windchill (it's -15c up there) and a the violent roar of the wind part your ears, which are covered by your dive cap, thank god.
We dropped from above the clouds at, so we fell through layers of them... it was almost totally clear in our area just a few light wispy bits on the way down, but there were lots of cool clouds in the near horizon, all 360 dgrees of it. You could see everything from Nelson to golden bay and the farewell spit! and we were over Moteka! When you're falling, looking straight down is kind of boring (as boring as it could be) because the ground below appears to be stationary, even when you're falling that fast... it's much more interesting to observed your periphery, the layers of clouds going by, what you can see on your horizons... the fact that you can see everything all around you and there is nothing between you and it as you're hurtling towards the earth, etc.
We did about 10 horizontal rotations near the end... like a propeller spinning horizontal. that was really cool. interesting g-forces when you do that!
at about 5000-4500 feet, after 50 seconds of freefall, your dive partner pulls the chute. you hear it pop, it's like a mini explosion from above, you get a good yank on your many, many pointed harness (the decelleration is not as jarring as I had imagined) and then everything is silent. dead silent. you realize that your ears are "popped" really far past... like when you scuba dive, but not painful. I did my ear clearing excersizes (lot's of airplane rides to practice on on this trip) and my hearing came back... I took off my goggles, my instructor loosened some of the harnesses for comfort and I kicked back for a nice floating around. that part was really pleasant. Incredible view (beautiful sunset) and you get to tell your partner what you want to look at and he points out what and where everyhting is, etc.
That part lasts about 5 minutes or so.
On the way down we visited one of the other dive pairs in the sky... flying close enough that we could almost shake hands and then dived into a really tight spin. that was really intense. you fall very quick and almost blackout as the blood gets sucked out of your brain and fills your legs. A nice corkscrew spin and a swoop and then came in for a nice soft landing. beautiful experiance. I would have hopped back in the plane right off the landing pad, had I been able to justify it finacially.. (the plane was already on the ground when we landed so I literally could have hopped right back in)
All in all, best $260nz I have ever spent! and something that a person really has to experiance to beable to understand..
aside from that experiance, in which everything else pales in comparison... hahah I had a really cool last couple of days.
I took a shuttlebus out of Nelson to Marahau at the end of the road, beginning of the trails in Abel Tasman national park. Really different there than I imagined... it's renound for it's golden beaches. The tides go out an incredible distance.. it's two different places, at high tide and at low tide as the low tide receeds 200-300m to reveal a scaping sand plane. I stayed at a backpackers called "The Barn" which was really cool. I reccomend it. 8 bunks in a sort of giant bunkbed arrangement (and twin and double rooms upstairs) Stained glass windows, skylights and fireplace, all in a log cabin style structure. really cool. Met some really nice people there, and learned an Israeli card game... I know how to say the name, but not spell it. fun game though.
In the morning I hastily booked a last minute Kayak trip.. which I found out was a guided tour in two person kayaks, which turned out to be alright. 4 of us including the guide, who was actually a really cool Kiwi dude. kyaked down a river inlet to the sea, which was cool because the bottom of the river was salt water with a skim of fresh water on top. you could see the level by leaves floating on the salt water below the fresh layer (I actually taught the guide that) then out into the calm waters of the bay. Explored the coastline, saw some geological features... broken apple, Elvis's head, etc, kyaked around an island and into a cave (the cave bit was really cool) stopped for lunch on a beach and what have you. Was pretty cool.. but I would have rather got myself a single kayak and wandered about on my own...that, and not pay $75 for a 5 hour excursion.
The skydive outfit piced me up in Marahau and dropped me in Nelson, saving me $17 on a shuttle bus fair (hitchin is not an option when you have to catch a flight in the morning) so was convienient.. but yeah between $260 for the skydive, $75 for kyaking, $20 for a hostel bed back at the Palace and $16 for a case of beer to celebrate... it made for an expensive day. Luckily free food found it's way to me. everywhere along the way.
Shipped home my camping gear, and warm weather gear, and everything else I didn't need in Thailand (13kg, $170nz to send, yikes!) it's great to have a nice light pack for a change!
Flew from Nelson to Christchurch today. It's miserably rainy here right now. I fly out in the morning to Thailand via Auckland and Hong Kong.I'm stupidly excited about that! I can't wait to see Asia!
ok. I'm going to go and give Jamie from Vipassana a ring and find some food. think there is a 5 dollar thai place nearby... but I'll be eating lots of thai soon!
I can tell already I'm going to miss the kiwi accent. I love the way they talk. I'll be back. for sure.
ok. love you all and next update will be from thailand!

Posted by fenderson 18:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

A series of small miracles...

I'm now in Nelson, N.Z. (strikingly similar to Nelson B.C.)

overcast 14 °C

this last few days has been reallllly eventful. I figured I should write an entry before I forget everything that has happened...
The last entry I wrote from Wanaka, down south... I'm on the opposite end of the south island of New Zealand now... up north!
From Wanaka I walked a few km out of town, after booking a doctors appointment for my leg, figuring out that my insurance policy wouldn't cover it and deciding it wasn't worth the wait (it is healing now... much less painful most of the time)
anyhow... I walked to "Puzzling world" I'd love to take the kids there... it was really fun. payed $10 entry to do a 3D walk around maze... the best I have ever seen, and to go through the illusion rooms...I haven't done anythign like that in a long time. so it was really fun. definetly worth while.
from there I proceeded to hitch toward the west coast... first ride was really quick. electrical van drove me to the next town over then hooked a ride with a guy that claimed he was Bill clinton's and John Travolta's chef... no doubt in my mind that he was... he forgot some files at a restaurant about 80km up the road... drove like hell to get there and dropped me off near a little hamlet right near dark as the rain was beggining to come down. I hitched for over an hour, right into the darkness. there were all of 4 cars. I was just scoping out a place to camp after the last car went by as a vehical teavelling in the opposite direction passed, slowed, turned around and pulled up. In the car was a young couple... They said they saw me, knew that there was no traffic and that it was raining and stopped a ways up the road to make room. they also asked if I didn't mind sitting in the back with their pet rats! I threw my stuff in the hatch and hopped in. they were headed to fox glacier... a good ways up the west coast.. they were also running a buisness very similar to the one I want to set up when I get home... making a product and marketing it. They were actually making their rounds with their customers... and yeah.. so we drove into the night, talking buisness, me hanging out with the rats in the back seat...
When we got to Fox glacier we put ourselves up at a backpackers and grabbed some beers... talked half the night way about everyhting under the sun. really wonderful people. I wish them all the best in their buisness ventures and in their lives together. beautiful souls, both of them...
We travelled together the next day aswell... all the way up to Nelson, at the top of the south island, stopping along the way for them to check up with thier customers and to their marketing thing. great adventures...
found this really cool hostel in Nelson... some guy chased us down as we were backing out the car.. promised us free breakfast and a fgood deal... so we figured we'd check it out. The guy was Dave.. the runs "the Palace" if you ever find yourself in Nelson, check this place out.. stay a while. it's a group of buildings over 100 years old... wood paneled ceilings, chandeliers... vines and palms all grown together in the yrds.. spa and really rad decor. And the type of people than hang out there are definetly on my page... really odd people... spiritual seekers and such. great times...
I'm flying down to christchurch day after tomarrow... really dumb of me but I booked a ticket to Auckland from christchurch and now I'm in Nelson... I can't cancel the ticket so I have to fly to christchurch now and then back up to Auckland.... cheap flight, only $93NZ, a bus is $70 and takes 8.5 hours.. so I figured just take a 45 minute plane ride... ahaha and besides I'm already spending way too much money, so what's another $100.
anyhow... making some plans.. go out to Able tasman maybe? jump out of an airplane maybe?
I'll figure it out...
Happy mothers day mom!
and I love you all.
things are well and I should get a chance to write one more entry here in N.Z. before flying to Thailand on the 15th!

Posted by fenderson 18:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged hitchhiking Comments (2)

South African creationists and sandflies

"the only constant is change"

4 °C

I have had the most bizzare experiances in the last few days..
The ride that picked me up after a couple of hours wait coming out of Te Anau was a crazy kiwi couple that drove 170km/h til the highway split and we went separate ways. good fun. next ride was a cool kiwi guy, lives in Denmark and NZ. follows the good weather. a musician. hooked up right to the nose. buddies with AJ hackett and all them. yeah. he drove me back to Queeenstown, where I waited for the rest of the bloody day.
I've got to tell you something...
I am back on track.
you know how I can tell? the universe is responding to my requests again... now that I am finished resisting it. resisting what is.
I've known for a long time what I was supposed to do... I was supposed to cut off my hair. every ounce of my being told me to do it... but I resisted. (oh and Dad - uncle Ernie did get through to me. he came to me in a dream and told me to cut off my hair. I did the next morning)
things are back on.
where I was going with thaat all... is that by the evening of that day hitching I was desparate for a ride as it was getting dark... I requested for some nice christians to see my limping down the road and pick me up.... within 10 minutes a guy with two kids on bicycles rides by... stops to talk, offers a place to stay... the conversation is open. I say I want to try to hitch until dark, he says he'll meet me at the bridge later... yaddah yadda... dark comes, I'm at the bridge, he's back and picks me up with his friend and daughter. we go into town and buy a stupid amount of food. they're nice people.
we go back to their place and barbecue enough meat to feed an army, get drunk and hang out. two south african couples (white but born and raised there) 3 kids the same ages of my niece and nephews. I put together that they were christians because they mention curch once within the first 5 minutes of meeting them all, we held hands and said grace at dinner... but it wasn' until we had a few drinks did the bible/creationist convo really begin. my god. these poeple were intense. Creationism is very much like scientology.... we talked the night way and I spent the better half of Today talking to Lea, the mom of the kids... holy shit. I could never buy into it... but it is very fascinating to me... to observe the poeple that do... yeah...
Great meal, wonderful huuuuge home with a spectacular view... biiig bed (sooo nice!) and they bandaged up my knee (my knee is f*%&ed right up) and dropped me off at the highway this afternoon, where I got picked up by the most georgeous chilean girls... my god were they beautiful. sat me between them all cozy like in their campervan and listened to their cultural music. my god. I have to learn the language. good ride, but only going to Cromwell. next ride was an irish couple and a dutch guy. dropped me in Wanaka. I'm staying at the Purple Cow hostel. nice place.
Really amazing how different people react to me without my dreads. cute (normal) girls smiling at me and saying hi. I can talk easily with the kind of people I normally despise because they wont look me in the eye...
mainly... people aren't afraid of me... or intimidated or whatever it was.... really interesting to me.
that an it's great to feel my head. I still haven't shaved my head... just wearing the fuzzy shag that is my noraml hair... all different length. I like it.
So yeah. plan is... headed up the west coast and then toward christchurch... might take the train from greymouth or somthing. see what transpires. have about a week to do it. and I am planning on shipping most of my shit home before heading to thailand. far too much to carry needlessly in asia. gonn cost me a small fortune to do so though. send it by sea or something.
ok. I'm alive... been bitten right up by sandflies and can barely walk without my walking stick... but I'm still kickin!

Posted by fenderson 23:17 Archived in New Zealand Tagged hitchhiking Comments (3)

New begginings

a loop in the lifeline of the handprint of god

storm 6 °C

I'm back and I'm alive!
just spent an hour in the hostel hottub!
I didn't do the milford track... there was torrential downpour in the forcast for my day of ascent... so I chose the keppler track. Total distance walked in the past 4 days, over 70km. 1200m vertical (3600 feet for all you feet and inches people)
Unbelivable trek. Only downside was that my knee was acting up.. I forget how I injured it but it was a long time ago... crops up every now and then.... It started half way through the first day, on my ascent and remained very painful throughout the entire trek. I toyed with the idea of turning back after the first night... but decided to proceed with determination. I didn't climb a mountian to go back down the same way I came.... so I walked back down to the treeline and cut myself a walking stick.. and ventured on. really glad I did. hobbled on like an old man for the remaining 55km.
Spent the second day above the treeline, in the snow, wind and rain. MY GOD. no person on earth could have chosen a better colour sceme for a landscape! (don't worry, I took shitloads of pictures) I took the side trips to two mountain summits along the way and decended on day two. spent the last couple of days in the bush. Stayed in the huts along the way. ($10 a night, down from $40 in the high season) There were very few other trampers... in one of the huts we moved the matresses into the kitchen and crowed around the woodstove telling stories half trhe night.... at the hut last night I met a german girl on a very similar spiritual path to myself... vipassana meditator/dreamer... conversation started with dreams... I asked what she does, she says primary school teacher, I resopond by telling her that I was a priomary school teacher in my dreams the night before... which I was... symbolic of new begginings... probably a result of my cutting off of my dreadlocks the day earlier! ahahha yeah. I have no hair. well almost no hair. it's about an inch long or so. really intense experiance. I cut them off naked in the forest (getting too personal here?) on an island where a river splits in two, (a loop in the lifeline of the handprint of god) I cut them off with a pocket knife. been cutting them off every now and then and leaving them in places that were special to me... top of mountains... on the north island... gave one to chrysi.... yeah...
I feel really good about it. soooo nice to beable to feel my head! and to shower and not feel like a drowned rat afterward!!! and people respond to me much differently. really bizzare how much changes when you change a hairsyle... altough it has been 4 or 5 years.... anyway...
ok. time is running out! check my pictures section if you haven't already... check the last message or the one before for the link. I'll post more pics when I find a place that isn't $1 for every 10minutes....
I've got to go.
off back to queenstown toamrrow... then north.,
fly out of christchurch on the 15th.
love you all. gtg

Posted by fenderson 02:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)


Adrenaline junky Capital of New Zealand

sunny 8 °C

Hangin out in queenstown. Bought a last minute flight. Queenstown is very beautiful but it's cold. 10-12 degrees here for a high today, near freezing at night and it's getting cooler in the next couple of days.
ok. this keyboard has a few buttons not working so well... so try to look past it.
Went out the other night and partied it up good and hard with a British fellow named Kieran (british backpackers everyhwere!) and a cute german girl, Karen. that was loads of fun... been a while since I've done that...
Still have not indulged in any Adrenaline sports... here is THE place to do it thought 4 or 5 bungee jumps here, sky dive, fly by wire, canyon swing, speed boats, white water rafting you name it, it's here and it's 3 times more expensive than you thought it would be.
My budget is dead broke right now. I have money enough to live modestly and travel by way of the thumb... anythng else is going to hve to go on my credit card.... That is alright as I am not in the jump-off-something-really-high kind of spirit right now... I would much rather be alone in pristine nature. soooo... I think I am going to head out to do the milford Track... one of the best in the world and I think I can get out there and back (couple of boats and t least 5 hours on the bus from Te Anau) for $150 or so. and the season is past by a few days so I wont have to book it a year in advance. just have to pick up some gear.... we'll see how it works out.
so... if you don't hear from me for more than one week - that is where I am... no wories, as I will surely have to register before I do the track, so the D.O.C. will know where I am.
a little more than 2 weeks and I'll be in thailand. warm. cheap.
ok. time is up. will write soon.
love you all.
NEW ZEALAND PHOTOS!https://www.travellerspoint.com/gallery/users/fenderson/

Posted by fenderson 20:41 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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