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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Day 283-284: “And I'm freeeee, free-falling”

The day spent bumming around the hostel in Fox Glacier had worked; now the sun was out and we were ready to see the glacier itself. Conveniently it's only 5km out of town and easily accessible by road so we drove along and did a few of the short walks that showcase the ever-retreating Fox Glacier itself from a few different angles.

For obvious safety reasons, you can't just go up to a glacier and have a look around and so marked paths keep everyone but the guided tour groups quite far away. It was still spectacular though – and to see the valleys and river beds that it had carved through solid rock in the glory days of the last ice age was pretty impressive too.

Onwards we drove to a bigger and (arguably) better glacier just up the road at Franz Josef; the town is certainly more lively and it holds the prestigious (?) title of the worlds 2nd best site for sky diving. I never know if being certified 2nd best at something is actually a this case it's second place to sky diving at Mount Everest, and anything that's second to Earth's highest peak can't be too shoddy I guess. But I digress; Rob had been talking-up sky diving at Franz Josef for the best part of this trip and – at least for the first two minutes of our time in the sky dive shop – I was still convinced that because I'd sky dived in Australia before, I wouldn't need to this time.

It didn't last and here, after a mornings will-we-won't-we with the clouds and the wind speed we made it up in the tiny plane and jumped out at 16,000 feet...

Rob's video has been miraculously saved from the depths of the interweb, so here it is in all its extremely-nervous-but-trying-to-stay-cool glory:

Kat's fear and flapping cheeks are available for viewing here:

And it was absolutely amazing! The views in the plane going up were worth it alone – we could see see Mount Cook and Mount Tasman (2 highest peaks in NZ) poke out over the clouds, and the Franz Josef Glacier with it's network of cement-coloured rivers reaching to the sea. It was magnificent. It was breath-taking at 4,00 feet and then we just kept. on. rising, until it was eventually time to swing our legs over the edge of a flying aircraft and go for it.

Nothing can really describe the exact feeling of falling at terminal velocity – a cool 200km/hr – but I think the look on our faces before, during and after sort of capture it...

Luck has really been on our side throughout this trip; it seems that we always somehow manage to time stuff like this to perfection and as we watched our vidoes back and dark clouds rolled in we knew we'd had the best jump of the day and one of the best experiences of this whole crazy year.

And maybe – just maybe – for the faint of heart, this'll be the last time we insist on showing you footage of Team 365 falling from massive heights :)


  1. Trish says:

    Well you said I'd like this one - and yup, it's amazing! Has Rob's video really been lost?? If so, that's tragic!! Mum xxx

  2. I too want to see Rob's flappy cheeks. How i miss those cheeks...

  3. can't believe rob's video has gone missing he'll have to do it again!!!! very fetching hat Kat! not for the fainthearted this skydiving lark - I think I'll give it a miss but well done you two!!!

  4. fear not! the video has made it's glorious comeback and is now in the blog...flappy cheeks and all :)

  5. You are total lunatics, the pair of you. I swear my blood pressure just rose from WATCHING alone. Love Rob's breathing. I would be doing the very same (except I wouldn't, because I'd have hyperventilated on the ground, obvs)

  6. Trish says

    Soooooo relieved your video was traced RobBob. Your Dad is drooling, and I wish I had the guts to do it!

    Mum & Dad xxx