Sunday, March 23, 2008

We were up and off to Milford Sound.

It was pouring rain all day in 1981 when the four of us took a boat tour of Milford Sound. It caused thousands of waterfalls to cascade down the mountains into the valleys and the sound.

A sound is built by a rive.r Milford Sound was built by glaciers so technically it is not a sound but a fiord.

We had a box lunch on the boat. The weather was beautiful but whether it is perfect is up to interpretation. In the end, I prefer the rain and the waterfalls but everyone on the tour was thrilled with the weather.

Last time I was anxious and worried during the cruise. This time I was not.

To what do I attribute this:
1. I'm older and wiser.
2. My children are not with me. I no longer have to worry about them drowning.
3. Prozac

Milford Sound is very deep and the mountains walls are steep so the water is deep up to the edge. The boat goes very close to the walls and that bothered me last time. It must be safe though. The Sound is narrow but it is deep enough that the Queen Elizabeth II used to visit and sail into it.

Dolphins like to get in front of the boats because they catch a free ride. Very beautiful.

After the boat trip it was back on the bus and we drove over to Queenstown.

Our beautiful hotel is the Millennium and we will be here three nights.

This morning I ate breakfast and then we started on our trip. First to Arrowtown, then a winery, and then to the bungee jumping site.

My resolve never wavered. I knew I would jump. I wasn't really scared; I just wanted to get it over with.

First they weighed me and marked my weight in red on the back of my hand. How humiliating. I pulled my sleeve over it. I also had to carry a card that plainly showed both my weight and my age. Just great.

Then out on the bridge to wait our turns. Three other men from our tour group chose to jump.

The first man, about my age, got wet after the jump as they were getting him in the raft.

They ask before the jump is you want to go in the water, touch the water, or no water.

The next man, young, said he wanted to touch the water. He went in head first to water higher than his waist. He had a sweatshirt around his waist that came off in the water. He was able to grab it and people said it looked as if he were doing his laundry in the river.

Then it was my turn.

I told them I did not want to touch the water. Previously I had been given and put on a harness, like a rappelling harness, that fit around my waist with two loops around my thighs.

I sat on the deck and the bungee guy wrapped a folded beach towel around my ankles. Then he wrapped a webstrap around the towels between my legs. The straps were then hooked onto the bungee cord in two places and then the harness was also hooked onto the cord.

One woman on my tour wanted to do the jump but she wanted them to push her. Our guide said they were not allowed to push jumpers.

I had a hard time moving to the jump platform even though it was only about two feet. My feet were so bound that I could hardly move my feet.

At the platform with my toes over the edge, they counted three-two-one, go. And then the guy pushed me! A nudge, I don't think so. I was ready to jump but instead the push meant I was falling feet first.

I turned over into a swan dive. I was falling head first and then.........it was so much fun. I absolutely loved it. I was sorry when the jerk came at the bottom. I was bobbing up and down, and unfortunately, spinning round and round.

When that stopped, the raft was paddled out into the river and they stuck a pole up to me. I grabbed it and they pulled me into the boat where they removed the paraphernalia and let me off at the edge of the river.

If you jump 14 stories, you then have to walk up 14 stories through switchbacks to the top of the gorge.

I was so drunk from the spinning that I was staggering from one side of the trail to another. I was afraid I was going to fall into the river but I suppose because of the adrenaline, I never realized I could stop. I had to work at it to even keep from falling down.

About halfway up, I came upon a bench. I got enough of my brains to working to realize I needed to clear my head. I only sat a minute or so.

Soon the trail had a handrail and I held onto that to keep my balance.

At the top it was high fives all around.

I wish I could do it again. I considered doing it again another day but it is just too expensive. I couldn't justify it.

If I did it again, I would swan dive myself and have that wonderful feeling longer. Also I would ask to touch the water.

Back on the bus we went to the jetboats on the Shotover river.

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