Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bungy Jumping and the Blue Penguin Colony

Yup, today was the big day, the day we went bungy jumping. Now this day didn't turn out in any way that I could have ever imagined. On Friday when we rolled into Queenstown, we booked our jump for Monday morning. The bridge we jumped off was the site of the first commercial bungy and is located confidently on our way out of town.

When we arrived we watched a few other jumpers. You jump into the river (optional water touches later in the day) and I wanted to see how the jumpers get down.

After my fears were reassured, we checked in and got our harnesses on. Next thing I know, I am standing at the edge of the bridge getting ready to jump. Since the harness is at your feet, you pretty much hop and waddle to the edge and then dive or fall off.

And there I go!

The picture above shows exactly where you go, straight down. When you're done swinging, they lower the rope and pull you into a large yellow raft. From there, they take off all your harnesses, reattach them to the bungy and send everything back up (except you of course). Lucky for me, I then got to climb back up about 100 stairs to where the bridge is.

But I did take a second to turn around and watch Jay take his leap!

Once it was all said and done, we both looked at each other and wanted to go again. We had evening plans, but they were flexible. Not wanting to have any regrets, we turned around and headed back to Queenstown to jump again, but this time at the Ledge Bungy.

Now let's back track a few days when we first went up the gondola (above). Sitting up there I thought to myself, I really want to jump, but I knew that we would be going in a matter of days.

Above is what Queenstown looked like when we arrived on top of the gondola Monday... We hoped for the best, but sadly jumped off the ledge into a cloud. The frustrating part: it cleared for the person ahead of us, then got all foggy again as we harnessed up. 'Tis life, I suppose. We contemplated a third jump, but were told that we could literally be jumping in clouds all day because of the weather. I am just glad that we went back for our second jump. I know I would've regretted not doing it.

Since Jay got to fly his stunt and, he let me jump first when it wasn't as cloudy... The view was actually still pretty good from my harness. I am sort of sad that I didn't get a better pose. I dived down instead of diving out like I wanted. Yes, I am becoming a bungy jumping enthusiast... I just loved the feeling!

Above is Jay trying to do the flying squirrel into the cloud. He may not have got the pose spot on, but all his pictures turned out great!

After our two jumps, we said goodbye to Queenstown a second time and sped (adrenalin pushed us around 130k/hr on windy roads) over to Oamaru to see the blue penguin colony. Just before dark, the blue penguins come ashore at the visitors center. The penguins are a protected animal, so sorry no photos were allowed.

We opted for premium seating for an extra $7. If you are ever in Oamaru, pay the extra money for premium seating. The difference in distance from the penguins was amazing. We were literally feet from the creatures as they scurried on shore. The cheap seats were a good 20 feet away and they couldn't see the penguin rafts (groups) come in from the ocean or climb up the beach. we also got to walk through the breeding colony where the babies stay until they're old enough to fish for themselves.

We stood with the conservationist who's job it is to count the penguins as they come ashore. That's no easy feat considering they scurry on shore at 30-50 at a time! After an hour in the cold, all the penguins counted for the evening, we called it a night. It was a very exciting and unplanned day that I know I will remember for a lifetime.