Tuesday, March 29, 2005



I have good news to report—as of this very second and this writing, I am still alive. This is despite my daredevil adventure for four hours this morning. It seems impossible or a least absurd to travel all the way to Queenstown, NZ and not go to Milford Sound. I don’t mind being a nut but I certainly don’t want to be labeled as crazy so even before we picked up the luggage and rental car at the Q’town airport, we were meeting with the Milford Sound fly-in, cruise-around, fly-out staff. Day one flights were already booked and as it turned out our luck didn’t improve as day two weather conditions kept all fights grounded. Our last and final chance was on day three and expecting a no-go 7:10 AM inbound call, the prompt caller said we will pick you up by 7:20 AM. In hindsight, I like this tactic as it gave us no time to think, process or second-guess the day-one adventure enthusiasm or decision-making. In a flurry we were jamming our suitcases and running around getting ready for simultaneous hotel checkout and taxi pick-up. At the airport we were put into a group with orange boarding pass people—these orange pass people were all from Australia and very nice. The pilot instructed us to board with big people towards the front with the smallest of our group in the back. I rushed to the back but was redirected to the middle. I liked our pilot, Rob, from the moment we all met him. Young—but not too young, handsome, professional and nice to all of us selected to be orange pass people on his plane. When we were departing I noticed the yellow boarding pass people were boarding a twin-engine plane—that’s when I noticed we only had one engine. This is also when I started to get religious and began to think WWBGD…”What Would Bob G. Do?” He knows everything about planes and I was wondering—a bit too late—would he be on this kind of craft? As it turns out, the take off was great; I felt as if we were floating, the sights from the plane were so beautiful and so close. My nerves were working me over as they were trying hard to get the best of me, trying to stop me from enjoying the splendor and fantastic mountain scenery, trying to get my mind to give in and waste time worrying—what if? What if our little single engine starts to have “issues”? What if a gust of wind moves us an inch off course and we kiss the side of these mountains? What if, as they say here, the weather changes in a snap from glorious to crap? Excreta, excreta.

I hate to write this as I hated even more that I was starting to think…maybe Dan Quayle was right when he said something like…”it’s terrible to have a mind when it’s wasted”. There I was with so much to enjoy but my mind was in overdrive thinking of all the scary possibilities and even all the people that had been in planes nicer than this one and had not been too lucky--JFK, JR, Payne Stewart, The Big Bopper (who is the bog bopper?…I don’t even know, but I was thinking he died in a plane crash), Leonard Skynard—who is not even a person but a fake name for a bad band that I know little to nothing about. Anyway, despite these initial moments of mind overtaking brain matter fear—I pulled myself together and settled in to absolutely enjoy this incredible trip that was breathtaking, beautiful and worth any small amount of trepidation. And really—don’t you agree, its more frightful to be thinking about Dan Quayle than the impact of any small plane turbulence or near death experience?

Here are the pictures to, in and from the Milford Sound…enjoy and make this is a must see when planning your trip to NZ. SORRY...I WILL POST THESE AND OTHER PICTURES AS SOON AS I CAN! CHEERS!


Post a Comment

<< Home