After my nap I headed—still groggy—slightly north of town to the rushing torrent of Huka Falls.

It was an absolutely astonishing volume of water crashing through the gorge it had carved for itself – and a beautiful blue-green color.

hey, you'd look peaked too if you'd slept in one hour cycles in a van all night.

Taupo, a relatively normal (not just tourist pandering) town, is situated on the lake of the same name, which is an ENORMOUS, water filled volcanic crater covering an area about the size of Singapore. It’s known for being hella cold, offering amazing trout fishing, and the view in the background of Mount Doom (aka Mount Ngauruhoe). Taupo likes also to bill itself as the sky diving capital of the world – they say that more dives occur here each year than anywhere else on the planet.

Well – you know what they say about ‘when in Rome…’

Yes, I am scared of flying, and yes, I’m scared of of heights, but for whatever reason I have come pretty close twice now to committing to jumping out of the proverbial ‘perfectly good airplane’, and by god, I could hardly think of a more scenic place to do it, so…

getting suited up

watching others go first - dunno how they divided us, but I was in the last group to jump.

my tandem diver, Rodney

finally - getting ready to load onto the plane

this was the 2nd most terrifying bit - sitting on the ledge, legs dangling over the edge, ready to hurl ourselves out. egads.

annnnnd - free fall. it was really hard to breathe; we were falling at speeds of about 200 kph.

so, the MOST terrifying part was the first seconds of the jump - letting loose from the plane, and then just --- plummeting. but once I was pretty sure I was NOT going to have a heart attack, the next thing I noticed was 'HOLY JEEZ - lookit the view!'

this was where I really started to enjoy myself - when the chute opened ("Not gonna die today: check") and we slowed down and I could breathe and just... marvel away. kewl.

and safely on the ground again! phew.