New Zealand Road Trip: Under, Over (Caves & Skydiving)

On Saturday, we drove out to The Waitomo Caves to see some glow worms. However, we were really early for our appointment, so we met up with Phil (my Head of School) (kinda), his wife Raema, and his family, who live near the caves! We shared breakfast at a place called The Thirsty Weta, the only cafe/ bar that was open in the small town.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a weta?”
Essentially, a weta is like a cross of a cockroach and a grasshopper. It has hind legs that propel it forward, it sticks onto walls, and it lives in caves (like those that we were about to go into later.) (I saw two.)

The night before our cave adventure, my fellow travelers told me that we were signed up for the intense expedition, which involved zip lining across the cave and jumping into deep, dark abysses. I don’t know if this tour even exists, but my travel buddies were so confident that I started freaking out that we actually were going to be going on some sort of cave-zip-line-abyss-leaping trip that I started to get nervous.

It turns out, we actually were signed up for a perfectly “normal” caving experience. This entailed 5mm thick wetsuits to protect us from the chill of the underwater streams and large inner tubes (not unlike the ones taken from tractor tires (like the ones at camp)). We climbed down into a cavern, waded through a stream to go deeper into the cave, hopped backwards down two different waterfalls (which were only about 3 feet high) and floated down the river while staring up at the glow worms that lined the cave ceiling. (Fun fact: glow worms are actually maggots with bioluminescent poop!)

The tour was a blast– not very scary (so long as you don’t mind caves and rivers) and not difficult at all. No fear necessary.

That wasn’t the case, however, for the next day.
In celebration of Teresa’s birthday, as well as being in the skydive capital of the world, we jumped out of a plane.

Yes. Me. I jumped out of a plane.
From 15,000 feet.
A 1 minute free fall.
It was amazing.
(And terrifying.)

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My dive master (the guy behind me who was in charge of the jump) was an Austrian who had been diving for 23 years, and had logged more that 23,000 jumps.

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There was a photographer who jumped with us, but his camera malfunctioned and so I only go a few shots of the jump. Regardless, those photos are on a USB, and since I only travel with an iPad, I took some photos of the photos so I could post them before I get back to Jakarta.

Days traveled: 9
Days remaining: 11

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