Could you pass the Brodifacoum?

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Air Tahiti Nui flight finally took off late on Saturday morning and landed in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.  I liked the New Zealanders' approach to customs with an amnesty bin in which you could dump anything that you didn't want to bring into the country.  I'm not sure if they take plutonium pellets or ampules of sarin and have no intention of finding out.  Although wearing my hiking boots, I'd actually done the jeep safari in Tahiti wearing my sandals and declared these as a potential bio-hazard.  The sandals were taken away, disinfected and returned in a plastic bag by a polite and friendly customs official. 

Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning were spent at the University of Auckland meeting some new people and catching up with Tony, an old friend and colleague from my days in Pharma who joined us on the Monday afternoon.  Tony escaped just before me and emigrated to New Zealand having never even visited the country beforehand.

I thought that it'd be fun to get out onto the water and took a day trip to Rangitoto Island which at half a millennium is Auckland's newest volcano.  It was overcast but at least not raining and the water transport around Auckland is very well organised.

Since I wasn't going on the motorised tour there was just time to get up to the crater and back to the jetty. One of the first things I noticed was a sign warning of tasty nibbles laced with Brodifacoum.  Presumably the rats and possums haven't learned to read yet.        

Something you learn very quickly in New Zealand is that opportunities to exploit the adrenaline-inducing characteristics of gravity are rarely squandered.  I signed up for the Sky Tower package which consist of a walk around the tower and a jump off it.  The walk was first and I donned an orange SkyWalk suit (don't try hitching in the US wearing one of these).  The track is circular (which makes it difficult to know exactly how far round you've gone) and it was just me and the guide.  In the pic you can see Rangitoto behind my shoulders. 

Then it was a quick change into the blue SkyJump suit.  I went up on the lift with a guy from Brasil called Arthur and he was a bit nervous so I jumped first.  I actually wasn't too worried becasue I'd done a (big) bungy jump a few years ago and figured that there was no way that the SkyJump could be as dreadful.  You're tethered with a steel cable which is rigged so friction prevents you from falling too fast.  The routine is that they drop you and then stop you for a photo just below the launch platform before releasing you again.   You can see the landing area in the pic by my right knee and I can confirm that it looks tiny from the launch platform.   It was quiet day at Sky Tower so they offered another jump for free which both Arthur and I accepted.  This time he jumped first.   

You get free admission to the Sky Tower observation deck after the jump.  I went up there to get some pics since you can't take your own camera on either the SkyWalk or SkyJump (it might hurt if you dropped it on somebody). 

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Cat on

Awesome! I've always wanted to try something like sky walking and bungy jumping. Maybe later in the year, when I am braver :D

peter.kenny on

The sky walk was actually too high to be be really scary. I think that you need to be more aware of the ground to be properly frightened. Bungy jumps are a lot more terrifying than the jump off the tower. I did a big one (110 metre) back in 1996 off the bridge over the Zambezi Gorge and I'm happy to say that I'll never have to do another!

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