Tuesday, January 29, 2008



This place wouldn't be so hard to handle if it wasn't so blasted ugly all the time ;)

3 nutters

Landing on the Steiger range is a blast.
So, well... we had to get our good mate Regan in on the act.

He was keen.

Here he is getting ready to take off... again.

Here's a shot of Gerardo flying just over the range after we took to the air again.
We land on the spine of the mountain just below him.

This gives a good idea of what we're landing on.

The weather's been so good lately that we just take off and climb back up into the sky over the range.
Crazy fun.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Coronet Peak is the main flying site in Queenstown.
The primary takeoff is 2300ft over the valley floor and 2 miles away.
The landing field is below the next mountain over... the Steiger.
The Steiger is a bit lower (only about 1,000ft) but is directly over the landing field.
Most of the Steiger is covered in a pine forest... except the top.

So the other day, my flatmate Gerardo decides... "hey, let's land on the Steiger".
"Sure, sounds fun"

Hahahaha... something you definitely do not get to do back home (on the east coast).

Me after landing


The view looking down on the landing field.
(the white dot in the middle of the picture is the landing building)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My face feels funny ;)

I'm horrible about going to the dentist. So bad I can't remember the last time I went (well over 10 years ago) But then, I felt my back tooth wasn't as smooth as I figured it should be. Time to go I guess... for the first time, I needed a filling.

Strange process really. Painless (doc says their needles have gotten much better) and quick... 10 minutes. I was expecting so much more pain and time.

The doc said the same thing I've heard any time I've gone to the dentist...
"you had floride in your water"
First thing out of their mouth... every time.
They used to ask if I had... now they just comment on it.
They talk about how they see it all the time... city kids with floride vs country kids without and city kids where they've stopped florinating the water.

And the tooth with the cavity? A wisdom tooth. Came in when I was 25... it never saw floride.

I don't know any different.
From talking to the dentists (on the rare ocassions that I do), I'm happy I had it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Nothing like a good soaking to break things up a bit :)

Been pretty stellar weather around here lately. Sunny, mid to high 80s, lots of flying.
There's a weird side to it all too. One of my pet names for Queenstown is "Disneyland for adults" (along with "crazytown" and "adrenaline city"). And it is... everything's a little fake and very (very) temporary... if you're here for more than a week or two, you're pretty much a "local". It's a bubble onto itself.

It's nice to escape sometimes (like my last trip to Omarama), but sometimes all it takes is a bit of rain. Big rain = no fly... no town... no hiking... nothing. It's kinda the opposite of growing up, where mom would tell you to "get outside and do something". A rainy day is an excuse to sit inside (read: sleep in) and do nothing... all day.

That works well for a few hours... but then we all start getting itchy. So the phone starts ringing and friends start showing up ;) We start swapping hang gliding videos and whatnot... BSing mostly. Good stuff.

Then the rain broke (like 6pm?)... oh, it stays light here till around 10pm. So we all disperse into the city. I head down to the lake and have a cruise around watching the sun go down and soaking up the "this is why I love it here" vibe.

On my way back... screw it... I'm getting a FergBurger
FergBurgers are easily the best freakin burgers you'll ever have...
You can eat in, eat on the sidewalk cafe, or take away. The sidewalk is heated (ski-town) and there's always cool music (seems like a night club often.. common in Queenstown... ha, some places actually double as a nightclub after hours).

Life is good

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Frankton Beach

Ah, once again.
I'll have to get some pictures or something.
Frankton beach is one of my favorite places. It's a small park on the banks of the Frankton Arm (inlet) of lake Wakitipu (the big lake that Queenstown is on). Frankton Beach is cool because, when the wind is right, you can fly there.
And the wind was very right today :)

It's also rather convenient that when the wind is right for Frankton also happens to be when the wind is wrong for everything else... so, oh darn... we can't work ;) We'll just have to go play.

Frankton is a ridge soaring site. The wind comes up the beach, hits a 45 degree incline for 20 yards or so and sets up a standing wave that you can just fly back and forth and back and forth and... you get the idea. It's playland for pilots.

I chose my flat two years ago for the sole reason that it was next to Frankton Beach.
Me and my flatmates headed out there today for some fun.
We took two hang gliders and a paraglider.

At the begining, the wind was too strong for PG, so we "flew" the hang gliders for a bit. I say "flew", because at a beach site, you can fly them without a harness :) We call it "flying monkey style". You climb up onto the frame and hang on. It's much fun. You're only a meter off the ground, so it's no worry.

Things calmed down and smoothed out, so we headed down to the main ridge and played around for hours. Towards the end, some other pilots started showing up and joining in the fun.

Good times

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Slow News

Slow with the news lately.

New place is pretty setup now. We even have a Kitchen Table (we got the livingroom couch first). Internet's humming along. Summer's in full swing. Pretty good.
The season seems a bit slow for now. Suspicion is that it will be a slow summer... all the businesses are down.

I have to dig through some recent photos today. I have a few things meant for here. Tweaking with my little laptop at the moment, so I'm a bit distracted.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Internet Good :)

After a bunch of waiting and a good long chat with tech support, we're up and running at home.

See, they have this service over here called Xtra broadband (as in Extra). Part of your password is xtra, not extra. No worries, but if you put in the wrong password (like, oh, I don't know... extra), then you not only don't get on, you get locked out.

After a while tweaking with things and pulling my hair out, I got a call back (yup, they called me) explaining this and how to get unlocked.

fun fun
silly willy

Friday, January 04, 2008


Karma was smiling on me today.
But let's step back a bit.

Omarama is a town a few hours North of here. It is the home of world class sailplaning. We also get to fly hang gliders there. It is absolutely mind blowing flying... some of the best in the world. I get out there every year and have loads of fun flying with friends. Well Tuesday was slated to be an Omarama trip. An added bonus was that a few old friends were in town for the trip. I was psyched :)

After a bit of fun local flying, I reached in my pocket to lend a friend the keys to my car... OH SHIT! Yeah, no keys. I instantly knew what had happened. I was messing around doing aerobatics and had my keys in my pocket. Dropping something in the air pretty much garauntees that you're never going to see it again. Dropping it from a couple thousand feet makes it a certainty. And that's exactly what I'd done. Bugger.

I called around and found out that a locksmith would be able to "remove the cylinder" and fix things. In addition to sounding very expensive, this didn't sound fast either since it was new years day. ARG!

On a very long shot, I called the previous owner of the car. He'd given me all the keys, but would "have a look" anyway. Oh yeah, I couldn't find my spare naturally.

Well, Tuesday morning rolls around and I'd given up on the trip... when my phone rings. He's found something that "looks like it might work". I wasn't getting my hopes up. I borrowed my flatmate's van and headed over. I picked up the key, but it indeed looked a bit different. I drove over to my car if for no other reason than to explain to the property owner that it was going to be there for a bit. I didn't even expect the key to fit in the lock... can I tell you how thrilled I was when it actually worked!

Off to Omarama! WOO HOO!
But wait.. there's more :)

The Omarama trip was all I expected and more. I don't have a hang glider over here (just my paraglider) and the weather was very much hang gliding weather. Well I have very good friends. I had many people offering to loan me their gliders. We all had a great time.

When I got back to Queenstown, I still had an other day off. Some old friends are in town teaching paragliding, so I decided to help out. As a bonus, an other friend is in town and just hanging out with us. He flies hang gliders. Well, Lisa suggested that I teach him paragliding for the fun of it... woo hoo.

Well, we're half way through the day, setting up again for an other flight down the training hill when one of the other instructors (from an other school) asks "hey... did anyone lose some keys?"

You've got to be kidding me!!!!
From three thousand feet up, my keys landed on the training hill!
I still can not believe it!