Spent coach ride to Franz Josef with stubble and tattoos still intact, having lacked time and ability to be upright for long enough to scrub them off between waking up and boarding coach. Did not feel good.
We did stop at an extremely bizarre museum/cafe; live possoms in the former and possom pie in the latter. Nice.
Climbing Franz Josef Glacier was spectacular. White, white, white and even blue. With 'Ice Talonz' strapped to our feet we crunched our way forth, following in the footsteps of Richard, our guide, who carried an ice pick for extra effect. I wanted one. Slid through incredibly narrow cravasses and did the 'Franz Shuffle' (it's practically disco dancing) up and down icy staircases. The formations of the ice around us were truly astounding and ever changing. The guides have to cut new paths every day and are always dicovering new areas due to the constantly changing nature of the glacier itself. It's very exciting to think that you might be exploring areas that nobody else has set foot on before. Totally unforgettable trip...and I didn't fall over once! (Thanks go to the Ice Talonz).
Skydiving over Mount Cook the next morning was AWESOME! Jumped out of an aeroplane at 12,000 feet and freefell for 45 seconds before floating to the ground under a brightly coloured parachute. I looked super cool in my jump suit and had a fantastic old skydiving pro strapped to my back named Rod. What a legend. The aeroplane was actually not much more spacious than the inside of a tin can; poor Rod had me on his lap for the entire plane ride. No wonder he seemed keen to jump out. Still, I'm sure he has had much bigger and hairier people in his lap before now. The scenic flight was amazing...rubbed noses with Mount Cook and Tasman and got a birds eye view of Fox Glacier too. It all looked wonderfully untouched and empty. I felt very privileged at my promixity to such beautiful and majestic landforms. It was difficult, however, to relax and enjoy the view to a complete extent; in light of the impending death defying leap and subsequent plummet towards a very hard piece of earth. Reality really kicked in when Rod announced that he was about to open the door on my right. There was a bit of a breeze after that. Sitting on the edge of that plane and waiting for Rod to puch me out was one of the most bizarre, terrifying and exciting sensations I have ever experienced. Thumbs up for the camera, head back, arms crossed over chest...banana style...and out we went. Incredible. The rest of the day was quite insignificant by comparison.