Bay of Islands II

My mum wholeheartedly supported my decision to go travelling; all she asked of me was not to do any of the following:

  1. Skydive
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Become a drug mule

One year on living in the adrenaline capital of the world and I’ve done pretty well at not breaking any of these rules,  particularly the third one. Aren’t you proud mum?

However, I was 1,200 feet up in the air on one of the highest parasails in New Zealand.
That doesn’t count as breaking those rules, though, right?

I don’t know if it makes it better or worse, probably worse, that I hadn’t given it much thought.

During my stay in Paihia, I visited Russell, an important historic spot for New Zealand and just a short ferry ride away. On the way over the water was dotted with boats and parasailers attached to them. It was such a clear day and I could only imagine what the views would be like.

I want to go up there. 

I was taken aback by this thought. The last height I’d experienced was standing on a small stepladder at work to reach a top shelf wine and that had been enough for me.

I looked out across the water again, focused on the people gliding across the sky.

I think it would be like flying. 

This time I wasn’t so quick to shake the thought away.

I wandered through Russell, content – for the moment – to be on the ground and walked along Long Beach.


I’ve never been too good at sitting on a beach and doing nothing so it wasn’t long before I was heading back into town. I wondered how I could spend the rest of my afternoon. Unable to ignore my curiosity, I looked at prices for parasailing and whether there were any boats going later. There was a company running one more trip in two hours. I checked the weather, wondering whether I’d have time to do it tomorrow before my bus. It said cloudy.

All of a sudden it was like I was trying to get tickets for a music festival that was about to sell out, I was filling in payment details and within a matter of minutes I’d booked it, not quite believing I was really doing this.

I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it. I arrived back to Paihia,  got my things sorted at the hostel and headed back out to the harbour to find my boat. It was the last trip of the day, so it was a quiet boat with two crew members, myself and an Indian couple.
“Are you scared?” one of the a crew asked me as I got fitted into my harness.
“No, which is kind of weird,” I laughed. The lack of fear surprised me more than the spontaneity.
“Good, it isn’t scary anyway, you’ll have a blast.”

I was attached to the yellow and black parachute and my harness acted as my seat. The engine whirred and I was away from the boat, being carried higher and  higher by the wind.




I looked around at this glorious world made up of blue: the soft cotton of the sky, the teal of the ocean, my mind unable to process how high I was from it. The bottle green of the islands,  highlighted by the pale grass. The whites of the boats, so impossibly small. I didn’t know where my fear of heights had gone but it certainly wasn’t here.

This is absolutely incredible.


I sat with my feet swinging like a child in a chair that’s too big for it. This didn’t feel like I how I imagine flying would. I couldn’t forget that I was sitting, or the coarse orange strap I was grasping on to, but I still felt so incredibly free. In that moment, I felt like I had the best seat in the world to a one of a kind show.


The driver skillfully drove the boat so my feet dipped in to the water, I laughed and kicked, causing a spray, before being taken back into the sky.


I continued childishly swinging my feet, feeling even smaller than those impossibly small white boats below but in a peaceful way. I don’t expect to get noticed in this wonderfully wide world, but I will forever be content to take a seat and and be the one doing the noticing.

* * *

For those interested the company I sailed with were: Parasail Bay of Islands
They were fantastic and a real bonus is photos are included in the cost (a fair few companies had an additional charge) I took all the photos used in this blog and they sent them to me the day after. I would happily recommend!



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