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Adventure at 2000 feet

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

WORLDWIDE | Sunday, 27 March 2011 | Views [542] | Scholarship Entry

“Is everyone ready for takeoff?” the pilots voice comes crackling through my headphones. I nod enthusiastically until I realise there is a microphone under my chin, “Sure am” I shout and give a thumbs up from the back seat as the other passengers turn to grin at me. The engine starts and for a few minutes we sway from side to side, shaking and shuddering as we hover about one metre above the ground. I briefly wonder if I will be scared of heights a few hundred metres above the ground sitting in something hardly larger than my car that currently feels like a washing machine approaching spin cycle.

A few seconds later however, after one last lurch, we rise gracefully in the air and start to glide over the landscape so smoothly it is almost surreal. “Welcome to Albany” our pilot, Dave, says as our scenic flight begins and he starts to point out landmarks that I have known for as long as I can remember.

I take in the scenery out one side of the helicopter where in the calm water of the harbour a tug starts its slow journey away from the wharf to meet an incoming cargo ship. I turn my head to the front and see the two mountain ranges that carve majestically through the landscape, their foothills surrounded by farmland.

I glance in the other direction and gasp as I take in the rugged landscape that stretches out before my eyes. All year round the Southern Ocean surges and crashes into the rugged beaches and sheer cliffs that are an iconic part of the local landscape, and when you see it so often you can forget what an incredible force of nature is on display each and every day. Viewing it from the air and witnessing the power of the waves as they break endlessly over the rocks absolutely takes my breath away. We swing out seaward and turn to face the cliffs where we can see the waves rushing with tremendous ferocity under the Natural Bridge and creating a huge spray as they fight for space in the Gap, two of Albany’s well known tourist attractions that would normally be reached by foot.

We continue down the coastline, and in the distance can see Torbay Head, the most southern point in Western Australia. As we turn to fly back we pass over the harbor and take in the beaches and islands on the other side of the peninsula which lay in stark contrast to the coastline we have just seen.

As we disembark, our adrenaline pumping, we make plans to go further explore some of the places we have seen from the air.

When longing for adventure my thoughts nearly always turn to my next overseas trip. But when returning home over Christmas to show my partner around my home state I saw it through their eyes and was reminded me how much there is to explore within our own surroundings.

Tags: #2011Writing, Travel Writing Scholarship 2011

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