Balloon Flight over the Kapiti Coast
Documentary prompts visit to Feilding:Documentary makers Mel and Tom Edmon live in Feilding and after hearing an interview with Jim Mora on National Radio featuring Julie, they decided they would like to do a documentary on her.
So it was that at the beginning of April Julie and I flew to Wellington, then took the train to Waikanae to be picked up by friends and driven to Levin to meet Tom and Mel.
Fancy of flight follows filming:After a day of filming inside, we drove with Tom and Mel to Feilding for dinner, then to their superbly situated rural property overlooking Palmerston North and Ohakea.
Much of the next day was taken up with more interviewing, during which Julie mentioned ballooning was on her bucket list. As luck would have it our friends in Levin that had picked us up the previous day had connections with a local balloonist.
Painting opportunity not missed:Ballooning being very weather dependent, Dennis the balloonist asked us to call him at 4.30AM the following morning to confirm the conditions were suitable for the flight. I spent the afternoon painting the superb local scenery on a perfect still Manawatu day and hoping the same conditions would prevail in the morning.
Conditions perfect and all go:So it was at 6AM on the Sunday we were crammed into a four wheel drive with Tom and Mel and a load of filming gear driving to rendezvous with Dennis and his crew in a field near Levin.
The surreal experience of witnessing the giant envelopes unfold and expand against the blue sky was unforgettable. After safety instructions we tumbled into the basket, just Julie and I, Tom, and Dan the pilot, with Mel choosing to stay on solid ground to film us.
Our flight of 25 minutes climbing to 1200 feet and sharing the sky with flocks of white birds and cattle below us and Kapiti island in view beyond the coastline was memorable.
Soft landing:The silence was broken only by the roar of the burners every so often, and all too soon we were drifting to a remarkably soft landing in the paddock of a sleepy looking lady farmer, still in her pyjamas to see the spectacle of her unexpected visitors.
After packing up the gear, we all congregated at a local cafe for a welcome breakfast, voluble and exhilarated after our adventure.