Fly Like A Bird


A fine mist hung over Table Bay as we rounded the mountain on Nelson Mandela Boulevard early this morning. I wondered if it would affect our plans for flying. It didn’t, politely melting off in the summer sun.

We (and here I use the Royal ‘we’, it wasn’t really me, it was GM, who is ridiculously and fantastically lucky and was kind enough to share her luck) won a helicopter flip from NAC Helicopters at a TravelMassive get-together on Wednesday. It was a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-esque draw. Pick a chocolate from the bowl, peel back the sticker. If there’s a gold heart, you win. I love that kind of thing. Even more so when I see the glint of a gold heart!

My being in a wheelchair sprung a small glitch in the proceedings, as the flight was then and there. The lovely people at NAC, however, most generously offered us a 6-seater helicopter at a later date, meaning that the whole family could come! I’m here to tell you the secret to earning a gazillionty-twelve Aunty points from 6-year olds: a helicopter ride.

Imagine being a bird. Add some inside-rollicking engine noise and a rotor on top, and you have a helicopter ride. It’s magic.

Really, I’m not kidding, it is magic. Watching the one before us leave, it’s hard to believe – even me, a scientist, with some (pretty ancient) physics in my education – how it is physically possible!

I was a bit nervous, I must admit. Some things in a wheelchair do seem a little difficult. The guys at NAC, though, whipped me out of the chair as if I was a feather (I’m not. I’m nearly 6-foot of heavy bones and child-bearing hips), strapping me in safely and comfortably. They were fabulous.

And up we went in our magic metal dragonfly, straight up and then tilting tummy-lurchingly toward the sea. Incredible.

Add some pretty spectacular scenery that The Mother City offers up – Table Mountain, with its dams glimmering silver in the morning light; The Twelve Apostles gazing down on the changing colours of the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island paddling in its middle; the gap through to Hout Bay, the Sentinel standing tall… It’s breathtaking.

What a way to start a Sunday morning. A glimpse into what it’s like to be a bird, and a beautiful reminder of how small we really are in the greater scheme of things. And, of course, how much fun it is to be the aunt of the most deliciously excitable 6-year old nephews. Everything just gets a slightly purer glow when seeing it through their eyes.

Now to work on transforming into a bird, or encouraging small boys to become pilots!

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