Standing in the middle of a field in the pitch black, surrounded by swirling mist, I do question my own sanity. What on earth made me agree to get out of a nice warm bed at 3.30am in the morning to accompany my husband to stand in a farmers paddock on a cold, damp morning? My husband was going hot air ballooning, and I was going along to see him off.
Arriving at the Northam Airfield we were offered coffee whilst all of the guests were checked in and given a pre-flight safety brochure to read; then it was all aboard the bus for the transfer out to the launch site.
When we arrived at the field where the flight was taking off from the ground crew had already unloaded the basket and had the balloon unpacked ready to inflate. I was surprised at how big the basket was, I hadn’t expected them to be that large, it easily holds around 20 people.
The pilot gave us a talk on the importance of ballast when ballooning and instructed us in how the balloon worked and the all-important safety aspects; then it was all hands on deck as they started to inflate the balloon.
By now I had forgotten how cold and tired I had been earlier, whilst the excitement was building as the balloon inflated in front of our eyes. The sight of it glowing in the misty morning was breathtakingly beautiful; I was disappointed in myself for not being brave enough to join in the fun, but I have no head for heights and didn’t fancy making a spectacle of myself in front of strangers.
We took some group photos before the balloon was released and drifted slowly through the mist towards the early dawn light. Those of us left behind watched the balloon rise over the treetops and then lower down as it skimmed a field of canola, my husband said it was magical; they then rose off into the clouds to follow the Avon River through the valley.
The dawn broke whilst they were in the air and the photos as it shed the first light through the clouds are stunning.
All too soon the flight was over ( around an hour) and the pilot expertly guided the balloon gently back down to the ground, in such a precise way that he was able to park it directly on top of the trailer to return it to the airfield. Everyone got to help pack up the balloon, and then it was off for a Champagne breakfast at The Rivers Edge Cafe to celebrate; where all of the participants received a certificate as a memento of their flight and photos taken during the flight were sent out to anyone who wanted them.
After we returned back to our accommodation, I asked my husband his thoughts, and if it was worth the $300 cost; his answer? ABSOLUTELY! It was a bucket list item ticked off for him and was a very special morning and he would love to do it again; he may have even talked me into joining him next time.
Cost: $350 per person – Weekends & Public Holidays $300 per person – Weekdays
Windward Balloon Adventures Withers St, Northam WA 6401 PO Box 168, Northam, WA 6401
Phone: 9621 2000 0417 906 281
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: ballooning.net.au
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