Tag Archives: Adrenaline

Like Andrew W.K., I Get Wet

After leisurely stepping off the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere earlier in the day I decided do something else that I would get the adrenaline flowing: bungy jumping.

At this point in my life I had only dreamed of doing such a thing – I hadn’t even been sky diving yet – and I knew that before I left New Zealand that I would have to bungy.

I remembered, from by brief chat with the Sky Jump employee atop the Sky Tower, that the Auckland Harbour Bridge had a bungy platform. After my jump, I went back to my room to drop off a few things and to pick up a map. I gave it a slight glance over and then decided that all I needed to do was follow the road that led to the bridge. I left the map in my room, grabbed my camera and jacket and began my trek.

About 40 minutes later, I arrived at the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Auckland Harbour Bridge

From that shot you can’t even tell that there’s a bungy platform. It looks like a very normal bridge…that people jump off.

After watching an informational/safety video and being strapped into my harness, it was time to walk out. It was a very easy walk that wasn’t painful at all. Looking down at the blue water was rather relaxing and, in all honesty, the drop didn’t look that daunting from there. 40m didn’t look that bad at all. Didn’t being the operative word.

Bungy Drop

That was until I started watching the other people in my group jump and I stuck my neck over the ledge and saw the water below. Yeah…it was further than I thought.

When it was my turn, I sat in a chair and laughed nervously as they strapped my feet in and checked my weight with that of the corresponding bungy tether. That’s when a strange question was asked.

“Do you wanna get wet mate?” He asked with a pleasant Kiwi accent.

“Uh, wet?”

“Yeah! You wanna touch the water?”

I paused. I thought that this may be the only time I am ever going to be in Auckland so I better go big or go home.

“Yeah! Like, this (pointing to my chest) high.”

He laughs “Yeah! Alright, we’ll get you wet!”

Next thing I know, I’m inching my way to the lip of the platform and the instructor is telling me to keep my arms atop my head like I’m diving because it will make an easier transition into the water. AKA my head won’t slap the water on impact.

Bungy Wave

They began to count down and once they got to two I stopped them, took a deep breath and then told them to start it up again. The countdown continued and once they got to one they yelled “BUNGY!” and I jumped.

My hands were above my head, my eyes transfixed on the water below getting closer and closer, the wind whirred by my ears and then SPLASH! The icy cold glacier-runoff water that was the Auckland Harbour completely surrounded me and then I shot out just as soon as I got in.

Bungy

I didn’t end up going in chest deep. I went in thigh deep.

As I slowed down and dangled above the water, slowly dripping, a man in a jet ski rode underneath me, gave me a thumbs up and said “Awesome jump!”

Awesome jump, indeed.

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Getting High In Auckland

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, if you don’t already, it’s that I like to get high.

Literally, high.

Wherever and whenever possible I seek out the highest point(s) in a city and make it my mission to get to the top. Most of the time I’m successful, except for that one time I tried to go up the SkyTree in Tokyo only to be told that it was too windy but I still made my way to another observation deck elsewhere in the city. Every time though, it’s worth the trip.

Auckland was do different.

Auckland Skyline

The central tower in the city skyline is the Sky Tower. It’s the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere standing at 1,076ft (328m) tall. The tower itself is a part of the SKYCITY Casino down closer to the ground. But for those looking for less of a gamble and more adrenaline, look up.

The SkyJump, at 192m, is a thrilling base jump experience unlike anything else. Similar to my Bloukrans bungy experience, I can say that the ride up was probably the worst part. I was put into an elevator and as I looked around I saw a square cut out of the floor and that square was filled with glass or plastic so that as the elevator climbed I could see the ground floor. The once bright white light that shone through became a dim afterthought once I was at the top.

When it was finally my turn to step onto the platform and jump I made the mistake of looking down. Big mistake, huge. I gripped the side railing like it was my lifeline as I inched out to the ledge. As I was being strapped and buckled in I looked down and saw a giant mat with a target printed on it at the bottom. That wasn’t much better…

To take the edge off I began to chat with the instructor. I asked her about local landmarks, the Auckland Harbour and what I should do/see next. She pointed out a few things to me and then she said that it was time to jump.

Sky tower

She then explained to me that as soon as I jumped I would be stopped and I would need to look up and give a thumbs up, because they were going to take another photo of me dangling above the city…charming…but exhilarating.

sky tower 2

Then came the descent.

Falling at speeds upwards of 85kph (52mph), the buildings grew around me and the once distant sounds of the city enveloped me once again as I landed on the mat. The instructor at the bottom unhooked me and said “We have some time before our next group arrives, would you like to go again for free?”

As if I’d say no…

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The Dome & A Dolphin, Uniquely Japanese

As I have already experienced, nighttime and dusk is when Tokyo comes alive. Taking a trip out to the Tokyo Dome to ride the Thunder Dolphin was no different.

The Tokyo Dome is a MASSIVE stadium home to the Yomiuri Giants and I was excited to see the stadium and see what was around the venue. It just so happens that these Giants share the same colour scheme as the hated San Francisco Giants, so there was NO WAY in hell I was going to purchase any gear with players names or hats or anything else with the word ‘Giants’ on it out of sheer principle.

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That being said, I was hoping that we could possibly take a tour in the stadium or possibly take in a sporting event that was going on at that time. Sadly, the only thing going on there was some pop concert that had what looked to be every single tween in Tokyo waiting beyond the gates and talking with their friends waiting for the gates to open. This clogged up the walkway and it was difficult to navigate through the sea of tweens to get to our final destination: The Thunder Dolphin.

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I don’t think I have ever been on a roller coaster that, literally, goes through a building before, let alone one that is in the middle of a city. As a roller coaster enthusiast, I knew that the Thunder Dolphin would be an awesome experience just by looking at it. It was a simple process of purchasing a ticket from the kiosk and then waiting in a line. The line is a tad slow, but that is only because there is only one car that runs on the track at a time. While waiting in line the ride operator shows you a list of items that you can and cannot bring with you on the ride. Luckily there are pictures just in case you don’t speak Japanese.

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Before you are strapped in you must put your belongings into a locker coinciding with your row. They provide a key attached to an elastic band that fits snugly around your wrist so it doesn’t fly away. No hats, glasses or watches are aloud. Trust me, they will tell you to take them off if they see them. Just do what they ask the first time so you can experience the ride sooner rather than later. Once strapped in, the ride operator in the control booth gets everyone excited and holds up a plush dolphin and everyone gives a good yell of excitement.

This is where the fun begins.

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The car slowly lurched up the ramp with a loud CLAK CLAK CLAK and we looked to our left and right out at the city below and just as the car reached it’s zenith my friend said “The [expletive deleted] Japanese are crazy!”, then we plummeted at a near 45° angle, felt weightless and then were slammed into our seats as we shot up at break-neck speed. The track bent left and right and went through that hole in the building from the image above and went up and down and all around until we were back at the ride entrance and everyone was laughing and smiling with joy and excitement after experiencing such an awesome ride. It is a must-see & must-do for anyone visiting Tokyo and any roller coaster lover.

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