Tag Archives: Bloukrans

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…

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Biggest Leap of Faith

“What’s wrong John?” asked the man suiting me up.

“Huh? Nothing.” I replied.

“Why are you jumping off a perfectly good bridge?” He asked with a smile and a laugh.

Why am I jumping off a perfectly good bridge? It seems like a stupid thing to do a good way to earn a one way trip to the hospital. Only, it’s not. It’s the most exciting thing I have ever done and maybe the smartest. OK, smartest might be pushing it but it was one of the best decisions I made since I have been in South Africa.

I have a natural fear of heights, as most people should. I mean, you lean over something and look down and see the bottom is hundreds of feet below and your natural reaction is to get back from the ledge. It’s a normal human reaction. But why then would you want to jump off that sound structure?

For the thrill.

It’s that simple. Bungy jumping provides an adrenaline rush like nothing else I have ever done. I’ve bungied twice in my life (the first time being off Auckland Harbour Bridge in 2007) and each time I was afraid to jump but went ahead with it because I knew it would be the thrill of a lifetime. Having jumped off Bloukrans in Plettenberg Bay, the world’s tallest bridge bungy, I can say that I have lived.

One thing I will say is that the walk out to the jump platform is the worst part of the entire experience. The metal grate walkway bends with each step you take and you wonder “When was the last time this bridge was tested? I can feel it bending and that’s not normal.” It also doesn’t help if you look down and see the ground below. Bad idea.

If I have one piece of advice to give about this bungy it’s this: Don’t look down. It will ruin the surprise. Pick a spot out on the horizon that is at your level and don’t lose contact with it. This is exactly what I did. I stared straight out and when the bungy guys behind reached 1 and yelled “BUNGY!!!” I bent my knees and pushed off as hard as I could and I flew. I flew through the air and as my body plunged toward the ground below I couldn’t help but flail my arms a bit because the fear inside me took over but I didn’t regret doing it. Not. One. Bit. And as I dangled under the bridge, the mantra of Face Adrenalin popped into my head and reaffirmed my decision: “Fear is Temporary. Regret is Forever.

DSCF2654

Tagged , , , ,