Tag Archives: Bungy Jumping

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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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.

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