– MARCH 13, 2015
Bungy Jumping: to jump off of a tall structure attached only to an elastic cord.
The Nevis Highwire Bungy is the 3rd highest bungy jump in the world at 134 Meters or 440 Feet!
After a short drive into the scrubbie mountains beyond Queenstown we reached our destination. Once you are weighed, they mark both hands with your weight and 2 numbers that mark your position in line.
They fit you with a body harness and send you out into a metal basket that takes you to a house that is swaying in the wind over the valley, held there only by bridge cabling.
Once you get your footing in the swaying house you are fitted with yet more equipment which wrap around your legs.
You sit, waiting.
All the waiting gives you plenty of time to consider what you are about to do and the reasons why you are doing it. You get to witness many other people taking the leap and surviving! So how difficult can it be?
As your turn comes up you are called to sit in a disturbingly unstable chair. You wait as they switch out the bungy cord for one that is rated for your weight. The bungy cord is attached to your foot braces and then to your body harness. This height means you have to be pulled from your feet. They rigged my pull pin cord on the right to compensate for my hurt left arm. The pull cord allows you to get hauled up feet down rather than head down (which can be uncomfortable because of the blood rush).
You have to have a lot of trust. In the equipment you get into, in the people that strap that equipment onto you and in the twisted bundle of elastics that will pull you back from smashing into the valley floor below.
The anticipation kills you. Nervous excitement clears your mind.
You are ready!
You get up and shuffle towards the edge.
Don’t look down. That’s a mistake. Don’t do it!
It will make you pause. Freeze at the edge. It will shake your resolve to jump as your rational brain tells you to back up. You will chicken out. Just look out straight towards to horizon.
Relax. Enjoy the ride.
After you are told to look certain places so the cameras can officially capture the horrified look upon your face, you again need to just look out towards the horizon.
The guy holding your harness counts down from 3 and you just go! Don’t look down! Just go.
You jump off that edge (….or really just fall forwards as I did). There are 3 terrifying seconds where you are weightless. Falling so fast. You can’t feel the harness or the rope that is meant to save you from the valley below you. The anticipation before the harness tightens around you and the elastic rope pulls you toward the sky is excruciating. I scream, part with enjoyment at the fun of it all and part out of terror.
You fall again towards earth and are bounced a 2nd time toward the sky. Its time to pull the pin. You come head up and can now take in the spectacular view and enjoy the ride you just experienced.
Amazing. Terrifying. You feel alive. Kenneth did feel that this will be his one and only bungy jump.
<Kenneth edit: Yes, this will be the first and last bungee jump I do in my lifetime. I was completely chilled out on the drive there, the outfitting of the gear, the lift ride to the suspended platform, and the harnessing of the cord to my harness. However, the moment I shuffled out to the platform and I could see the clear definition of the landscape below was the moment I realized that I do not believe humans were meant to do this. I am not afraid of heights, but this whole idea just seemed wrong on every level. I was about to say “screw this”, but the bungy worker talked me into doing this. Then he pushed me out. Yup. The fall was like Wily E Coyote just missing the Road Runner while he held the acme anvil….you just see the canyon below coming at you so incredibly fast…and then the cord snaps you back way up into the air. The whole sensation just felt wrong. Unlike skydiving (where you are so high up it isn’t scary) this is something that wasn’t fun and I wouldn’t do again. However, Jill loved it.>
The Big Swing
After the 440 foot jump you just did it is a wonder why we like others would sign up for the biggest swing in the world.
After a tense walk out on a thin metal bridge to another platform hanging over the valley. We are fitted with yet another body harness though this one has an attached seat for you to sit into. We are called forward and even though your safety harness is clipped to a line it is unnerving as we are backed up towards to yet another edge.
Kenneth and I are strapped together and told to sit into our seats. As we are tightened in and the mechanics swing us out over the edge we are given the option for being surprised or being counted down.
I said, just surprise us. I think we looked sufficiently surprised.
You fall quickly but this time your only view is the platform flying away from you. You swing a gigantic 300 meters towards to the side if the valley edge. What a rush.
The Finish Line
For all of our hard work jumping and falling we rewarded ourselves with an infamous Queenstown Fergburger!
Large…EXTRA large…burgers that seems to always have a lineup….ALWAYS.
Ken had the Tropical Swine and I had the Holier Than Thou (yes my burger was once a bean).
A great finish for the day.
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.