I had my heart set on bungee jumping during our week in New Zealand, but my boyfriend, Dan, had slightly different plans. My view on bungee jumping was simple. To me, bungee jumping was quite possibly the scariest thing I could ever do. The idea of standing atop a bridge looking down with nothing except a cord between myself and the ground scared me more than anything else. And that is the exact reason I had to do it. Dan viewed it from the opposite perspective of questioning why he would do something that he had no desire to do. He decided that he would look up the statistics and other information before he made his decision. I told him that I didn’t want to hear any of the facts he read until it was over.
The first part of the drive was surprisingly relaxing. The beautiful scenery along the drive took my mind off what exactly I was driving towards. It was not until we saw the first sign that my heart started beating a little stronger than usual. Mokai Gravity Canyon, the highest bridge jump in New Zealand, 15 minutes. Figures I would choose the highest bridge jump in the entire country. I had put much thought into picking out the perfect jump location. I wanted to jump off a bridge with water below to somehow make myself believe that if my cord broke I would still have a chance at surviving, knowing full well that hitting water would be just as deadly as land. I chose the highest jump because if I was going to do it, I might as well do the highest I can find.
As we drove closer and closer, Dan continued to read on his laptop. Occasionally he would exclaim something or chuckle to himself, making me curious about what he was reading, but I decided it was better I didn’t know. I was going to jump no matter what. I was relieved when he told me that he was going to jump too. The statistics must not have been all too bad. The signs continued to count down in minute increments each one making me more nervous than the last. Arriving at the site, signing waivers, being weighed and placed in my harness seems like a blur to me. Before I knew it we were out on the bridge getting ready to jump. We had previously decided that I would jump first since I wanted to get it over with and Dan didn’t really care either way.
I stood quietly as three women attached a bungee cord to me, going through a series of routine checks in preparation for the jump.
“OK so you’re going to make your way out to the edge so that your feet are in the marked place and place your arms out to the side. Then I will yell 3, 2, 1, Bungee and you jump.”
“OK go ahead” she instructed.
“Oh gosh, this is really happening,” was all I could think as I approached the edge. I could feel the tension of the cord pulling me forward closer and closer to the edge. Without a moment’s hesitation I hear…
“3, 2, 1, Bungee!”
And I jump.
I have no recollection of my brain signaling to my body to jump. The second seems almost surreal. Before I knew it I was plummeting to the water below me, and less than two seconds later I was defying gravity bouncing back up towards the bridge. I bounced several times as all the blood slowly made its way to my head. My head felt like it was encompassing half my body weight before I was lowered down to a raft below me. I sat down on the raft and watched Dan jump from the river below (or rather the rocks covered by about two inches of water).
After our jumps we were placed on a seat and pulled back up to the bridge.
We had bungee jumped and lived to tell about it.
The adrenaline rush that we felt as we jumped was almost impossible to describe, but we attempted to talk about it as we sat waiting to watch our videos. After sitting and waiting for what seemed like a little longer than we were supposed to, a bungee instructor came over to us with some news.
“Diane, for some reason we don’t have your video. Do you want to jump again?”
“Seriously?” I questioned as thoughts clouded my mind. Here I was given the chance to bungee jump again for free, but did I want to do it? It was an experience that I would typically group into the “once in a lifetime” category on my life list. It was an amazing experience, but would I actually describe it as “fun”?
“Sure, I’l l do it,” I replied after what seemed like hours but in reality was just a few seconds.
“Can we go tandem?” Dan asked without a moment’s hesitation.
A few minutes later we were once again being harnessed up and walking on the bridge.
“Is jumping tandem significantly more dangerous?” Dan couldn’t help but ask.
“Yes,” she replied followed by silence…
“Anytime you deviate from the standard procedure it adds risk,” she added to justify her response and break the silence.
“Let’s go,” I said not wanting to hear any more.
We were attached to each other and to the bungy cord. I was positioned behind Dan and told to tuck my head onto his shoulder and hug his waist when we jumped. If for some reason, we jumped at different times, we might be injured on the way down.
We slowly inched forward to the edge of the platform, the cord pulling us forward with a force, even stronger than the first time. I gripped Dan as tight as possible, since it felt as if the majority of the bungy cord was attached to him.
“3, 2, 1, Bungy!” and we were off.
We were falling fast. And far. The added weight made us fall what seemed like at least 10 meters past the first time. And the first bounce up made us rebound almost all the way back up to the bridge. I didn’t know whether to fear crashing back up into the bridge more than falling into the water below. After a few minutes of bouncing, we were safely let down to the raft.
After doing something as daring as bungy jumping, one of the first questions people might ask is “Would you do it again?” That question might be difficult to ask for some, but for us the answer is easy.
Would I do it a third time?