Some of our more avid readers may know that while we were in Auckland, New Zealand, I bungy jumped off the Auckland Harbor Bridge. I thought it was great fun but in terms of height t was one of the smaller bungies in the world, a mere fifty meters. When we arrived in South Africa, I was informed by my mom that the highest bungy in the world was off a bridge in South Africa. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. There were a few things standing in the way of me jumping though. First of all it would have to be at the end of our African excursion. Secondly it was a good seven hours away from Cape Town where we would be staying (we originally thought four but were told the roads were slow only the day before we left). Lastly, we were running short on time due to Uncle Vito’s untimely breakdown in Namibia. When we arrived in Cape Town, we set aside a whole day for the bungy. We woke up at 5 a.m. so we could get there early. We started driving and everyone slept while my dad listened to a business book on his iPod. We skipped breakfast and after a good seven and a half hours of driving we were there.
We went to sign up for the jump and luckily the age limit was 14 so I could jump. My dad being the only other adrenaline junky in the family wanted to jump, but due to his artificial hip, he would have to sit this one out. I went to the harness station to get suited up. The harness wrapped around my entire body and in the words of my mom, “makes it look like you are wearing a diaper!”. Now I had to wait. The guide said thirty minutes, only thirty minutes till I jumped off the highest bungy in the world. I was very excited! There was another group of Americans from a college in Saint Paul, Minnesota who would also be jumping. I talked to them about our trip and found that they were studying in Cape Town for six months and would be going back to the states in two. Thirty minutes turned into an hour and I was still waiting. I went to the restaurant where my family was eating, had some pizza and watched the live video stream of people jumping off the bridge. It looked amazing, but I must admit I was a little nervous by now.
It was another thirty minutes before my group finally headed off to the bridge. We had a briefing about what we should do when we jumped and the equipment we would be using on the bridge. I didn’t want to hear about what equipment I would be using, I just wanted to get on the bridge and jump off. We kept walking until we finally reached the bridge. Here we were offered two options on how to get to the bungy, a flying fox which would cost one hundred rand, or a walk on the catwalk which was free. No one took the flying fox. The view from the bridge was amazing. The gorge was covered in huge trees and a few miles out you could see the river feeding into the ocean. It was truly spectacular. But there was a downside to the catwalk. It was mesh steel so you could see down the gorge, which inspired a little more nervousness in the group. When we finally got to the bungy station, we had another briefing. How long would it take until I could jump? I had been waiting two hours and I just wanted to get it over with.
The jump master yelled out the order we would be jumping in. I was going to be second. I would have preferred first, but it was still a good position. I sat down and got suited up with all the necessary gear. I watched the guy before me go. It looked like a blast. When the other guy was pulled up I was so excited I can hardly describe it. The jump master made the final preparations. My ankles were strapped together, making it impossible to walk, so the guides carried me out to the platform. They asked me some very odd questions which I won’t repeat and walked me to the edge. My toes poked over and I looked down. 216 meters straight down. It looked like I was jumping off a skyscraper. I looked back up and sucked in my breath as the jump master counted down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BUNGY!” I jumped as best as I could. For the brief few seconds I was in the air, it felt like I was flying. Then I looked down and my stomach stayed up at the jump point. It was insane. The fall seemed like it was taking minutes not seconds and everything around me seemed to be moving at five hundred k’s an hour. It was the most adrenaline I have ever felt rush through me. Then I hit the bottom of my jump and slowly reeled back up. When I reached the top of my bounce-back, I was one hundred and twenty meters up. Then I dropped back down. I wasn’t expecting such a big bounce and was caught off guard. Once again my stomach was left a couple hundred meters above me. I slowly came back up and was sixty meters in the air, about as high has my jump in Auckland. I came back down and once again wasn’t expecting such a big rush. It was incredible. Now I was being reeled back up. I looked around the gorge. There was no way one could get a better view of it. It would have been very relaxing if my head hadn’t been pounding because of all the blood rushing into it. The retriever came down and reeled me up. When I got back to the jump point everyone asked how it was, I was still in shock so I just stared eyes wide and nodded.
Later when I was all unstrapped, I sat down and talked to a few people to an Indian about India as a world power and talked to a few kids from Jo’burg about life in a dangerous city. Then it was time to go. I went back up to my family and watched the video of my jump. We decided not to buy it–it was twenty bucks and my mom taped it from the side of the gorge on our camcorder. I got my certificate and we headed out. I slept nearly the entire drive back. Who knew bungy jumping could take so much out of you?