Three, two, one, Bungeeee…
I had a vision of myself jumping off the ledge, arms stretched out like I was about to fly, a graceful dive, without hesitation. But real life rarely is like you envision it, especially not when you are standing on a tiny platform, 43 meters above a beautifully green blue river, legs tightly tied together and about to plunge into thin air with only a – seemingly too thin – rope between you and death.
(The pictures are from the Nevis swing – and not the Kawarau bridge where I did the jump – and all taken by AJ Hackett bungee company)
The not too bad-looking bungee-guide holds on to my back, counts down from three and pushes me slightly forward. My whole body resists, not a single part of it can understand why I would want to do this voluntarily. I look down again, even though I know I really shouldn’t – unless I want to end up with a nice t-shirt that says “I chickened out”, like the guy working at the hostel had – the water seems to be light years away.
We try one more time; I really want to do it, but my body clings on to the platform with all its might, I feel the hand on my back, pushing me slightly, slightly forward, and my fingers reach out for the camera stand above and slightly in front of me. The bungee guy stops pushing and drags me completely in again. “Whatever you do, do not grab on to anything!”. I feel like an idiot, why can’t I just let everything go and jump like “everyone” else?
“Shut off your brain” the bungee-guy says, and we try for a third time, “Three, two, one”, I feel the slight push, I really want to do this, I try my hardest not to resist it, let the hand guide me forward, and then I fall, head first. It’s no gracious jump the screams freedom, my knees kind of buckles as I lean forward and let gravity take me down, but I’m actually doing it, I’m in the air. For a split second I’m sure this is the end, falling, falling, the river rushing towards me at an incredible speed, but then the bungee catches up with me, I dip into the beautifully refreshing water with half my upper body (seems like we came to a compromise, I said barely wet, and the guy getting me ready for the jump said barely dry) and bounce straight up again. Laughing.
I laugh and laugh as I bounce up and down, up and down, and when the cord has settled and two guys try to hoist me down to their little yellow rubber boat I’m still laughing. It was wonderful. It was amazing. It was one hell of a kick, and I want to do it again! When I get to the shore I run up all the stairs back the viewing platform, full of adrenaline, ready to watch the other people in my little gang do their jump (a lot more gracious and less hesitantly than me…)
The next day we decided to do the Nevis swing – with a free fall of 70 meters. I remember looking over the 134 meter high Nevis jump and thinking I would never be so crazy as to try that one. But the swing was great expensive fun.