As I am sitting here, ready to write about my bungy jump experience, my heart rate is increasing and my palms are getting sweaty. It has been almost a year since we jumped and I get nearly the same, intense feelings as the day I stood on the platform.
The Nevis Bungy Jump in Queenstown is the tallest bungy in New Zealand, 15th overall in the world! AJ Hacket Bungy is where it all started, back in 1988 in Queenstown.
It was my husband’s brilliant idea and I honestly was only half paying attention when he mentioned it to me. We should go bungy jumping while we are here in Queenstown, he might have said. Of Course! I would have excitedly expressed, though not really giving it much thought. We had so much on our bucket list to accomplish while in the country, and a year might seem like a long time… The more people we met and places we went, the more was added to our list.
We were finishing our WWOOF-ing in the Queenstown area and were making plans when he brought it back up. My reaction this time when he asked was a bit more hesitant. How much is it? I asked, stalling to process if I could commit to such a thing.. would I be able to jump?
My husband was determined to go. I will be very honest with you, I did not want to do it; however, I have a competitive nature and did not want to have the story go that I was too afraid to jump and Casey was not. So, we both signed up for the next earliest slot, which was the very next day in the early afternoon.
I let it slip from my mind after we made the purchase. We got up extra early the next morning to grab breakfast in Queenstown. My stomach was a bit uneasy, but I was getting more excited about jumping. We checked-in at AJ Hacket and filled out the paperwork. While we sat waiting for our bus to take us up to the facility, we watched the promotional videos on repeat of other jumpers. They looked so badass! I leaned over to my husband and declared that I was going to jump first!
Our bus was ready and we soon boarded. The driver gave us a pretty good motivational speech, played some awesome tunes to keep us pumped up. But my mind started to wander, I started to play out scenarios of what I was about to do. My hands were getting clammy. Casey and I were sitting in silence next to each other, occasionally giving each other a little squeeze and a tight smile. Both of us were deep in thought.
The AJ Hacket Team was great once we arrived. They got us suited up with our harness and lead us over to the viewing platform. We stood watching the other jumpers, occasionally hearing an echoed scream from the canyon.
Eventually it was our turn to get on the cable car and cross over to the platform suspended in the middle of the canyon.
My adrenaline levels were now almost at their highest. I stood next to Casey watching the few in front of us make the leap. The platform had Plexiglas sections on the floor for you to view the river in the canyon below.
I wanted to turn back, I was crazy right? Who does this? What if I DIED?!? I turned to Casey and asked, Can you go first?
The bravery I had felt this morning had completely diminished. I was feeling a depth of fear that I had never known. My body was telling me “no…”
Casey went first. I knew after watching him, there would be no way I could back down. No matter what my body was making me feel, no mater what the voice in my head was saying – If Casey did it, I had to do it.
Casey had a smile on his face. He looked so calm and collected. I was envious of how held together he looked. He made his way to the edge of the platform, gave a laugh at something the man leading him said. He smiled for the camera, and then did a beautiful swan dive off the platform.
I asked Casey if he would write up a bit about how his bungy jump experience felt, to share on my post. He wrote a whole piece for his blog, and I am going to share an exert from it.
While we were waiting at AJ Hackett and on the bus, I was mentally preparing myself. I knew that they would count us down from three and then we were supposed to jump. Just thinking about it made me nervous so I kept telling myself that no matter what, I would jump when it was time. I would not hesitate when they told me to go. I had had a good life and even if it killed me, I was gonna jump on time.
We got to the location and they got us buckled in and ready to go and into our groups. As we were walking out towards the jump we could see the people in the previous group jumping. They were screaming and it seemed to echo. Even though I was getting more scared I knew that it was safe. It was a reliable company that was well known for doing a good job. So each time I saw someone jump and nothing bad happened I told myself I was totally safe.
And then we were traveling across the gap to the structure hanging above the canyon where we would soon be jumping 134m. We could look straight down and even though I knew I would be safe, my body was telling me I was gonna die.
Since we both weighed in at the same weight, they said we could decide for ourselves who went first. Cait changed her mind and decided she wanted me to go first, so I knew I had to hold it together to not freak her out. Even though I was scared, I could tell she was more scared. Even though inside I KNEW that if I jumped I would die, I was not about to show that fear because I had already decided I would jump no matter what.
Quicker than I was ready for, I heard the screams of the last jumper besides us. They were getting me ready, attaching cables to my harness and then setting me in a chair to wait. I couldn’t tell if my body was shaking or if it was all in my head but I was trying to keep calm even though my body kept telling me that I was gonna die.
They attached the bungee and were telling me what to do and I was listening and also telling myself to jump when they said jump. I remember not jumping off a cliff on a canoe trip when I was young, I had really wanted to do it. Older kids in the group had done it and I wanted to but was scared and didn’t jump. So I kept trying (which meant standing by the edge and trying to make my body jump). It ended up taking what seemed like a couple hours before I actually jumped and I think the experience would have been better and less scary if I had just jumped the first time someone counted me down.
So this time, no matter what, I was gonna jump. As they were walking me out, they were taking pictures and when I was just a few feet from the edge of the platform the worker told me “Put your toes over the edge so that you can look straight down. It makes it better.” …. So I did. And it did not make it better. But what I said was, “Yeah, that’s better.” The ground was really far below me. Comically far away. Or fatally far away depending on how you think about it. And I was only attached to what seemed like a little bungee cord. But they were already counting me down “3….” And I was telling myself that if I am gonna jump to my death then I will do it bravely without drawing it out. “2….” I mentally said my goodbyes. “1…” And as they were saying “Jump” my body was screaming “DON’T DO IT” and I forced my body to lean forward and jump headfirst into the vast expanse of empty air between myself and the ground below.
And as soon as my feet left the platform, everything disappeared. No fear, no stress, no anxiety. No worry. What had just been perhaps the most fear I had ever experienced was suddenly replaced by an intense euphoria. I was free falling and everything was out of my control. I was just along for the ride. And I was immediately loving it. It was a blissful experience. Especially in contrast to the overwhelming fear I had just been feeling.
The euphoria seemed to last both longer and shorter than the time that it actually took for the fall. I could feel my face smiling as I watched the ground rising up at me. Right as I started to wonder if I should have felt the bungee start to slow me down, that exact thing happened. I reached the very bottom of the jump and started to be pulled back up. I counted one, two bounces and on the third bounce I pulled my body up towards my legs and looped the cord around my shoe and yanked. Suddenly my feet flipped down and I was sitting right-side up just like all the times I had been lowered down after sending a rock climbing route. But this time, I was moving upwards. So, I just looked around and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Aotearoa until I got to the top. I felt awesome, the whole time I was being lifted up, I had a huge smile on my face and I couldn’t have gotten rid of it when I got to the top, even if I had wanted to. It had been such an amazing adventure.
As they were unhooking me, I didn’t get the chance to say much to Cait because they had her sitting in the chair getting her ready for the jump. She looked scared but I knew she could do it!
I watched him jump, but could not see much of his fall from the box. He came up in a seated position with a huge smile on his face. He was laughing. I had to smile at him.
Then is was my turn.
I tried my best to look excited and brave. I would realize I was breathing short and shallow, and then try my best to take bigger, deeper breaths. I felt like I was shaking, though I wasn’t. I felt like I was drenched in sweat, but really I was just full of fear.
The man helping me grabbed my hand while I was getting out of the seat after they set-up all my straps. He held it while I waddled over to the edge of the little metal plate on the platform. He said to me, You have to jump when I count down. On the one, then you go.
I nodded my head, Yes. Got it. He shook his hand free from mine. I had been reluctant to let go. My hands grabbed at my harness. I was afraid of slipping out, even though it went up over my shoulders and around my thighs.
The word ‘no’ was echoing through my head. Everything was so loud inside the platform box. The man pointed to the cameras for me to smile at, but I wasn’t thinking about them. I was looking at the vast canyon below. Thinking of every reason I could to make myself jump, when I heard him countdown… 3, 2, 1…
I mustered everything I had, and it wasn’t much. It was barely a hop forward, but it was all it took for me to be over the edge and falling. And the most atrocious sound escaped from my body, it was a guttural scream.
I held onto my harness as if I could pull myself back up and stop the ride. I could only see the canyon, and it slowly crept up towards me – no, I was plummeting down towards it.
The fear had melted away like ice on summer pavement. I felt weightless while falling towards the canyon below. The wind was ripping at me, I almost could not catch my breath for another scream to burst forth – but I did, and it did. It turned to fun. The adrenaline that came forth was invigorating! And hold on, was I still falling?
8.5 seconds of falling before the cord was supposed to catch. Another rip of fear, shouldn’t I have felt a tug? I had to know when the cord caught me. Three bounces then I could release my feet, sit up and be lifted back to the platform box.
A tightness gripped my ankles. I felt my body jerk in the air. The rope worked! I was lifted back up away from the ground. The air changed directions on me and I struggled once more to catch my breath.
It’s almost over – THANK GOD! I counted the bounces. 2, then 3. I was swinging around, my hands still grasping my harness. Oh no, I would have to release my hands to pull the cord. I reached for it and felt a flash of panic. I tried once more, grabbing the release cord and tugging a few times like they had shown us. To no avail, I was still upside down and was being pulled up like a dead fish towards the platform.
I looked around, the canyon was getting smaller. This is fine. I can enjoy the ride back up this way. I was able to catch my breath. I had done it. It was almost over now.
I reached the top and heard the man say, Oh no. What happened? I let out a short laugh and almost sobbed that I couldn’t release the cord. I was stuck there, upside down. I grabbed at the guard rail trying to right myself. I wanted out of the harness, back on the platform with both feet on the floor.
Tears were in my eyes. The workers looked at me and said nothing more. They quickly got me out of my harness and back over to the viewing side. I was laughing and crying. Unable to fully comprehend why I had just done that, and what I had just done.
Casey had put his arm around me and told me he was proud. I told him I had never been more afraid in my life. He agreed. We held each other and waited for the cable car to take us back to the main facility. We had both faced our fears. We had both forced ourselves to jump.
There is nothing I can compare my feelings to. I can describe what I did, and how my feelings were – but not the depth of those feelings. I feel at a loss to tell you how much fear there was, what degree of fear I had to overcome to make myself jump off that perfectly good platform to fall 134 meters.
And I would do it again. I want to bungy jump again. Despite the idea giving me chills, making my heart race and my palms sweat.
We decided to buy the pictures and videos from our bungy jump. It was a moving experience for us both, and we wanted to keep what we could of the experience. When I watch the video of my jump, my body still reacts like I am going through it, and that is crazy to me.
Have you ever bungy jumped? Or maybe even went sky-diving? Let me know in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this post, please Like, Comment, and Share.