To Jump or Not to Jump

Kia Ora from New Zealand! I have so much to write about our recent trip, but here is a quickie story.
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Yesterday, as we were driving along the Kawarau River on our way from Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand to the mountain village of Wanaka, we stumbled upon the parking lot of AJ Hackett’s bungy jumping operation located near the historic Kawarau Bridge. This is the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping.

We pulled over to check the place out. The Kawarau Bridge is 142 feet above the Kawarau River. The bungy company maintains the bridge which is now a historic landmark. When we first arrived there were no jumpers in the queue, but like us, a lot of people were scanning the view looking down into the gorge and up to the jumping platform.

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All I could think about was what it must feel like to step off the ledge. I mean people aren’t doing this in anguish. I had just seen a stunning production of King Lear in Wellington the night before. Lear was mad as hell as he stood out on the ledge; these jumpers were jovial. I guess I am just not a thrill seeker, but boy was I ever intrigued by the IDEA of jumping. So intrigued, I kept trying to photograph the actual stepping off the ledge part, as if, in doing so, I would get a glimpse into the head of a person crazy or brave enough to do something that is both primal and exhilarating. With these deep thoughts in my mind, you can imagine my delight when a superhero showed up. Clearly, I was reading too much into this.

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I followed Spiderman out to the ledge/heath/platform to get a closer look. For some morbid reason, I wanted to watch him step off the edge.

Here’s the drill on the bungy jumping operation. First, the staff attaches a fail-safe safety harness around the jumper’s waist.
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Next, the jumper walks out onto a platform where a staff member, himself tethered to a safety cord, attaches a towel wrapped around the jumper’s shins and then a bungy cord wrapped around the towel-covered ankles.
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The jumper is now ready to jump. And then, he jumped — and was clapping as he swung back and forth. His mates, who were watching, cheered him on.
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A retrieval boat, tied up to a dock at the foot of the canyon was right there to retrieve the jumper and row him to the dock.

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Afterwards, the bungy equipment is hoisted back up to the staff member and made ready for the next jumper.
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The next guy to jump brought his GoPro along. These guys were confident.
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Ready
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Set
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Jump
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Swing
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and smile for the camera.
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Terrifying.

Back to Spiderman:

Having checked all attachments, and with a handshake to seal the deal,

Spiderman dove

and was retrieved.

I’m glad we stopped by to look around. No, I did not jump.

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© 2016 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. No photos or text may be used without written consent.

10 thoughts on “To Jump or Not to Jump

  1. Judy I am so glad you posted this! I jumped off that bridge in 1991 before bungee jumping was a thing. I sent my picture to my parents and they about flipped! New Zealand is a beautiful country.

  2. What a great story! I feel that I was right there with you. Thanks for sharing Judy. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

  3. How lovely that you are in NZ! It’s top of my list for places I’ve longed to visit. Looking forward to hearing about your trip!
    Bungee jumping has never appealed to me at all, even when I was a youngster and had a little more flexibility in my joints. But the first time I saw video of someone BASE jumping wearing a wing suit, I was enraptured. Would I do it? If I had the opportunity, honestly…how could I NOT?

    1. Quinn! You are brave. BASE jumping seems more extreme than bungy jumping! I’ll pass on both. I’ve thought about you and your goats while I’ve been in sheep and beef country for the last two weeks. Want sheep.

  4. I nearly got dizzy just looking at the photos! I did a zip line once and would have backed out if that had been an option. But they said once I was on the platform the only way to end the experience (i.e. misery) was to step off. And when I did, it was thrilling! Would I do it again? No.

    1. So you weren’t always a grandmother?! 🙂 I didn’t try zip line jumping either. I guess I missed the extreme sport gene.I love that you did it though. It looked like fun. I have been missing good wifi coverage for the last two weeks. Looking forward to catching up my blog reading (and writing!).

      1. Ha. I was just a mother once. The zip line incident was when I was chaperone for a 6th grade trip. I had talked hard, encouraging the timid ones to do the zip line. They all did. Then they used my own words against me.

        I didn’t count on that.

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