Kia Ora from New Zealand! I have so much to write about our recent trip, but here is a quickie story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Afterwards, the bungy equipment is hoisted back up to the staff member and made ready for the next jumper.
The next guy to jump brought his GoPro along. These guys were confident.
and smile for the camera.
Back to Spiderman:
Having checked all attachments, and with a handshake to seal the deal,
and was retrieved.
I’m glad we stopped by to look around. No, I did not jump.
© 2016 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. No photos or text may be used without written consent.