Sunday, August 5, 2012

Adventure at its BEST!

As promised in the previous post, here comes a complete log of what was going through my crazy mind when, we jumped from the Worlds Highest Commercial Bungee Bridge!

I have done lots of thrilling and adventurous things in the past, but this one was nothing like anything else.  This time I had to jump from the worlds Highest Bungee Bridge, i.e. from 216m, its around 80 stories high!
The Bloukrans River Bridge, Worlds Highest Bungee Bridge 216m high
When I was planning for the South African holiday, I always had the jump at the back of my mind.  I had read a lot about it and seen lot of videos, from that moment on, I wanted to do it!

I am not going to lie to you guys, while on the trip, at the back of my mind, I was always thinking about doing the jump.  I have never been this exited (or nervous, can't really tell :)) about doing an adventure.

After about 5 days on the trip, the day had finally arrived when, we were supposed to jump.

The First Glimpse:

The Bungee Bridge is build on the Bloukrans River.  We followed the directions towards Face Adrenalin - The company that helps bungee enthusiast with the jump.  The bridge is about 20km from the Tsitsikamma National Park.

After reaching, we straight away went near the view site to get the first glimpse of the Bloukrans Bridge.  After staring at it for about a minute, I was thinking, BOY, it was high!
First Glimpse of the Bloukrans Bridge
All sorts of questions started flooding my mind.  But the biggest of all was, Would I be able to jump from the bridge?  In spite of all the questions and anxiety, we booked the jump and were now waiting for our turn.

The Walk To Jump Site: 

The jump is performed from the center of the arch.  We have to walk around 500m from the view site to reach the jump site.  The last 250m walk towards the center of the arch is via a narrow path situated below the main road under the bridge.

We have to walk on a steel cage like structure, with nothing but a thin steel mesh under our feet.  At this point we were around 216m high from solid ground.  The worst part was, we could see the ground right through our feet :)
The steel cage like structure on which we have to walk to reach the center of the arch.  You can see the ground right through your feet.
The Jump:

Finally we reached the center of the arch, the view from there was magnificent.  On one side there were huge mountains and on the other side there was blue ocean. 

Before the jump they, strapped me and tied the bungee cord to my ankles.  The guide asked me, whether I can feel the weight of the bungee cord?  I said yes, I do.  He said, that is good, this means the bungee cord is tied correctly to my ankles and everything is set for the jump!

He helped me and moved me towards the edge of the bridge i.e. the Jump Point.  I could see the mountains in front of me but I could also see the ground straight down.  It was VERY HIGH!

The edge from which we have to jump
On the bridge, they play very loud music, but even after that loud music, I could clearly hear my racing heartbeat.  My mind was working at double its speed.  All sorts of things crossed my mind.  I could feel the adrenalin rush.  Probably, those were the longest 5 seconds of my life!
All this time, I was thinking of the jump and now was the moment, the moment of truth, when I actually had to jump!

I calmed my nerves, told to my self, this is it, I have to jump!  I took a deep breath, opened my arms, the guide stared counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BUNGEE!
The Jump!
 Those were the last words I heard, after that I jumped.  Suddenly everything just STOPPED, all the music, all the voices in my mind, everything around me, it just STOPPED.  All I could hear is my heartbeat.

Gravity had taken over, I could see the ground racing towards me with incredible speed.  I had nothing attached to me except the bungee cord.  I felt like a free bird (of course without wings :)). 

After a free fall of about 6-8 seconds the bungee cord kicks in.  The free fall slows down and eventually stops.  Because of the elastic nature of the bungee code, it stretches and then shrinks.  After the bungee cord has stretched to its fullest, it starts shrinking.  This causes us to go up for a few seconds, after that the gravity kicks in again and starts the free fall, but this time only for about 2-3 seconds. 

Eventually, this pendulum effect comes to a stand still, at this point, I realized that, I had actually completed the jump! 

The Face Adrenalin folks fetch me back on the bridge.  Its a very safe ride up.  It was good to be back on solid ground, but even better was the feeling that, I got an opportunity to experience the most amazing bungee jump.  I felt alive!  I had a newly found respect for gravity.

You guys can watch the full video of my jump here

I totally recommend everyone to experience this at least once.  This truly was, Adventure at its BEST!
Have some Fun!