“Oh it was amazing, Kirstie, you’re going to love it,”
Evelyn’s voice was faltering a bit as she pulled herself back onto the cable car. It’s all that adrenalin, I thought, she must feel on top of the world.
Evelyn had just thrown herself 143 metres down towards a valley in the Costa Rican cloud forest attached only by a cord and some ropey looking ankle straps – the instructors had just fixed them with duct tape right in front of us. It was my turn next.
I’d spent two days convincing myself to do the bungee jump. I’ve been canyoning, white water rafting and caving. I’m not scared of heights, I’m pretty adventurous and bungee jumping felt like an extreme activity I should love, but something has always held me back. In fact, I chickened out of a bridge swing three years ago in Peru. Everyone has to have a limit, right? Jumping off something very high had always been where I had drawn the line.
I spoke to a few bungee jumping veterans for some reassurance. “So it wasn’t the worst two minutes of your life so far?” Apparently it wasn’t. Persuading myself that if at 21 I couldn’t do it now, I would never be able to do it, I paid up my 60 dollars. No turning back now.
At the site, a strangely calm feeling took over me. As they use different ropes depending on your weight, we’d been split into groups and mine was going last. I thought watching the others jump would terrify me. Instead, hearing them laugh and grin wildly once they were back on solid ground was making me feel better.
They placed the helmet on my head, its only use to mount the company’s GoPro, a fall from this height wasn’t going to be helped by a helmet. After some not so useful safety advice, “I’ll check your carabineers now and then double check once you’ve jumped, okay?” I was shuffled towards the edge.
Toes quivering over the platform, gripping onto the bar above me for dear life, I pulled my body until I was leaning out of the cable car. The instructors started their countdown.
I knew if they hit one I was never going to be able to leap off. I was the last person that day to jump, there was no way I could turn back now, there was pride at stake.
With a strength I mustered from somewhere deep within me, I launched myself into the air when the instructors’ countdown had only reached three.
It was the worst feeling ever.
Those four seconds of free fall were strange whilst my brain tried to catch up with my body. I was falling and falling and then the rope caught me. I felt pure relief that it hadn’t been the jerky painful action it looked like and I started to enjoy the feeling as I bounced back, away from the ground.
That is, until the rope went slack. That terrible, lurching, free fall feeling was back. My stomach flipped as did my view when physics insisted that my body continue straight up even though the rope had stopped.
I bounced six times. I had to feel that horrible feeling six times.
I screamed like I’ve never screamed before.
I definitely had found my extreme adventure limits. (Video to prove. You can’t see me very well but turn your sound on and you can definitely hear me scream…and scream!)
As I was hauled back into the cable car, whimpering, by the instructors, I declared “I don’t think I need to do one of those again!” Evelyn laughed, “Oh thank God, I hated it too. I was nearly crying but I knew I had to tell you it was amazing or you never would have jumped!”