Back in September 2007 I did a 22 metre bungy jump at Yomiuriland in Kanagawawa which was billed Bungy Jump #4 so what about these other three jumps I hear you say! Well, five years prior to that I was travelling around New Zealand for a few months on the back of a years working holiday in Australia and on Sunday 24th March 2002 I was in Queenstown on the South Island. Thanks to the journal that I kept at the time it is now possible to recall the events of that day in a three part series.
“The most challenging day of my life got off to the worst possible start when I woke up at 4.30am and couldn’t sleep again as I sweated the next four hours out tossing and turning. Fearing I may bring up any food later on, I decided to skip breakfast having finally got out of bed just after 8am.
I was the first person at the AJ Hackett centre where I had to be weighed. Was I keen to jump or just get it out of the way?! 64 kilos was my weight which was written on my left hand. I sat in the waiting area and felt quite calm probably due to my blatant ignorance of the bungy jumps being relayed through the TV screens.
The minibus then took us on a 25 minute journey to the world’s original bungy site at the Kawarau Bridge. On the way I didn’t stop talking which might have been my way of coping with nerves. This was the jump I’d thought about most and if I could handle this then I’d ideally be prepared for the jump which would follow at the far bigger Nevis Highwire. The journey to the bridge had obviously taken its toll on my body as I weighed only 63 kilos at the next weigh-in!
An American guy called Chris and I were first onto the bridge and after stepping through the railings we simultaneously sat on the floor entrusting the instructors who were strapping us up using just an ordinary towel around our ankles. While this was happening, loads of Japanese tourists were peering through the railings and snapping away at us with their cameras which is probably as close as I’ll ever get to rock-star status!
Another instructor appeared on the scene and as I was wearing my Leicester City shirt I got involved in a strong discussion about why we were doing so cr*p that season. Not really the time for pondering how the Foxes had fallen into crisis but I guess it stopped me thinking about my imminent first bungy jump.
By now I’d been given the signal that I would be the first of our group to jump from 43 metres above the crystal waters of the Kawarau River which I had taken trouble to avoid digesting too much! I hobbled out to the edge of the platform and had to put my toes over the edge which was the defining moment when it really hit me. No time to think though as I waved to the camera. The instructor quickly did the countdown…5…4…3…2…1…
I crouched down and dived off into the air as if I was diving into the swimming baths. Within a second or two of my leap into freefall, the bungy cord came into play leaving me bouncing around for a while which I did celebrating and shouting my head off as if I’d just scored the a last minute winner in the cup final!
The adrenalin rush I felt from achieving one third of my feat (two more jumps to come later that day remember!) was fantastic and I felt free and enlightened. From my leap at 9.52am I was pulled into a little dinghy about 90 seconds later where my belly and legs were wobbling but as soon as I was back on land I was fine and climbed the stairs to the viewing platform just in time to see Chris take his jump.
I got to see the video of my jump in the office immediately after and was also given my t-shirt and certificate before having to wait around for everyone else to complete their jumps and for the bus to take us on the second, much bigger jump. In the meantime I had something to eat in the form of an apple which was adequate enough in the circumstances. On reflection, I felt my first jump was over with too quickly and I was a little disappointed that my splashdown only involved getting my hands wet rather than a good dipping!”
Click here to read ‘TF Flashback – Bungy Thrillogy Pt II (2002)’