In the second of this three part series Tokyo Fox looks back to Sunday 24th March 2002; the day of my triple bungy jump. I was travelling around New Zealand for a few months on the back of a years working holiday in Australia and 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…
“With the first jump off Kawarau Bridge freshly under my belt, I was fairly confident, though still a bit nervous as six of us from that 43 metre jump joined the people who were doing the 134 metre Nevis Highwire jump only. One of those people already on board even had his parents with him to witness his jump in real-time.
A private mountain access road through a high country sheep station took us on a 4-wheel-drive to our location in the rugged Nevis Canyon. This was our last chance to go to the toilet before we got our harnesses on and walked out to the viewing platform where we got our first proper look at the breathtaking ‘jump pod’ hanging from 380 metre long cables which span the valley. From this view we couldn’t even see the Nevis river which I was thankful for really.
We were then split into groups of six to take the cable car shuttle to the pod which was reminiscent of a UFO as it swayed in the breeze across the river. Unfortunately for me, these groups are categorised by weight with the heaviest going first which ultimately meant I would not be doing this bungy jump first! In fact, I was to be the penultimate jumper just to prolong my agony. I was still feeling pretty calm despite seeing the first few heavier people jumping into oblivion.
Finally my time came to get harnessed on to the cable car ready to join the rest of the jumpers , spectators and crew over at the ‘pod’. There was a clunk as we reached the ‘mother ship’ which was a lot larger than I expected with music blaring out of the CD player and a glass bottom to see those going before but I declined to really focus on this.
Eventually, after a long wait it was my turn and I even tried to carry on walking through the safety gate without getting harnessed on. Was I too excited or just keen to get the ‘big one’ out of the way? Once through the gate, I was sat down in a big black comfy chair but it certainly wasn’t a game of ‘Mastermind‘ that followed! Instead, I was strapped up bt my instructor and given a briefing on how and when to release the ripcord. This was not a burden I needed as I thought just to dive off the platform was enough responsibility!
I then had to give the video camera the thumbs up and the few short moments that followed were the worst but they were over in seconds. I’m of course talking about leaving the chair and waddling on over to the edge where I saw what lay 134 metres beneath…and beyond! I gave a very assured and confident captains salute to the camera above me, took a deep breath. Only a 3…2….1….countdown this time, and like my predecessors, I was straight off diving into free fall for seven or eight quick seconds. Finally, I felt the tug which was a huge relief and then as a I bounced around for a bit I realised I was supposed to release the ripcord. I pulled the cord to the left like I had been told but nothing happened as I began to descend yet again. I anxiously pulled it harder and extreme joy was felt as my feet were released and I was left sitting enjoying the view whilst hanging in the middle of nowhere.
As with the previous jump, the self satisfaction I felt was indescribable as I again threw my arms about in joyous celebration. After, what seemed like an eternity dangling in the peaceful mid-air I was winched back up to the pod where one of the crew informed me that my dive out was very good. I then got to watch the last jumper dive off without any nerves or tension in me. For the record, it was a Japanese girl who was very, very nervous in a giggling-type way and took a long time to do it after a couple of reservations but thankfully she prevailed.
By this time, I was absolutely starving as we took the cable car back across the valley where we saw the video’s of our jumps and got another certificate. At this point, I felt a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders which had been carried around for weeks in anticipation of doing a bungy jump……or three in this case! I still had the Urban bungy to do at night from the 47 metre ledge but that wasn’t at all in my mind as I had just jumped from New Zealand’s highest bungy site and, back in Queenstown later on, I felt like I was the king of the world!”
You can read ‘TF Flashback – Bungy Thrillogy Pt I (2002)’ here