Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
I don`t know what it is about it but I love and despise Bungee at the same time! I have done two before and just the thought of it is enough to give me shivers. No other word scares me so much (although there is a growing consensus that might suggest `commitment` is right up there too!)
I hadn`t done one in about 6 years but I didn`t feel the need to do one either. Megan was keen to do one today as was Will, who was also a Bungee Virgin. I went along for the ride (provided by Ethna and AnneMarie from Cork) and one look at the bridge and jump off point was enough to put the hairs on end. And the next thing, almost out of my control, I could see my credit card being handed over the counter, a receipt to sign and all of a sudden I was in a harness!
This is the highest one in the world, 216m off a bridge into a gorge, reaching speeds of 120km/p/h etc etc. but I was nearly as amazed to just be in a harness listening to these stats, how did I get here, had I been hypnotised? And in a way, I probably was…
We walked to the jump platform and I started singing (as much to calm myself down as anything); `I believe I can fly` by R.Kelly, `Free Falling` by Tom Petty and for some reason `Eye of the Tiger` from Rocky! Adrenalin has a funny sense of humour and musical taste!
8 of us were in a group and despite my desire to go first and show all the newbies how safe and easy it was, I had to go last by virtue of the fact that I needed a special rope as I was the biggest jumper! Way to give a guy a complex guys, “Yeah, sorry fella, we need to get in the extra industrial strength rope for you, insurance more for the bridge than you, I`m sure you understand”
So, I watched as the other 7 faced their fears and did their jumps, no two being the same, screams, curses and false starts being the main discriminating factors! And finally, after all my bravado and joking, it was my turn. I got strapped up, got my pictures taken a few times, made some `dead man jumping` jokes, no problems! But when the two men hoisted me to the edge and ordered me to get my toes over the ledge, the hypnotist had well and truly clicked his fingers!
I was pretty focused as my brain alerted me to the dire circumstances that I had just found myself in and suggested as a matter of urgency that I retreat and give this some careful consideration, preferably in a bar, miles away from this place!
Understandably my brain was somewhat confused when the order came through that I wanted it to hurl my body off this ledge, somewhat flying in the face (excuse the pun!) of its previous advice. A second confirmation was requested, “I`m sorry sir, can you repeat that? Did you say that, contrary to my risk assessment, you in fact WANT to be thrown off this bridge? Please confirm”
I could actually hear the little hamster in my head, pack its things and storm across the room, slamming the door and leaving as yes, indeed, the order was to be carried out as instructed….
And next thing I knew, I was flying! I had forgotten the rush of air as it screams past your face on the way down and the vacuum like silence when you are down there, you hear nothing, you smell nothing, even your sight is a blur, every sensation has gone into feeling this. And when the chord tightens belatedly around your ankles and that first sensation reaches you that you have cheated death again, the little hamster hesitantly sticks its head around the door and decides to come back in and start running again as your brain starts to grasp the enormity of what you have done…. again!
It is a feeling so hard to describe, but you really feel like there is nothing you can`t do if you can override your basic instincts and throw yourself into complete and careless abandon. I hung there upside down waiting to be winched up with a ridiculously huge grin on my face (the blood running to my head may have helped though!) as a guy came down to get me back up. He must have one of the truly most amazing jobs ever, listening to us babbling incredibly!
“Hey brother, well done! First time?!”
“No boet (brother), my third!”
“HEY GUYS, ADRENALINE JUNKIE COMING UP! Where you from?”
“Ireland? Small Island! Like Robben Island!”
“I`ve been to Robben Island too, with Sisulu and Mandela”
“HEY GUYS, THE IRISHMAN WAS ON ROBBEN ISLAND WITH MADIBA AND SISULU!!”
They all laughed, as I rambled on about how I had done my time on the island and further impressing them (giving them belly laughters really!) by saying “Nkosi” to anyone that would listen which means “Thank you” in Xhosa (the tribe of Mandela). But you aren`t in control of most of your faculties when you come back up, the hamster is still somewhat in shock I guess!
We bought the DVD, the pictures and got the certificate! Frankly someone could have proposed to me right then and I would have probably said yes too!
We did some zip-lining over these waterfalls and canyons in the afternoon but it was all just a way of coming down easily and avoiding the dreaded adrenalin lows. But that`s it now, nothing more to prove to myself, that`s three done….
but like I said, there is something about that word…. BUNGEE!