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Throwing Myself 134 Meters off the Nevis

Nevis BungySomewhere along my trip I got the crazy idea to do a bungy jump. I didn’t really want to spend the money to do a skydive so I figured bungy jumping would be the next best thing. Little did I know that everyone thinks bungying is harder. You have to jump yourself.There are 3 bungies around Queenstown. We saw the first and original bungy at the Kawarau Bridge. It’s 43 meters high. On the way into town on the bus we stopped for a bit to watch a few people jump. Most of the people looked scared to death. A few were able to dive out like they recommend. The others just fell or hop off feet first. I took away a valuable tip though: don’t jump feet first.I never saw the second bungy but it was on an open ledge at the top of the gondola above Queenstown. The smallest of the bungies, it might be the most interesting because you run and jump and there’s nothing but dirt and rock below you. You can even do it at night.I figured I’d just throw everything I had at my goal and do the Nevis. I had heard it was the scariest thing ever and at 134 meters I believed it. That’s 3 times the height of the bridge jump was had seen. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous as the day before and the morning of the bungy. I was trying to think of every possible excuse to get out of it. Talking to a guy from the hostel that had done it the day before, he had mentioned not being able to do it if you were sick… or was that the skydiving? I had a bit of a cold at this point and would be quite disappointed if I couldn’t jump because of it. At the same time, getting out of it for reasons out of my control wasn’t exactly a bad thing.I arrived at the office to check in and much to my dismay, everything was a go. The weather was good, everything was running, having a bit of a cold couldn’t get me out of it now.There were videos of the bungy  playing at the office and at first I avoided them. I didn’t want to know what I was getting myself into. I found myself drawn to them though and they almost had a calming effect. It didn’t look that bad. It’s only a 8.5 second free fall to a 6 inch deep creek below. I’ll only end up horribly mangled or dead if something goes wrong. No problem.I was thankful for the 45 minute bus ride out of town to the bungy. Anything to put it off a little bit more. I tried to collect my thoughts but only ended up more nervous. An American guy near the front of the bus wouldn’t stop talking. He sounded nervous but was trying to cover it up. Who was I kidding, I was so nervous I could hardly talk.At the Nevis, I had given into the fact that I was going to throw myself from a perfect safe platform 134 meters into the canyon below. We got harnessed up and I checked and rechecked that things were buckled and tight enough. Poppping out the other side of the building, the gondola comes into view.  I was standing on the view platform when a few other people arrived.The order of the bungy is always heaviest to lightest and to my surprise, I would be near the end. The surprised fellow that was to be first came up beside me and took one look at the canyon. He muttered, “That’s bullshit”, and quietly wandered away.6 of us slid over to the main gondola at a time on the small one and got our leg straps done up. I had forgotten about the full body harness I had on but this made it all the more real. It was like having shackles around my ankles. “You’re not going anywhere but down,” they were saying.The first guy got up to go. He looked scared out of his mind. Standing on the edge and looking down he mumbled something and fell off the edge. Wow. After being hauled up to the Gondola and breathing again, all he could say was how cool that was. I didn’t believe him.One of the things they repeat over and over before you jump is to make sure you dive out. It makes for a better video and makes for a softer landing at the bottom.  Almost everyone just fell off the ledge before I went. A couple of fellows had managed a bit of a jump and that gave me hope. What would happen when I got to the edge?It was quite windy the day I went so we had to wait for the gusts to die down before jumping. The fellow holding your harness behind you would say “3,2, 1, go” and then you jump, no ifs ands or buts. The American guy that had so much to say on the bus was very quiet just before he went. His first try didn’t result in much and he was still standing on the edge staring down. The bungy guy gave him a little pep talk and then started the countdown again. The second time was met with more hesitation and was going to pull back but he had gone to far. With wild flapping of his arms, he was gone.My turn. I sat down in the chair, got my feet hooked into the stirrups and was hooked up. No turning back now. Oddly calm, I smiled for the camera and waddled up to the edge. Waiting for the wind to die down I had second to check out the view. It doesn’t look that far down but I know it is.3…..2…..1…. go.I think about doing the best swan dive I can muster and leap.8.5 seconds of screaming toward the ground hardly being able to breathe and it’s over. I’m at the end of the bungy. I’m not dead, I’m not mangled, I’m quite happy actually. Happy that I didn’t freeze. Happy that I jumped well. Happy that it’s over.On the second bounce I reach up and grab the strap that releases my feet and then I’m hanging out in the sun waiting to be lifted back into the Gondola. A round metal contraption hurtles down the bungy and clips into the attachment above me and starts the slow ascent. I felt like Neo in the  Matrix being hauled up into the ship.For the first time in 2 days I can actually think clearly. I’m not constantly worrying about what the bungy was going to be like. There was still lots of things to do on my trip and they hadn’t even entered my mind after I started thinking about the bungy.It scared me half to death but it was one of the best things I’ve done on my trip. I’ll definitely be looking for more of those to do!Check out the video to see what it was like.[gmap]