Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Plunge

Well come on now, what good are the laws of physics if you don't test them out every once in awhile? How do you know they still work?

Yes, I went bungy jumping. It's not that big a deal in New Zealand to do it, actually, so Amy and I decided to give it a go at the Kawarau Bridge, the first commercial bungy site in the world. It's a mere 43m tall, so no biggie right?

Interestingly I wasn't scared of doing this at all. I think it comes down to the fact that I knew nothing was really going to happen logically, and further I knew I'd done sillier things and am still around to tell the tale. What didn't help though was how everybody was trying to convince me to be scared- out of the 30+ people on our bus only three of us jumped, and the rest was perpetually saying things like "wow, I'm nervous for you!" and "you're not scared? you're sure? why aren't you scared?!?!"

Finally I got a little annoyed by this pestering (even the guys on the bridge were doing it!) and said in an annoyed tone "no, I'm not scared because I have faith in the laws of physics!" Silly line, I know, but it gave everyone something to mull over. It also served the great purpose of not getting me scared by listening to everyone else telling me I should be.

So anyway, the jump! When it's your turn they tie your legs together with some cushioning between them and help you waddle over to the edge. Then you wave to the cameras/ your friends on the sideline for posterity, the guy counts down from five, and you jump. I was actually surprised I did jump when he counted down though- I'm the sort of person who will jump eventually but needs to do it on her own time! Thankfully you're not supposed to look down because if you do so there's a large chance you'll fall forward in a not-so-fun dive because you usually don't take into account that your legs are tied together when you do so.

I have never thought thoughts as quickly as those few seconds of the jump. For the first microsecond (the beginning of acceleration part) I got to thinking that it was a completely stupid idea and I wondered why I was doing it. I don't like Pitfall rides in amusement parks because it's just pure freefall, abrupt, and you don't get to choose when you start falling, and that first little bit was like that. But then I rethought things and it suddenly became the coolest thing I'd ever done. See the great thing about a bungy isn't actually the freefall- the great part of it is the fact that you're tied at your legs so you gradually slow down at the bottom. Then, in an even better move, all the tightness of the cord accelerates you upward, and you repeat the whole process perhaps three times until the cord is completely slack. (At which point you get lowered into the little life raft at the bottom, lie like a tussled chicken while realizing you have massive headrush, and they undo your bindings and take you back to shore.) And the reason this is cool is because it is exactly like what it would be like if you were flying like Superman! How else in the entire world can you actually accelerate upward, do turns in the air, and do it with complete freedom in most of your body?

Ever since I was little, I've wanted to fly. And suddenly I have, and I've been smiling a little about it ever since. It was just wonderful.

More pictures and even a video are coming soon, once I get back to Auckland. But as a final note, if you ever get the chance to do a jump and have ever wanted to fly, I highly recommend you take it. I've never heard of anybody who regretted doing so.

And if you do take a jump don't be scared, even if everybody else around is trying to convince you to be. There's a reason everyone else is watching you jump instead of doing it themselves!


ross said...

You. Are. Nuts.

Anonymous said...

You. Are. Awesome.

Unknown said...

Very cool.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.