Bungy jumping from 216 m / 709 ft in South Africa (Part 2)

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Bungy jumping from 216 m / 709 ft in South Africa

For a split second it felt like I was floating in the air, as if nothing happened, or as if time froze. Then I awoke…the wind was thundering. The intensity of the experience was totally insane. It was going so fast it felt like space and time warped around me. The ground approached me ridiculously fast. The trees, became bigger, and Bigger and BIGGER.

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The feeling of being in mid air, without touching anything, was such an unknown feeling. An experience unlike anything else. It is like committing suicide, just without the dying part.

Suddenly, I felt the tension of the rope, above me, stretching. The stretching extended throughout my body, and I felt the pressure of all my blood rushing to my head and as if it was going to continue through my eyes.

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Bloukrans Bridge seen from below.

For a split second I was still in the air, the thundering wind had changed to a soft, gentle breeze. Everything seemed fine, and calm, I looked at all the treetops and was wondering how close they were, but it was impossible to estimate. And then I felt the rope pull me back up – with incredible force.

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Everything got smaller and smaller until everything stood still for a brief moment. Then I once again plummeted towards the ground, with the wind thundering in my ears. I don’t know how many times I bounced up and down, but it gradually became less and less each time, until I was just hanging upside down, 50-100 m/165-330 ft, above the treetops, the big rocks and the river.

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Once again I tried to estimate the distance. I was preparing myself for the wait. This moment I had been really scared of, before the jump, but was strangely okay with now that I was here. While dangling from a rope, from a bridge and whirling around in the air, too far above the ground, there was, surprisingly, some kind of calmness about it.

Perhaps it was the satisfaction and realization of what I had just done, that made it all alright. The beautiful view, the wind blowing in my face and the sound of the wind in my ears was somewhat nice. But the fact that it felt as if my feet were about to slip out of the harness, was quite worrying. I kept my feet at a 90 degree angle and tried to tell myself it was just a feeling and that it wouldn’t happen.

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After a few minutes of hanging upside down I heard a voice above me, “Hi, how are you?” I didn’t really know, but knowing he was there to pull me back up made me happy. The fact that I had just jumped from the bridge and it was all over once I was back on the bridge felt fantastic. I could let go of all the tension and fear. I could relax and be happy.

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He attached me to the, seemingly way too thin, steel wire he too was attached to, and unhooked me from the bungy cord. Then after a while he pulled me up so I was in sitting position. I was so happy and grateful when I touched the bridge again. The ground felt so solid and safe.

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When walking back, from the bridge, I was still scared of the 216 meter drop below me. I had thought that after the jump, it would be less scary to walk in midair – it wasn’t. But this time I was walking toward safety and permanent, solid ground. How lovely the solid ground suddenly seemed.

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Such a relief! Notice how red my eyes are. Everyone looked like that when they came back up.

While walking back, there were several people from the next group, who were holding on to the rail in panic, while trying to take another step on the bridge. Kids were crying and too frightened to move anywhere. I was so happy it was all over for me.

A thing I realized later about my fear was that it wasn’t so much the fear of dying. While falling toward the ground I didn’t think I was at risk of dying, for some odd reason, it was the lack of control that was terrifying. Because I wasn’t really worried if the rope would be strong enough. But the feeling of being helpless and unable to do anything – to lose control – that was perhaps the most scary thing.

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It is probably one of the experiences I am the most proud of and happy that I did. It was so unreal, and such a big feat, for me, to do this jump, and I will have that experience with me for the rest of my life.

Check out the video of the bungy jump:


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