Sorry Mom!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
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Trip End Aug 01, 2007


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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, December 18, 2006

He Said:

Back in Victoria Falls there is a bungee jump off the bridge spanning the Zambezi River, which forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. I chickened out on that one, but I'm not sure why. For some reason I have always been curious to try it and despite encouragement from Katie to give it a go, I guess at that point I lacked the nerve. Fast-forward a few months to a few days ago when we were talking to the owner of our guesthouse in Hermanus. He casually mentioned that there are a few bungees along the Garden Route, so I did a bit of research. Turns out that the jump from the Bloukrans Bridge just east of Plettenberg Bay is the highest in the world, at 708 feet! So I figured I'd never get a better chance at redemption.

We drove out there this morning and I must say it looked intimidating. A crowd regularly gathers at the side of the canyon to watching a people jump. After seeing a few drops and hearing gasps of "ohmigod!" and a variety of other statements questioning the jumper's sanity, I figured if I sat there any longer I'd talk myself out of it again. So I signed up, put it on the AMEX and figured I couldn't back out now. Katie is afraid to even go on a roller coaster so getting her to do it with me was an impossibility.  In fact, she decided not to even go out on the bridge with me figuring she'd have a freak out on my behalf. During the walk out to the jumping platform on a metal causeway with slotted flooring (that you could see the full 708 ft down to the river), I knew she had made the right decision... I was scared just looking down and seriously questioning my own sanity at actually paying to do this!

I watched a few other people get strapped in looking pale, jump off, and get winched back up with huge grins on their faces. That didn't do much to alleviate my anxiety. By the time I was strapped in, my hands were clammy, heart racing, legs shaking and was seriously afraid. All that aside, the guys running the show did nothing but inspire confidence.  They helped me hop out onto the platform, and I put my arms out and they counted down, "THREE, TWO, ONE, BUNGY!!!" and took their steadying hands away and much to my own disbelief, I actually leapt.

There was a full four-second free-fall before the bungee cord started slowing me down; I couldn't even get a scream out until after the first bounce. Five or six bounces later after I stopped swinging a guy was lowered from the bridge, he hooked a cable onto my harness and up we went. It was amazing and like no other rush I have ever felt, a combination of extreme terror, mind-bending thrill, and pure exhilaration. I'd do it again and highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you are afraid of heights!


She Said:

When we pulled into the parking lot of the bungee place, my heart nearly stopped when I saw how high the bridge was.  I honestly did not think that Todd would go through with it, and I was SHOCKED when he pulled out the credit card and handed it to the lady behind the counter.  I was so panicked about the whole thing that I thought it best not to accompany Todd on the bridge walk because I would only freak him out more.  There was a great viewing point from one of the cliffs near the bridge that I waited nervously to see my husband fling himself off the world's highest bungee jump.  However, I must say that it was a truly professional and high tech operation... 9 or 10 guys working the bungee cables on the bridge, guides to walk the jumpers out onto the bridge, people with official looking clipboards and headsets milling about, and a nice restaurant and bar with viewing area.  I thought about having a few drinks to calm my nerves while I was waiting, but it was only 9 am.

Two guys came up beside me and started chatting while watching the first of the jumpers in Todd's group.  They were saying, "Wow, these people must be crazy!" and "I bet that really hurts your back and gives you whiplash," and my favorite "I would never to that because it could give you a compression spine injury."  I finally turned around and told them to shut up and they were only making this waiting thing WORSE!!  

When Todd came up on the platform to jump, my hands started shaking so bad that I could barely take photos.  I honestly couldn't imagine what was going through his head!  I was so relieved when the bungee cord actually sent him flying back up!!  Check out the video I took of his jump... it is a bit long (1 min), so if you have a slow connection, don't even try to open it.

So we celebrated Todd's big leap by going to one of the Garden Routes' biggest tourist attractions (or traps)... "Monkeyland".  I'm really not kidding... it was located next to "Birds of Eden".  We actually paid $14 each to walk through a monkey sanctuary...it was kind of a let down after all the big thrills earlier in the day.  The highlight was one of the tamer monkeys getting into the lobby of the place and running off with a handful of brochures from the counter!  Ha!
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Comments

ashwebb
ashwebb on

HOLY CRAP!
Todd - you are my hero! Congratulations on the jump, man. An experience you nor KT will EVER forget! I think I gasped about 10 times watching the video. What an INCREDIBE view you must've had. KT - you deserve props for not losing it. Miss you guys!!

ldecker
ldecker on

This is MOM
Todd and Katie: I have great comfort in the fact that Katie did the routine safety check and noted that the people running the jump had 'official looking clipboards' and headsets on! That gives me reassurance as my knees are shaking reading this. Thank you for not telling us beforehand that you were making this leap of faith. The lemur and monkeys are enough adventure for me. Dad loved the story and laughed all the way through it while I was in disbelief. Thanks for thinking about us. Love you, MOM and DAD

aurangabad
aurangabad on

merry christmas!!
hey kids merry christmas to y'all!! i just had the office xmas party at my loft on wed., and everyone was in fine christmas spirits (incl. gin and vodka!). i just had an email from pete, who is stranted for 12 hrs. + in newark airport as continental airlines overbooked and he's being bumped all over. he's trying to get to houston to catch a flight to rio where he will join his beloved juliana for the holidays, should he have any success in boarding a flight. it's 98 degrees F. down there and he can't wait! manhattan is INSANE with crowds, xmas shopping, etc. but i kinda enjoy it. i have a bunch of dinners, parties, to go to, and am having a dinner here at the loft sunday night for family (ukies from new jersey) and friends. on wed. i board my cathay pacific flight to hong kong/bkk, where i will land and i'm going down to ko chang in the gulf of thailand for several days of sun, swim, motorcycle, in the warm turquoise waters of the gulf of thailand. i see on the internet the weather there is 92 degrees F, just my speed, with humidity at 90%, which i LOVE!!! it feels like friendly soft velvet on my skin!! i'm then taking a ferry to southern cambodia, sihanoukville, kampot, for more beach, and then up to phnom penh to dine with friends (frenchies) before going up north to see some of the more obscure khmer temple sites in cambodia, laos, thailand. you guys have quite a tan from the looks of it, and you both look relaxed, refreshed, enlightened, and have a twinkle in your eyes (of course, though, you always DID)! i swear we're the luckiest people in the world!! i just wanted to say merry christmas to you guyz, and i'll drop a line from the ancient kingdom of lanNa in northern thailand! gene

aurangabad
aurangabad on

the jump . . .
hey todd that jump looked absolutely amazing!!! it's high on my list of things to do. if i ever run across one i'm def. doing it!! after the hang-gliding in rio, i think i was meant to soar! it has awakened stuff deep in my DNA ribbon. in my next life i wouldn't mind being an eagle--at all!!

merry christmas!!

gene fedorko

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