Jungle Surfing at Cape Tribulation

Trip Start Oct 27, 2007
Trip End Oct 27, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Sunday, October 28, 2007

What great fun - even though I have a fear of heights!

We were collected by the tour operator from our accommodation and taken a short drive to the Jungle Treehouse harnessing area where they fitted our harnesses and provided us with helmets and safety equipment.

We climbed the short set of stairs to the first platform which was only 2.5 metres above the ground - no drama this isn't so bad I think.  The guides check your safety harness and asked you to step off the first platform - no problem as it's not too high.  You are winched up to the next platform, which is 12.5 metres above the ground.  This is where the fun (and a bit of fear) starts. There's no turning back now though - once you've left the first platform you're committed!

I look back at my son (12) who is about to leave the first platform.  He looks a bit worried but sees me looking and smiles then steps off.  He's hanging there suspended in the air with a stupid grin on his face, which threatens to split his face as he is winched towards us.  No sign of fear at all. He's loving it.

At the second platform, we go in pairs so my daughter (15) and I are next to go.  She offers to go first (I'm relieved - a short respite - I'm NOT looking down).  She slides off the platform and hangs suspended 12.50 metres above the ground - she's smiling - I don't know how- My heart is about to pop out my ears - I'm not wanting to do it -
But it's too late to change my mind.  The guides check my harness (they do this every time) and ask me to slide off the platform.  I sit on the short silver slide with my legs hanging and think the worst.  I am so scared and don't think I can do this. It seems like minutes I just sit there but it's probably only seconds.  My daughter is hanging there saying "Come on Mum, it's easy" so I close my eyes and just slide off.  It's pure relief when I feel the harness take my weight and I don't fall.  I open my eyes.  Danielle laughs at me at tells everyone that I closed by eyes.  Next thing we are flying through the tree tops.  It's fun. Whoo Hoo.  Too soon we are at the next platform, a metal grate surrounding a huge tall tree. They help me on the the platform then unclip me from the main line and clip us to safety leads attached to the platform.  Safety all the way.

I look down. Straight through the grate to the ground far below (it looks more than 19.50 metres). Big Mistake!  The guide tells us that the platforms are environmentally friendly and are not attached to the trees - How are we staying up I think as my knuckles turn white holding the railing - Next thing the whole platform shakes as the next "flyer" leaves the preceding platform.  The guide tells us that the platforms are held up by an engineering masterpiece and it's all friction and pressure.

I'm the only one with a camera so my photographer brain kicks in and like a maypole dancer I move my anchor line over and around the others on the platform to get a better position to take photo's.  I stop fretting and start taking pictures of my husband and son as they fly towards us but I'm still holding the railing tightly with one hand!
It gets easier from here on.  The next section is the longest.  I slide off the platform no worries or pause. I had my eyes open too.  The guide asks me to put my arms out.  Until now I've been holding the rope beside me so tightly although I'm told it doesn't make any difference.  I only hesitate a second before I stretch my arms out wide then bang - he releases me and I zoom above and between the trees.  Wow.  I'm moving fast but still have time to appreciate the view of the ocean over the trees and the beauty of the rainforest.  A bird flys close to my shoulder.  Wow.  I'm enjoying this.

At the next platform, the guide points out the green ants and gets us to lick them - lime!  He also points out a fern which is over 100 years old.  I'm having a good look around (not down) now and enjoying the view.  I can hear a creek or river but can't see it.  It must be under the canopy of trees. A few more photo's (the camera strap is tied to a carabena which is attached to my harness) then it's time to go on to the next platform. 

I don't have any hesitation now and as the guide says "go" I slide immediately but he quickly says "not yet" but it's too late I'm already in motion.  I have a millisecond of fear before the harness takes my weight and the guide laughs.  What a joke to play on someone with a fear of heights!  But now that I think about it, the fear has gone, my heart rate is normal again.  Without being asked I put my arms out to feel the wind in my face and the speed of the decent to the next platform.  This is unreal, I am really enjoying this.  It's a feeling of freedom, excitement, exhiliaration and what a great view too.
On the final decent, we are told to flip backwards and upside down.  I lean backwards so I am lying horizontal but as I lean back further, I catch a glimpse of the ground and think that the camera is going to hit me in the face.  I just can't bring myself to go upside down. 

It's my son's turn.  He's asked if he wants to go upside down and I hear him say "Yes, I want to beat my mum". Off he goes upside down no worries as does everyone else in the group, except my nephew (7) who has a special kids harness and imitates Superman. They won't let me forget it in a hurry that I didn't go upside down!
As we climb down the stairs on the final platform, I am regretting that I didn't try harder to go upside down and I'm also disappointed that we have finished already (it really doesn't seem like 2 hours have passed) but I am also proud and excited that I overcame my fear of heights and most of all exhilarated by the whole experience. 

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