A leap of faith – part 1

For someone who is afraid of heights, I can honestly say that I never thought I would throw myself off a 50 metre platform, but that is exactly what I did…TWICE!

Many of my friends went to Cairns a couple months ago, and they all went bungy jumping at AJ Hackett; so I convinced myself that I had to try it too. My parents, Connie and Gary, and I travelled to Cairns for a short holiday at the end of November. My mum is deathly afraid of heights, so my dad and I decided we would take the risk and let mom be the photographer for the day.

We got picked up from our hotel in a colourfully designed van and journeyed on our short drive to the AJ Hackett site. We arrived and filled out our liability forms and weighed ourselves. I was amazed at all of the pictures that filled the walls, at how many people had done this “leap of faith.” With 16 different jump styles, my dad and I immediately began thinking which one we wanted to do. We went outside to the base of the platform and decided we wanted to see a couple people jump first before heading up the intimidating platform, equipped with hundreds of steps to the top. We watched a young man jump and then we watched a young woman freeze on the platform and back down, making my nerves jolt a bit.

My mum was all set up with her camera and video camera, so my dad and I began our ascent to the top of the stairs.

As we were making our way up the platform, we passed the young woman who froze on the platform, tears in her eyes. I began to think to myself, what in the world did I get myself into. As we climbed the stairs, my heart began to race faster and faster. We reached the top and stepped into our harnesses. I sat down on a wooden platform, my dad across from me. The two men working checked my harness and then began wrapping my feet, first with a towel and then with some ropes. I stared at my dad; I knew terror was emanating from my eyes.I stood up. I was jumping first, by choice, which I was now regretting. I waddled to the edge of the wooden platform, toes sticking out over the edge, heart racing, a panicky smile plastered on my face. I looked to the camera and smiled, but inside I was second guessing myself. One of the staff members (I was so scared I forgot to ask for his name) held onto me, encouraging me and telling me not to over think it, just jump, as if it were that easy. But all of a sudden, he counted down – 3, 2, 1. I jumped! And I screamed, the whole way down. I chose to do the classic swan dive and as I left the platform, the most exhilarating, adrenalin-filled feeling came over me. I have never felt the feeling of free falling before, but words can’t explain it.I saw the water below coming closer. I was close to touching it and then I bounced up and back down again, like a kangaroo. I was very shocked at how smooth the bouncing was. Once I stopped bouncing and swinging, a boat came and I was lowered down onto it, my heart still racing from the thrill that I just encountered. I was so proud of myself and I wanted to do it again!I ran over to my mum, shaking with adrenalin. I took the camera and looked up at the platform; there was my dad about to jump. Before I knew it, he was plunging down 164 feet. He didn’t scream like I did; but he isn’t afraid of heights like me either. Afterwards, he strolled over to where my mom and I were, with a big smile on his face. He said he couldn’t believe I jumped, and to be honest I couldn’t believe I did either.

We decided we wanted to try the minjin swing and then we would decide if we wanted to do another bungy jump as well. So we went over to the minjin swing platform, right next to the bungy jumping area. We got harnessed in for a tandem swing and before long, we were being pulled up to the release point, 45 metres above the ground. Once we saw the green light my dad and I pulled the release lever together, dropping from 45 metres to one metre in 3.5 seconds, and reaching a speed of about 100 km/hr! The swing exceeded our expectations and we had a great time doing it together.

To book your AJ Hackett Bungy experience, head to http://www.godo.com.au/activity/AJHB100.

By GoDo intern, Sammy

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