I knew that if I came to New Zealand I had to bungy jump, as Queenstown is the adventure/adrenaline capital of the world, and also where bungy jumping all began! However, the thought of jumping off a bridge was probably my biggest fear. I decided to jump off the Kawarau Bridge, which you drive past on your way into Queenstown. I was feeling okay until the hour or so before I was going to jump. I felt a mixture between terror and excitement, emphasis on the terror. My stomach was tying in knots and I was agitated and sweaty as well.
Once I shimmied into my harness the guy wrapped a bath towel around my ankles and attached a few carabiners here and there. I can’t really recall the last few adjustments on account of nerves kicking in. I do remember the guy asking me if I wanted to dive into the water. I told him no . . . and then I heard him yell, “Okay, lots of water! Lots of water!” . . . Because they enjoy messing with you up there.
Once I was all strapped up there was hardly any time to wait! The scariest part was shuffling to the edge with my ankles tied together, (called the bungy shuffle). I remember smiling before taking the leap because I could hear everyone cheering me on and I was also feeling proud of myself for doing it! After I heard the 3, 2, 1, I absolutely did not hesitate. I felt that falling feeling in the pit of my stomach and watched the ground come rapidly to my face. As soon as I felt the recoil I screamed, which I think came from excitement and adrenaline. After bouncing around for the next little bit I was unhooked into a little zodiak boat. The adrenaline was pumping through me strongly at this point, and it was making me sweaty and giggly. I am so glad I decided to take the plunge!
With a bungy jump under my belt, why not a skydive! It had been something I thought about doing before, unlike bungy jumping. Just like the bungy, I could think of no better place to do it than Queenstown. While we were walking around waiting to be suited up, we found life-sized Jenga to keep us preoccupied. Above us there were dozens of parachutes swirling and twirling around – either jumpers preparing for landing or photographers zooming down. The photographers looked like sky ninjas because of how fast and swift they landed. Soon I met my instructor, a Kiwi named Wes. I suited up in no time, gave my pre-dive interview to my photographer, and boarded onto the plane! It was a pretty bad ass plane – it had teeth and a scowl painted on it. In my opinion, the plane ride up was the scariest. Waiting the 12 minutes to reach 12,000 feet seemed to take ages. It was also a very tight squeeze and very loud. At one point the plane door opened and we were going to jump but then they realized that beneath the clouds we were right above the lake. So it took even longer to circle around and find the best spot. I could not stop shaking. From head to toe I was trembling. Despite all these nerves I still really wanted to do it!
As soon as the plane door opened the next time, I knew this was it! I had that “holy shit” moment and in no time Mike and Kieran in front of me barreled out the plane. Wes scooted me quickly to the edge of the door and the only thing I had to remember was to hook my legs underneath the skid. Then Wes rocked me back twice and then out we fell, barreling backwards and upside down from 12,000 feet, falling 200 km an hour. That free fall feeling at first was terrifying for me. Soon Wes told me I could open my arms out and believe it or not your body gets used to the falling sensation. I was free falling for about a minute. After the parachute opened and jolted us to a gentle fall, my ears couldn’t pop because of my cold and it was extremely painful. I was able to take in some amazing aerial views of Queenstown though while floating over Lake Wakatipu. I gathered my breath since it was difficult to breathe while falling, and I tried making my ears pop, but that wouldn’t happen until hours later.
Overall, I feel that the bungy jump was scariest, but the skydive took the most out of me in the end, as the anticipation was scarier going up in the plane and the whole process took a lot longer. Sweet as bro, I did it!