The Adrenaline Junkie Speaks: My First Bungee Jump
This is the first of many articles I am writing about some of my “adrenaline junkie” activities. Not a lot, but I am adding on all the time!
Bungee jumping (/ˈbʌndʒiː/; also spelt “Bungy” jumping) is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the energy is dissipated.
Bungee jumping was one of the first of the few extreme sports I have tried. I have always wanted to try adrenaline-inducing activities, but I never really had the chance to try extreme sports in my youth. The most I ever did were the rides at the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, and even those are pretty tame by any daredevil’s standards.
My First Jump
The first time I tried bungee jumping was in Koh Samui where I was on holiday with my friend, Sheila, in December 2005. We had gone together on a weekend getaway to enjoy the beach, and while we were there, a visible landmark kept attracting my attention.
I had always found bungee jumping fascinating, but this was a sport that was not offered in Malaysia. I probably might not have tried it in Malaysia either until they had proven zero fatality for three years.
The bungee crane just kept greeting me every time we walked out of our room and into town. And finally on a whim I told Sheila that I wanted to try it out. And she said, “Go for it!”
So we walked over to the bungee jump, and I was relieved to find that although it was manned by locals, it was owned by a foreigner (I can’t remember where he was from, but definitely from the European part of the world). Not that I want to sound racist, but the whites have always placed great emphasis on safety, and I knew that the cord wasn’t going to break under my weight.
The bungee jump at Koh Samui is a tall crane about 50 m high, and we get up to the top of a crane by means of a small lift. Sheila didn’t want to try it, but she didn’t mind waiting for me to complete my jump. In fact, she took a video of my jump with my camera.
The usual safety protocol was followed at the Koh Samui Bungy Jump: my weight and my height were measured, and the gear was fastened on accordingly. I was given the option to get my head wet in their swimming pool, but I opted out because I didn’t want to catch a chill, especially since it looked like it was going to be a stormy day again (it rained every day while we were at Koh Samui!). It didn’t matter though, because it started raining during my jump!
I still remember how I felt when I was going up the lift. Like most people, I have a fear of heights. When I saw the ground dropping away from me, my heart started pounding like crazy and my brain was screaming at me, “WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO???!!!!” Halfway up, I was almost going to ask them to take me down again!
When we got up to the platform, the cord was hooked onto the gear at my ankles, and I stood at the edge. I was quite frozen to the edge, I couldn’t move! It took me several tries… I would ready myself to go, and then suddenly I’d say, “Wait wait wait!!!!!” and catch my breath again. I finally moved on the third try. To be honest, I think the guy kind of nudged me as well, because I’m sure that he was tired of waiting.
It was one of the most exhilarating moments in my life! Feeling the air swoop by me while I was freefalling headfirst to the ground… that was simply amazing. It was something that I wanted to relive over and over again. (Only the jump of course; the ride up the lift still scares me!)
I don’t have a full photo of the crane at the Samui Bungy Jump because my camera could not take the entire shot when we were up close to the crane. But here are the videos Sheila took of me. Poor Sheila had to wait quite a while for me, readying herself with the camera so that she would not miss me jumping. I don’t want to bore you, so I’ve edited the video to cut out the waiting bit. You can see me going up the lift to the platform on the crane… and then my jump! The song is quite recent because this video was edited today. 😀 Yes yes the video editing is very novice-like. Those who know me well know that I can do a much better video editing job than the one below, but I just took the easiest way out by using – you guessed it – Windows Live Movie Maker.