I have to admit, I felt in greater danger being within 20 feet of these animals in the wild than in any of the cities. Thanks to the Kambaku Safari Lodge for the great accommodations and game drives!
And the pictures:
You can check out the posts here:
Here’s the video (all footage taken with an iPhone 4):
And a repost of the pictures:
I apologize for the long gap between posts, but July is a difficult month to sit inside at a computer in Oregon – the weather is great and there are beer festivals and events practically every day. Adding to the delay is the fact that it is no easy task to host your own videos – a necessary supplement to this post. After much research, trial and error, I finally figured it out, so expect a lot of content coming your way in the next week.
First up: the world’s highest commercial bungy jump. Clocking in at 216 meters (709 feet), this plunge is not for the faint of heart. We started off the morning with a short 45 minute drive from our guesthouse in Plettenberg Bay to the Bloukrans Bridge. Arriving an hour ahead of our jump time, we had plenty of opportunity to get to know our fellow dare-devils, and once again the diversity of folks around for the World Cup added to the experience. Argentina, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, India, and more were represented. There’s nothing like knowing you’re all about to do something very crazy to get everyone nervously joking around.
When 10:00 arrived we proceeded with a group of about 25 people down a small hill and onto a catwalk about 100 yards long with only a grated bottom that flexed when we stepped on it separating us from the river far below. The waiting area is actually under the roadway of the bridge, providing shelter from the weather and a great view down the canyon out to the Indian Ocean. A small booth with a combination DJ/video producer inside oversees the action and dishes out what can only be described as high-energy Euro-untz dance music to get everyone psyched for the relatively insane prospect of hurling yourself off of a bridge.
Face Adrenalin’s operation is very well run. Efficient, friendly, and safe are the words. The total team on the bridge is probably close to ten – guy in the booth, two guys dealing directly with the jumpers, several guys on ropes adjusting the length of the bungy cord, and a couple guys who descend via a cable/winch system to snatch the upside-down hanging jumpers after they’ve stopped bouncing around.
The jump order went from lightest to heaviest by weight, so my dad and I were pretty much the last two people of the group to go (hey, you saw all the great food we were eating). The procedure: pad up each ankle/shin, wrap them snugly with what must be an extremely high-gauge strap, attach the bungy cord, and finally a back-up strap hooked into a full-body harness on my chest.
Nervous smile on my face, I stepped out onto the ledge, bobbing my head to the Euro-dance-untz, eased my toes over, looked out to the horizon, heard the countdown, and leapt into thin air. What you’d think is the scariest part of the jump – free falling 709 feet in about 3 seconds – is actually not at all. The cord eventually stretches out, providing a buttery-smooth slow-down before pulling you almost 3/4 of the way back up toward the bridge and then plunging back down again. After a couple minutes of bobbing around, the winch guy grabs a hold of you, clicks you in, and you ascend back up to the bridge.
We all know what gravity feels like, but you really don’t truly get to know that constant of nature until you jump off of a very high object. There is no other feeling quite like it. The adrenaline rush you get in those short moments lasts for hours, and must be the purest unadulterated high known to man.
What an absolutely surreal experience! I just made it to Atlanta and have about 30 minutes before my connecting flight back to Portland, so I don’t have time for more stories yet, but here are the pictures:
We just finished the SAB World of Beer tour and knocked back a few pints. Very high tech brewery tour. Lots of video, some in 3D, animatronics, smoke, and different sets from ancient Egypt to drinking huts in Soweto.
We’re now waiting in traffic on our way to Soccer City. 4p local time, the festivities start at 6:30, kickoff at 8:30. Service is good right now, and I’ll try to provide updates along the way, bit who knows what will happen with 90k people in one spot.
We ended up getting the Big 5! Our last morning included 6 lions, 3 females and 3 males, all in their primes. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being 15 feet away from something that could end you pretty much instantaneously if it so decided.
Gorgeous, Gorgeous hike, and tons of primates:
216 meters – the highest commercial bungy jump in the world. Forgive the blurriness of these pictures, they wouldn’t allow cameras on the bridge, so these are taken by the bungy staff.