440 feet above the Nevis

June 25, 2007 - Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand (continued)

Day 15

Its Nevis jump day! After the 45-minute trip to the Nevis river we approach the highwire. The highwire runs from one side of the gorge to the other. A fixed jump pod dangles from the highwire over the Nevis river. Two smaller pods ride the highwire and transfer jumpers to the jump pod in the center. We harness up and ride the small pod to the jump pod. The jump, absolutely insane! With the restricting bungy gear attached to your ankles, you hobble to the edge of a plank, like a bound pirate facing his last breaths. It is hard to believe that after looking down the dizzying drop of 440 feet anyone actually leaves the platform on their own free will. But when the crew member counts, “5-4-3-2-1” you do just that; you leap from the plank as if you were brainwashed to do so. You have to leap to avoid the wind blowing you into your bungy cord dangling below the jump pod. The free fall to the shallow Nevis below is a full 134 meters or 8.4 seconds. Terry later said the ride was too short. I did a second jump to retake the video I missed the first time. Seriously! The second jump is just as scary! Terry was more nervous than when she went sky diving in Hawaii but was all smiles after the jump. After getting a vente at Starbucks, we promptly left Queenstown. The roads that were closed two days earlier due to the storm were all clear and we had easy driving to Lake Tekapo. On the way we stopped at Lake Pukaki for some sunset photos of Mt. Cook.

[Terry: I am sure it was about 3 AM; I tossed and turned until Mark woke up and asked what was wrong. I told him I have been up trying to visualize the 440 feet jump scheduled for this morning. My mind refused to imagine myself plummeting down head first. My feet are kind of small and so how is the bungy cord around my ankles not slip off my feet? What if the jump jars my spinal cord? In this cold weather, the jump seemed scarier. Mark smiled, obviously loving the fact that I am scared of something. Then I swallowed my pride and asked if we can still get our money back if I decide not to jump. I said this half expecting Mark to insist I jump and tease me... but the teasing never came; instead he said sure, we probably can get our money back. That broke the spell. Just knowing that I still have a chance to back out helped me realize I do want to jump. It is one of the things on my to do list. Mine just happened to be the highest jump in the southern hemisphere.

There were 9 jumpers all together and we jumped in the order of our weight. Mark was the third jumper. I went last. Waiting around made me more nervous and I was wishing I had my Starbucks to calm me down (coffee has that effect on me). 440 feet! The rope looked really long. I saw Mark jump and he kept dropping down, down and down; I could have sworn that his rope was longer than the previous 2 jumpers. Mark came up elated and with “tears of joy” as he called it. This made me even more nervous. If the jump made Mark cry, then what would it make me do? I figured I would pretend I am Trinity from Matrix and just jump very gracefully. Pretend that I have some superhero powers, such as flying. Well, none of those thoughts came when I gingerly shuffled to the platform. The key to jumping, advised by other jumpers, is to leap without hesitation. And surprisingly, I did just that. Once I finished plummeting down, the bungy cord jerked me a little. Not nearly enough to jar any bone in my body, but it did jarred me enough to help me realize, yes, I was still screaming. I took a break from screaming and started laughing.]

Day 16

That’s it! That was our New Zealand adventure. Today we drove for a few hours back out of the snow and cold, through greener scenes of cows, sheep, deer, and horses, back to Christchurch. In Christchurch we will take care of some Internet business and to figure out what we will do in Fiji in a couple of days. Our first 3 weeks are still up in the air. We are really looking forward to the warm weather.

[Terry: Mark and I decided 2.5 weeks was too short to cover even just the South Island. We would need at least a month... at the very least!!! New Zealand is definitely one of my favorite places and Mark and I would love to come back here again. Mark said that we spent the same amount on food per day as we did in Thailand. Yeah!]

Pictures

On the way to the Nevis
Terry preps for her jump
On our way back
Mark shoots sunset
 
 

2 Comments

Wendy:
June 25, 2007
congratulations, oh brave ones!
David Basinger:
July 3, 2007
Mark & Terry, North to Alaska for me on a civil cruise. Maybe they'll let me bungee off the bow like you guys. Looks like you're having an amazing time!
Travel safe,
David Basinger
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