Sunday 13 July 2008

10th July 08

Date: 10th July 08
Location: Stormsriver, South Africa
Weather: Wet overnight, clearing throughout the day, cold though…only 18°c
Status: Fearing the day ahead, well slightly anyway!

Had a lie in with Bre and listened to the rain pounding the flysheet for the best part of the morning, then packed all of our things up and waited another 2 hours as Kees and the people in his truck got ready! Things have certainly changed a bit since we were travelling with them last…early morning departures are a thing of the past!

Headed west along the main road to the Bloukrans River and the site of the world’s 3rd highest bridge and bungee jump which drops 216m into the valley below. After spending half an hour looking at the site and the idiots jumping from it, I decided that my fear of heights was too much and I couldn’t do it….but then I kept saying to myself it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and as my best buddy Jay would say “if you don’t go you’ll never know!”

So I paid my money, was strapped into the harness and made my way with Bre, Savannah, Kees, Mo, Emma, Maggie and Brandon down the steps to the side of the bridge. It was here we were offered the chance to take the high wire slide to the centre of the bridge instead of walking along the caged tunnel which is attached to the underside of the roadway above. We all accepted and stood in line waiting for our turn, I was hooked up and loved the side across the valley floor suspended over 200m above the floor of the river below.

There’s around 10 people working on the underside of this bridge every day, with jobs ranging from winch operator to video cameraman and everyday they deal with the vertigo thing, hats off to them, I certainly couldn’t do it!

I had my ankles strapped together and waited in line for my turn, fairly relaxed at this stage, but when it arrived I hopped my way to the edge and felt the fear of god hit me!! Don’t look down Ben just focus on the mountains in the distance!

I dived forwards and swallow dived in freefall for 7 seconds into the valley floor below, bounced a couple of times and was then left for 30 seconds hanging upside down staring in awe at the valley floor below…..the adrenaline was pumping and I was loving it! Once the operator had been lowered down to collect me he turned me the right way up and we chatted quite happily until we reached the drop zone on the bridge again. I was so happy that I’d done it and looked at the drop again realising quite what I’d done…..taken on a fear and beaten it! I love being scared.

That was that out of the way, just the easy walk along the underside of the bridge in the cage tunnel. Now that really was the worst part of the day for me, truly gut wrenching!

Collected our certificates, dvd’s and photos and all headed west along the coast to a horse ranch just short of Knysna for the night.

Scrambled eggs on toast and bed.

End of day location: Knysna, South Africa
Distance covered: 60kms

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