Plettenberg Bay: Facing Fears

Monday, and our last day in Plettenberg Bay. What a better way to end this section of our journey than with a bungee jump. Not just any bungee either, the highest bridge bungee in the world. Bloukrans Bridge bungee, 216m of bungee with our name on it at 11am.

So another early start and another rush to get packed and check out before our taxi arrived at 9.15am, in all this rushing Kenny discovered that he has ‘misplaced’ his wallet (i’ll explain later). Anyway with our bags stored away, GoPro ready and charged we set of in the taxi for our 30min journey to the bungee. I should probably mention that Kenny’s barely said a word all morning at this point and he’s practically radiating fear in the back of the car. We finally pull up at the Bungee and get out of the taxi and head for reception to check in, I looked left and noticed the bridge that we’d be jumping off and stupidly mentioned it to Kenny which instantly started the, ‘I don’t think i’m going to be able to do it,’ conversation. Nevertheless we checked in, got weighed (for the bungee cord) and headed off to put our harness on. Harnessed and ready to go the guides let us know we had 40 minutes until our walk down to the bridge so we chilled out in the restaurant which overlooked the canyon and the bridge and watched the live video stream of the current jumpers. I don’t know that watching other people made us feel any better but it passed the  time pretty quickly and before we knew it there was just time for a nervous wee before we set of towards the bridge. Bungee-14-1024x688.jpg

The walk down to the bridge was pretty steep and I have to be honest all that was in my head was “I really don’t want to have to walk back up this hill,”. About halfway down our guide stopped and gathered us together to explain how it would work when we got to the bridge, how they would call us up by our number but it would be in weight order not necessarily number order (i’m thinking great i’ll be somewhere in the middle). He explained there would be people videoing and taking photographs of our jump and how when we were completely harnessed up they would help us to the edge of the bridge with our toes off the edge they would count down from 3-2-1 bungee and we’d jump head first as far out as we could. I’m thinking at this point ‘you’ll be lucky if I fall of the edge let alone jump,’ and I think Kenny was just trying to think happy thoughts to stop him from crying. When the talk was finished we carried on down the hill, once underneath the bridge there was a small walkway that would take us right to the centre (under the road part of the bridge) where we would jump from. Now the walkway was not what I had imagined, suspended 216m above the canyon screwed to the bridge above was this metal mesh walkway that went all the way out over the canyon. The trick is to not look down, I did and my stomach felt like it was about to do 100 somersaults. Kenny’s hands were practically glued to the railing either side and his eyes fixed on the roof of the bridge, he didn’t say a single word all the way there. We finally get our feet on solid concrete again and I looked at him and there was just a look of terror on his face followed by another ‘I don’t think I can do this,’. His terror was short-lived because they called out the names of who would be the first lot of jumpers and guess who was first… Me. I think it was more of a nervous laugh from him but definitely a ‘i’m glad it’s not me,’ laugh nonetheless.

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At this point the fear really started to set in, why on earth had I suggested a bungee jump what is wrong with me, first the shark diving and now this i’m an actual moron. So they call me forward and start attaching all the cables and what not telling me how safe they are and how it they can take 3.8 tonnes. That’s all well and good but my brain is just screaming, “YOU’RE GOING TO DIE, THE CABLES WILL BREAK AND YOU WILL DIE,” So i just sit there and smile (more like a grimace). To be fair to them they do a great job of getting everyone pumped up, theres music going on like you’re in a club and everyones having a laugh and dancing, but when it comes down to it your still stood on the edge of a bridge dangling your toes of the edge. When we watched the video of the jumps after I look like someone who’s seriously regretting their decision in life and you can hear me ask the man if i’m going to die. Then they move me to the edge and all I can say is, “oh my F****** god,” I’ve got my GoPro on ready in my hand and they count down 3-2-1 bungee and then push me off, no jumping from my legs, nothing was working. The first few seconds before you feel the tension on the rope was terrifying I couldn’t even get my screams out properly. The feeling of free falling was terrifying my brain genuinely thought I was going to die. Then the rope caught me and before I knew it I was swinging back and forth under the bridge and I felt a little safer, safe enough to have a look around me at the incredible view surrounding me. Before long Royston appeared beside me and hooked me up to some cables that would help me sit upright and pull me back up to the bridge. I was pretty thankful to get all the blood back where it belongs and out of my head at this point. One quick trip back to the top and my feet were back on solid ground again, (where they belong), I was greeted by Kenny, who was still wearing his terrified smile , who congratulated me and we quickly went back to watch the others. I kept trying to tell him that it was amazing (thinking in my head I would never do it again) to pump him up but I don’t think it worked.


We watched almost everyone else go before they finally called his number, I think he would’ve actually preferred to go first in the end. I have honestly never seen anyone look so terrified as he did getting his cables attached, I thought i’d want to laugh but in fact I was actually more nervous than I had been for my own jump watching him get ready for his. Once his cables were attached and we had posed for the obligatory photos he told me that if he died I wasn’t allowed to date anyone else or he would haunt me. After getting that off his chest he headed out to the edge with the guides. Shuffling his feet to the edge because he refused to bunny hop I could see him taking enormous deep breaths like the worlds oxygen was running out. He stood arms out ready for the countdown, 3-2-1 bungee and then he disappeared. I watched him on the screen as he swung up and down on the bungee waiting for the guy to go down and bring him back up. (It’s worth mentioning that because of the music you can’t hear anyone scream when they jump so it wasn’t until after when we watched the GoPro footage that I heard him scream the whole way down. Not like a little high pitched scream either, a real terrified scream the whole way. I don’t know how he has any voice left now.) Once he was back on the bridge and I was able to give him a cuddle he finally relaxed and we watched the last of the jumpers go before heading back to the walkway to make it back to the reception to watch our video footage. His relaxed mood lasted about 10 minutes until we got back to the walkway where he went back to gripping the railings so hard they left a mark on his hands and refusing to look down or speak to me for the whole way across.

 

By the time we got back to reception and watched our footage it seemed surreal that we’d even done it. It was over so fast! We both bought the footage and photos of our jump (pretty sure neither off us will be doing it again so may as well!) and headed back to our taxi who had been waiting for us all that time. We headed out and back over the bridge we had just jumped off back to Plett.

After we’d had lunch at Ghillies on the main street we headed to the back packers and watched our GoPro videos then we were brought back down to earth pretty sharply when we remembered Kenny had “misplaced” his wallet that had our spare cards in. After emptying our bags and going though everything we found nothing. We checked with reception who didn’t have it and we figured it must have fallen out of his pocket somewhere. We decided that we would do one final check when we got to our next stop in Jeffreys Bay. So we boarded the Baz Bus one wallet down and headed up the coast. We stopped about halfway to get some dinner and as we walked in to the shop my phone rang, it was the backpackers we had just left telling me they had found Kenny’s wallet in the garden. Given the fact we’d only been gone about an hour we were feeling pretty frustrated that we hadn’t found it. But the lady on the phone was super helpful and hopefully one way or another we will be reunited with it in PE either by Baz Bus or courier who knows we’ll wait and find out!

R x

 

3 thoughts on “Plettenberg Bay: Facing Fears

    1. Awwww Mumma don’t be emotional!! It was a crazy whirlwind of emotions I’ll say that but I’m so happy I did it! Little did we know it was actually the 4th highest in the world! Nothing like starting big aye xxxx

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  1. Just read through this properly. My stomach was in knots. Don,t think of holding anything back Ro!!
    So brave, certainly for people who don,t like heights .
    I’m really glad neither if you want to do it again.
    Fantastic experience and such a funny write up. What lovely memories to keep xxx

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