Kim's Sabbatical travel blog

With only one day left after my trip back from Manapouri and the Doubtful Sounds I thought it only appropriate to go out with a bang.....

I could not have imagined just how absolutely terrified I would be though when I booked a little "Canyon Swing". As far as I was concerned, I'd jumped out a plane at 15000ft, after this a little jump into a 104m high canyon would be childs play. Not so. At about 9am in the morning I found myself harnassed up and standing on the edge of a platform, 104m high being told to jump sideways, bent over with my head facing the ground. I'd watched the guys before me standing in this position for up to 5 minutes, stepping away from the edge time and time again before jumping....and now I could see exactly why.

What a stupid thing to ask someone - please jump and plummet face first to earth, watch the cliff face fly past you and the river below becoming closer with every split second! It was definitely not something to think about because for someone with a rational brain, this was going against every natural instinct I had to survive. At least when jumping out the plane there was someone with me for safety and there was nothing relative next to me to watch to truly realise how fast you're going...or that you're tumbling straight to earth.

The guys decided to give me a countdown and on 1 I don't know how, but i took a flying leap sideways into midair....and plummeted in absolute terror straight to earth below. I felt and heard myself screaming like I've never screamed before; but then again I'd never felt fear like that before either. Unlike a bungy jump, you don't stop and bounce back up again but are somehow, just before touching the water, shifted to keep going by swinging along the river edge for 200m and back again! How something so absolutely terrifying could be so incredibly exhilirating is another question. By the time I'd been raised back up 104m and pulled back onto the platform I was ready to go again.

The second jump was to push the limit a little bit more. I decided to do the elvis jump. This involved strapping me up so that I was lying face up to the sky and dangling in mid-air about 1m away from the platform - and in this position waiting for them to "pull the plug" so to speak. I arched my back and put my head back ...and they let me go. The sensation of falling backwards, head first was even more terrifying but also that much more exhilirating. It was unblievable.....

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