Exped 5050 Pt 2
If you read my last blog, it left me having just got over the mentally and physically punishing Macau Tower Climb. With the fear of the metal rungs of the Tower Climb still pulsing through me, it was time to step up (or fall down) once again, and attempt the World’s highest Bungy Jump!
At 233 metres high, the AJ Hackett’s Macau Tower bungy is the highest in the world, having stolen the crown from the Verzasca Dam bungy in Switzerland by 13m.
I’ve stupidly decided that the jump will be less fearful in the dark – mind games are already setting out their stall, as I wait a couple of demoralising hours for my slot.
When the fateful time comes, I get given a full body harness, an obligatory tee (I refuse to remove my Bravery one, so end up wearing both) and step on the weighing scales. Despite being the highest jump in the world, you only slow down 30 meters above the ground so the cord needs to be exact so my weight doesn’t overstretch it.
Once that’s sorted, I enter the ‘jumpers only’ booth. My wife has already witnessed the horror of other people taking the leap, so retreats well out of the way and watches from an ops room monitor.
Meanwhile, I take a moment to pause and remember why I am doing this. I’m about to face my fears and take horrible leap, where there is no safety net to immediately catch you when the adrenaline goes into overload. This fear however, is nothing compared to what many Marines and operators have overcome to perform at the highest level. This is my inspiration for my challenges and why I’m raising vital funds for the Royal Marines Charity and the SBS Association.
I give a final plea into the wrist cam for anyone watching to donate and then step forward onto the jump platform. And Here I am… attached to the bungy cord and as it’s tossed over the side, I feel a sudden tug on my ankles forcing me surprisingly close to edge. The two jump assistants keep a hold of me, trying to offer assurance that I won’t be prematurely dragged into the abyss.
The moment of reckoning approaches as I’m shuffled to the very edge. I try to take deep breaths and focus. A brief look down confirms that it didn’t make blind bit of difference as to whether it was dark or not, it’s bloody clear to see how far I’m going to fall as the ant-like cars crawl around below.
A very definitive countdown from five, tells me that’s its coming and I can’t bottle it. It’s a weird motivation, that having had the support of the Bravery Team with the #50Falls mission, I feel that I’d letting more than myself down if I don’t overcome these demons, and so I dive forward…
To this day, those split seconds of the initial fall are lost forever. The adrenaline has wiped any memory of the gut wrenching moment where gravity takes over. The wind fights with my screams, as to who can be the loudest, as I plummet head first towards the ground at over 70mph.
Then the weirdest thing happens. I’ve been falling for so long, that I actually start to take it all in and for a brief moment, I find acceptance in what’s happening!
The ‘gentle’ stretch of the bungy cord confirms I’m not going to die, as I bounce up and down like a yo-yo. I’m lowered the remaining 30 metres or so to the landing platform, I’m on an incredible high as to what I’ve achieved which manifests itself in overly enthusiastic thank yous to the jump team on keeping me alive.
One of the future #50Falls tasks will take place at the visually stunning Versaca Dam in Switzerland. Many of you will remember this location from the opening scenes of Goldeneye as Pierce Brosnan bungied down the face of it. Once I’ve successfully completed it, it will be a huge milestone in facing my fears, as I’ll be in the fortunate position of having jumped the three highest bungy jumps in the world.
Huge thanks as always for Bravery allowing me to share my challenge progress and for the continuing inspiration and support – Always Follow Your Heart.