... and I jump.  The teal blue water of the river below is racing towards me.


On Dec 31st, 2009 I booked the Thrillogy with AJ Hackett Bungy, who are the guys who started the whole bungy phenomenon.  For my Thrillogy I would first jump the Kawarau Bridge (43m, 142ft), the site of the world's first commercial bungy, followed by the Nevis Highwire (134m, 440ft) and finally the Nevis Arc which is the world's highest swing.  I had actually planned on going to the Shotover Canyon Swing, but my love of a deal was too much to control so I settled for the Nevis Arc instead.

Forced smile...My thrillogy was set for Jan 1st, 2010 and I felt it would be a decent way to ring in a new decade.  I slept fine the night before and was looking forward to the day in fact.  After arriving at the meeting place they weighed me and we all hopped on the bus to the Kawarau Bridge 20min out of Queenstown.  I packed my bag away before heading to the bridge.  The winds coming across were cool making me shiver a little, but the sun in NZ is always intense and hot.  In the line I chatted with an American girl also in for her first bungy.  We talked until the moment she stepped into the prep bay, and only a couple of minutes later I was sitting right where she was.  The staff were excellent and I asked all of their names, before telling them I was sorry that I was going to forget them in a couple of minutes.  One of them added that I would forget in 30 seconds.

My legs were wrapped in a towel before a strap was put around tying them tightly together, though certainly not uncomfortably.  Attached to that, of course, was a bungy cord.  I was helped up, and at this moment still no apprehension at all as I shuffled over.  It wasn't until I was helped to the ledge and looked down that I, as with any sane individual, felt my brain and body telling me to stop what I was doing and get away from the ledge.  Everything about this moment is about you doing something against all of your survival instincts: 

Dustin, you can't swim, that river is very cold, it is a very long way down and you're scared of heights, your legs are tied together even with an elastic band on the end!Kawarau Bridge - AJ Hackett Bungy - Jan 1st, 2010

I put on a smile for the camera while I listened to 'Killa' count down for me 3-2-1-BUNGY and I just jumped.  All I see is the blue of the river racing towards me and then I slowly and gently decelerate and just come shy of the water.  I bounce up a couple of times before a dingy comes out to haul me in.  Moments later I'm back on shore and it's all over.

As I head up the river bank and back to the bridge I realize how quick it all was and am excited for the next already.  Up top I run into the same American girl who while glad she did it, has no interest in doing it again.

Honestly, I'm looking directly into the sun here. I'm not a helpless fish.A short while later I'm back on the bus heading to the Nevis canyon.  I'm smiling and excited while the mood of the bus is fairly quiet in contrast.  The road up to the jumpsite is pretty treacherous itself and once you get on top, you know it's an entirely different story than the bridge.



Check out Part 2 - Nevis Highwire Bungy