By: Natasha Archary
On the last Innovative Date Idea: SCAD freefall post I hinted at the next adventure. In my books it’s the next logical step after a 40 metre freefall. Yup, a bungee jump. We we all booked for our jump at Play At Height – Skybar in Fourways. An enormous metal structure that is 55 metres above ground. It’s half the height of the Soweto Towers’ insane 100 metres but it’s still an impressively intimidating jump.
By now you would have a pretty good idea that there’s nothing I wouldn’t try. I’ve covered an extensive innovative dating list this year, ticking quite a few bucket list adventures off each month. From a hot air balloon safari, X-treme indoor karting, river rafting on the Jukskei, rock climbing, shark cage dive, snorkel and a Thai massage, it’s seems there’s no end to my romance seeking.
My favourite thus far had to be the snorkel experience at UShaka. It was definitely one of the more romantic, adventure dates I’ve been on. The most relaxing date without a doubt was the Kai Thai Erasmia couples massage. In huge contrast, the bungee jump was the one I feared the most, the one I was most stressed about.
Yes! This adrenaline junkie has a fear, at last. In the weeks leading up to the jump, I grew more and more anxious. I found pictures of the Skybar and spent many nights wide awake, with this gi-normous tower playing on my mind. Why did this weigh so heavily on my mind? I mean I spent a good twenty minutes in a tank with sharks for goodness sake. Surely nothing could be as scary as that.
On the day of our bungee jump, my professional plus one and I headed over to Fourways a little after 11 am. Determined to be the first jumpers and beat the queue of eager thrill-seekers. The venue opens at twelve on a Saturday and Sunday, and stays open until nine pm on Saturday and eight on a Sunday.
The height wasn’t a factor for me. My biggest fear was that I would not be in control. I would be relinquishing control to two cables. We are harnessed and straps are attached to our ankles. My partner was all teeth and completely relaxed. Me on the other hand? Queasy and silent for the first time in months. Would this be the one that defeats me?
Ready? Set? Bungee!
Our guides, Roy and Mzoxolo, accompany us to the top of the tower. We ascend in an elevator, the industrial one that jerks as it stops at the top. Cue nausea. We’re high alright. I’m light-headed and ready for a barf bag. But my partner in crime is having the time of his life watching me this uneasy. Was this what he felt like when I proposed the shark dive? Poor thing, it’s a wonder he’s still at my side.
“You okay? You look a little pale.” His voice is comforting but the wicked glint in his eye lets me know that he’s enjoying this more than I am.
“I’m good, just taking in the view.” (Lies)
To my delight, he offers to go first. Thank goodness. He won’t be up to watch me shaking in my boots. Before I know it, he’s on the edge of the platform and leaning off the edge, falling to the dizzying height. I am frozen to the seat I have planted myself on. I cannot believe he just did that. I hear his ridiculous screams and maniacal laughter and I’m flabbergasted. And here I am, the supposed adrenaline junkie, scared out of my wits.
“You ready?” Mzo asks and, although he’s directly in front of me, his voice seems to be coming from so far away.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Honestly, I wasn’t ready. Nothing could have prepared me for this. I’ve been dreading the bungee but perhaps I have been thinking about it too much that I lost the excitement for this adventure.
I’m on the edge of the platform looking straight ahead, I see Montecasino in the distance and focus so hard on the Tuscan rooftops that I don’t even realise I’m leaning forward and losing my grip of the platform. I’m falling. I’m screaming the loudest, most fearful scream of my life.
I always wondered why comic books depict something that’s going at speed with lines on either side of the fast moving object. I now know why. As I fall all of 38 metres, I see is the ground coming at me with such speed that those lines come to life before my eyes. It’s nothing like the SCAD free fall. I’m not falling in slow motion. No this is a lot more ferocious. All the while I’m screaming.
An abrupt jerk and I’m hoisted back up from the recoil and feel my tummy turn. I’m completely ready to throw up. But I need to wait to stop flailing like a rag doll. Finally, I’m being lowered to the safety of the ground below and I start laughing when I hear my guy’s enthusiastic screams.
He’s not allowed to approach until I’m unhooked and unstrapped from the harnesses. This takes too long because all I want is to hug him and let go in his reassuring embrace. I’m so close to tears. Safely unhooked, he’s at my side before I’m able to take a step toward him. Thankfully because my legs no longer work.
Would I do it again?
“Let’s never do that again,” I say, burying my nose in his neck.
“Why? Didn’t you enjoy that?”
“That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And I’ve done A LOT.”
He laughs uncontrollably. “Looks like the student has become the master.”
My silence brings a concerned look to his face.
“Hey! You okay?”
“No, I’m serious that took a lot out of me. I was terrified.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
To be honest, I only went through with it because he did. I did not want to hear him go on about me chickening out and being a sissy after the hell I gave him about the shark dive. So I swallowed hard and just went through with it and as much as it’s over and I’m happy to have experienced it, it was the one innovative date that brought me to fearful tears.
If you’re up to hurling your body off a dizzying height and have a partner who’s up for this insanity then give this a go on your next adventure date. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and it takes everything to go through with it and get out of your own way. This is a fall like no other. Your entire body comes alive with the adrenaline rush afterwards and your legs will work again, give it about fifteen minutes to be safe, but they will.
I think you could say that I’ll be looking at…ahem…more relaxed Innovative Dating Ideas for the rest of the year. My body can’t handle anymore of this daredevil stuff. Let’s just keep that to ourselves.
Sadly, we didn’t take any videos or pictures of our actual jump because we weren’t allowed to take our phones up the platform. It may be a good idea to take a few friends along to do that for you when you go, something we didn’t consider.