I am forever seeking becoming your “brave friend.” Maybe I’m making up for years of being a scaredy cat or what, but I absolutely love to face my fears. I actually have a “Fear Bucket list,” or a F*ck It List, as I have decided is more appropriate of a name. (Post about the idea coming up) This list is filled with things that scary me; or rather, things that I know I can overcome. Near the top of this list was bungy jumping. (Notice the “was.”)
I’m not particularly afraid of heights or of falling; I mean I’ve gone skydiving with zero problems. The main difference though was, with skydiving I was strapped to a professional and where he went I went, I was just along for the ride. With bungy jumping however, the leap of faith was entirely my own. I had to be able to overcome every cell in my body telling me not to throw myself off a building to certain death. I wanted a challenge and this was right up my alley. Before I moved to Hong Kong I learned that just a short ferry ride away was the country of Macau, and this place just happened to be the home of the WORLD’S HIGHEST BUNGY JUMP! I knew this would be my chance.
My 24th Birthday rolled around and I was able to scramble up some supporters who would come and watch me chuck myself off the 61st floor like a sack of potatoes. The price of the jump was a heavy $3,488HKD or $430USD but I saved up and knew this would be a lifelong memory. My package included video, photos, and GoPro footage. So I payed top dollar.
I booked my time slot and began to mentally prepare myself for what I was going to do. The odd thing was, I was much more stressed about the jump days before than when I was mere minutes from the deed. Don’t dwell. Everything will be fine. That’s my first bit of advice.
The trip got off to a rocky start with one person getting sick and another not being able to attend due to a passport debacle. However, two of my friends, Hannah and Nathalie, managed to stick around and we headed off to Macau for the day. A wink at a good day came for the fact that we caught the 11:00am ferry from gate 11 which just so happens to be my lucky number. We arrived in Macau late for my 12:30 booking and I was afraid I may have missed my chance. We quickly hopped in a taxi and sped off towards the Macau Tower. As we were dropped off, this was the only moment when I was filled with dread at the pit of my stomach. “Am I really going to throw myself off the top of this thing?” Well, that same pride that chases the “brave friend” title kicked in and I knew I wasn’t going to let my friends down who payed for tickets to come watch me die. The Macau Tower Bungy Jump is the creation of the A.J Hackett company. A.J. Hackett basically commercialized bungy jumping years ago and is known as the grandfather of the sport. They have been in business for years and have jump sites all over the world and have a spotless safety record. I knew I was in good hands. The jump is 233m or 764ft for all my American readers.
I checked in with the A.J. Hackett people on the ground floor and told them that I was, unfortunately, an hour late for my booking. They made it sound like I was out of luck and they probably wouldn’t be able to fit me in. I was filled with an odd mixture of disappointment and relief. But, as nervous as I was, I knew I was going to do this at some point in my time in Hong Kong, and what better day than my birthday? So I hoped I still had a chance. My pals and I made our way up to the “Adventure Deck” aka the 61st floor where I would, hopefully, be jumping from. There is a lot happening up there, here’s a breakdown of all the adventures offered in HKD:
Full Package (includes Bungy Jump, Certificate, Membership Card, Exclusive T-shirt + Video + Photo in USB) $3,788
Tower Climb (includes Certificate, Membership Card, exclusive Tower Climb T-Shirt, Video & Photo in USB) $1,888
SkyJump (includes certificate, membership card & exclusive T-shirt) $2,088
Tandem SkyJump (includes certificate, membership card 2 persons & Exclusive T-shirt)
Note: 2 persons only, total weight not to exceed 120kg $3,688 per a group of 2 persons
Skywalk (includes certificate, membership card, USB & exclusive T-shirt) $788
*There are a number of other prices available depending on what photos or video memories you want and they have a lot of combo prices if you are interested in more than one activity. The membership card gives you 20% off all AJ Hackett activities world wide! I’m sure I’ll be using that in the future!
I went up to the registration desk and was greeted by the guest relations head, a super nice guy from New Zealand, but aren’t they all? I explained that I was late and held my breath for if they could take me or not.
“Oh, not a problem! Sign here.”
I then got my t-shirt, signed my life away, and payed. It was on. I had no time to think, once my money was out of my hands – so was my life.
“Right this way.” I was led off to the changing rooms to put on the bungy jump shirt and get last minute instructions.
I was then ushered to where I was fitted into my harness and weighed. Once in the harness you begin to feel quite secure, and you see all the other people in line. Seriously, there was a constant line. Lots of people do this every day. I was showed to the jumper waiting area and was told to take a seat. They took my card and I knew it was only minutes until the deed would be done. I was surprisingly calm at this point and getting very excited. I tried not to look down to much but from my little chair I could watch as tiny boats floated far below me on the sea. Once I passed the initial twinge of fear when we arrived at the tower I was fine for the rest of the experience.
I was called out onto the platform with five other people. I was last. I was totally ready to do it after seeing the first three people jump – unfortunately the weather had other plans. A cloud swooped in from nowhere and caused a torrential downpour. We were rushed back inside and told to sit tight. The rain passed after ten minutes and it was back to business. Another jumper gone. I was one person away. Then the rain came back. Dang it. The longer I waited the more antsy and nervous I was becoming. Can we please just do this? I chatted with the other jumpers and we compared nerves level. Finally it was my turn. They strapped on my ankle harness and it was out onto the platform again. Alone, this time.
I was given instructions on how to release my feet after the rebound, the photographer snapped some photos, and I got a GoPro attached to my wrist.
“Why are you so serious now?” asked one of the workers. Yet again, the struggles of having a resting bitch face strikes again. I was perfectly fine but looked stone cold, apparently. I gave a final wave to the cameras and said a goodbye message to my Mum.
“You told you’re Mum that you’re doing this today, right?”
“Um, no. She has no idea.” Which is exactly what she had told me to do if I ever ended up doing the jump.
“Bad girl. Bad girl.” I’m a rebel. What can I say?
I was asked if I was ready and was lead to the edge. This was the point that I tried to not look down much. I really, really wanted to enjoy this and if fear began to show it’s ugly head I knew some of the beauty of this experience would be taken away. I have my life Bible verse tattooed on my ankle: “Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. I repeated this to myself over and over as I got closer to the moment.
I stretched out my arms and gazed off into the horizon. “What am I doing here? Will I be able to let go wh-”
“5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1” They counted down so quickly I didn’t even have time to think. My knees buckled and I was falling.
Since the freefall was a whole 7+ seconds, I was surprised at how many full thoughts I was able to muster. It wasn’t a huge blur like I expected it to be.
“Oh my gosh!”
“I’m really high”
“I just swore! Why did I do that? I never swear!!”
Scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream scream.
And then the rope began to tighten. I was now flying back up. Now I was laughing hysterically. What a rush. Seriously that was the most insane 10 seconds of my life. I began to slow down and reached up to release my feet. I took in the view and drank up the adrenaline filled feeling that was bubbling up inside me.
I did it. I survived. I thrived. That was worth every. single. dollar.
I have a new memory that I can tell my grandkids about someday. Everything that I thought I was going to be scared of didn’t even happen. I don’t even recall feeling the falling sensation. The wind wasn’t extremely loud in my ears like it was in skydiving. Hanging upside-down and releasing my feet were the least of my worries. Even throwing myself off the ledge was easy. Bungy jumping is a lot less terrifying than what you build up in your head. The cord is huge and heavy and the harness is tight and secure. You feel very safe, I promise.
I reached the bottom and was unhooked from the rope. I was smiling from ear to ear as I took in my surroundings. I looked back up at the tower from where I had just been seconds before. Dang, that’s really high from down here. There was a crowd of bystanders nearby, watching. In my mind they were utterly impressed and not thinking how inane I am. I waved goodbye to the cameras and made my way back up to my friends and photos.
The experience is truly indescribable but all I can say is, if you have even the smallest twinge in your gut to ever bungy jump – do it! What a feeling and what insane bragging rights forever! Even though it is the highest in the world, I think the Macau Tower was a great first jump. With the guide cables (in place so you don’t smash into the tower itself) you have little to no whiplash. It’s very smooth and very secure. You literally just sit back and take in the experience. Plus, now I don’t ever need to be nervous about my next bungy (which will totally happen!) because I’ve already conquered the big daddy.
Thanks to Hannah and Nathalie for being great supporters and documenting the experience and the AJ Hackett team for a lifelong memory. I can’t wait till next time!