A Taste for Adventure

By Alicia Pettis

Literally, Falling into 2017!

We woke up a little later than normal on the first day of 2017. 8 am wake up, and breakfast at 8:30 am, to be able to catch our ride to our very first adventure in 2017…bungee jumping!

It just so happens that bungee jumping is on my bucket list. It was pretty good timing for me to check this off on the first day of 2017. 

The bucket list keeps getting longer as I get older, but the original was most just adrenaline pumping activities and things you can’t do before you’re 18, like skydiving (20th birthday activity) and getting a tattoo (still haven’t done this, maybe I won’t ever?!).

We got in a van that took us to the location, which was closer to the mountains and outside of the city area. We were jumping with AJ Hackett’s company. He is infamous for bungee jumping off the effiel tower and then getting arrested for it. We knew we were in good hands with this company because they had a spotless safety record and their founder was obsessed with the sport.

When we got to the location, there was this great sign that made me laugh.

We got inside and signed our lives away, which we were used to doing by this point. All the activities had waiver forms that needed to be signed, just in case.

I was doing the “Mingin Swing” first with a friend who wasn’t bungee jumping. Our previous tour manager said it was best to start with the swing because it was a good warm up for the bungee jump. Just enough adrenaline, but nothing compared to the jump.

We were the first to go, out of the group. My friend was a bit more nervous than I was for the swing. She isn’t an adrenaline junky, like I can be. I was ready to “hold her hand” and make sure she had fun, even if she was terrified.

For the swing, we were hanging on harnesses, with our stomachs to the ground. Basically, we were pulled back and then released, swinging back and forth.

The supervisor of the swing gave me the lever to pull when we made it to the top. We were slowly pulled back and up, into the jungle area. We could see on the ground a red light that would turn green when I was supposed to pull the lever to release us. As we went up, I definitely started to feel the fear washing over me. It was a lot higher than I had relaxed…

We clicked into the top and my friend screamed, thinking we were falling already. But, I hadn’t gotten the go ahead yet. I saw the green light and then the supervisor give me the thumbs up. I yanked the lever as hard as I could and we began to fall. My friend gave the biggest “freak out” scream, I have heard. I screamed too, it was fun!

We felt our stomach drop as we fell, just like a roller coaster. When we made it to the height of the other side, she asked to get off, but this time there was honestly nothing anyone could do. We were going to swing back and forth until we slowed down and the supervisor could stop us.

I tried to keep her calm and having fun, for the rest of the swings. By the time we stopped, she was smiling and seemed like she enjoyed the experience. We got a great video, which is pretty epic.

Next up, was the bungee jump. I was feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, after having completed the swing, which was going to be nothing compared to falling straight down from a higher platform.

The supervisor of the swing advised that I down a beer before going up and not to look down before jumping. I do not like beer, but I thought alcohol could be a help.

Both my friend and I got some coronas and relaxed after our heart racing time on the swing. We had a front row view of people jumping off the platform, towards the still water. They would scream and bounce a couple times, before a staff member would go out in a small raft and pull them into the raft and bring them to the edge of the pond.

While relaxing and also skiing myself up to up, one of the other group mates was up to jump. She was terrified! We couldn’t tell exactly what was going on, but it seemed like she was crying and have panic attack like symptoms on the platform. They took her off the jumping platform for a little, probably sitting her down to relax, before she reappeared of the platform again. She was still clearly freaking out, but this time she did jump. She screamed the whole time and seemed slightly relieved when she got pulled into the raft.

This whole situation did not help my confidence, and I could feel myself becoming more on edge. So, I decided I would go up and jump before my rational mind talked me out of jumping off a platform 100 meters off the ground, towards a pool of water.

As I climbed a stairs, I gave myself a little pep talk. Trying to remind myself why I was doing this and how symbolic it was the “jump into 2017.” I just had to jump, that was it. Easy!

When I got to the top of the platform I met up with a couple other group mates who were about to jump. I watched as the platform staff harnessed them in and got them ready to jump. There was an intricate pully system used to make sure the person fell only a certain distance.

When my group mates were ready, they brought them to the jumping platform and didn’t give them much of a chance to turn around or think about it. They just said, to just jump. I thought that was truly the best way to do it. If I looked down or gave it a second thought, I might not take that leap. At that point I wished that they would push us, but where is the fun in that?!

I watched a few of them jump pretty effortlessly, so I felt better knowing I was in good company of people who were building my confidence in jumping.

It was finally my turn. I got on the harness and they began to strap my legs together and attach everything. At that point, I was just focused on making sure they did everything for safety, just as they had done for everyone I watched before. They asked I wanted to touch the water and I though “why not” so I said “yes.”

They stood me up, and guided me as I waddled with my feet wrapped together to the jumping platform.

I did my best not to look down, and look at the ocean view from this high point. But, they asked that I get my toes to a certain line, near the edge, so I did have a look down. It didn’t freak me out, but the sight did remind me of how high up we were. They did the same “verbal push” that they had done with everyone else. They counted down and said “jump.”

In the most unnatural thing, I leaned forward and fell off the platform (you can’t really jump with your feet tied together) and fell head first towards the water. My stomach dropped and I screamed, before barely touching the water and bouncing back up. By this time, I was laughing a little, feeling relieved after making the first drop and bouncing back again. I bounced a couple times, before slowing enough for the staff member of the raft to come out towards me on this pond and helped me grab a pole, while still hanging by the cord upside down. He grabbed my hand from there and they lowered the rope, so I would land my back on a pad. My blood was all pooling in my upper body, since I was upside down, which was an uncomfortable feeling. I was happy to be lying down in the raft. He brought me to the edge of the pond and had me step out of my harnesses and such. My hands were still shaking from the adrenaline rush, so I had a tough time getting the harnesses off. When I finally did, I stood up slowly, to not get a head rush or any thing. I walked out of the area and towards the viewing area and got a few claps, like we had been doing for all the jumpers.

My heart was still racing a little and I felt energetic after completing the bungee jump. It was a good feeling! The first thing I really wanted to do was watch my video from the GoPro that had been attached to me. I headed to that area and watched my awesome video, which was a great takeaway from the experience. Something fun I could show my family and friends.

I then FaceTimed my parents, since we had wifi there and told them of my jump. They both laughed and remarked how they thought it was a little crazy. Happy New Year!

We watched everyone else jump and chilled out before leaving to go back to the hotel.

I was exhausted when we got back and would have preferred to nap for a while, but I had signed up for whitewater rafting in the afternoon. I was supposed to eat lunch, but just snacked, before taking a 20-minute nap.

Another friend who was going whitewater rafting woke me up to go to the lobby to catch a bus to go to the river. I was zonked, completely out of it most of the way through the bus ride, getting on the gear and floating during the first part of the trip.

That was until we hit some serious rapids (not sure what number it was on the rapid scale, but I know the max we would see was a 3). Almost falling out of a raft will wake you up real fast.
We finished down the river with a much more awake Alicia.

After an exiciting ride down the river, we took our boats out of the river and changed out of our soggy clothes to head back to the hotel.

We had a great group dinner ahead of us! We got all dressed up, and I took my first selfie of 2017…

We headed down to the harbor to an Australian restaurant. We had the chance to decide before hand what we were going to eat. One of the options was none other than a kangaroo.  Being in Australia, I thought, “why not?”

This was the kangaroo main dish (entree in Australia means appetizer). The kangaroo was like beef, only a little more gamey.

For dessert we had the Australian delicacy, pavlova! I’ve made this dessert before and absolutely loved it. It was awesome to be able to eat this yummy dessert in its home country. The dessert was named after a famous ballerina.

We had had quite a few late nights on the east coast so far, so we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow, we had a long day of driving ahead of us before we would get to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands.


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