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Schermafbeelding 2015-09-27 om 21.38.04

My brother is visiting me in Montréal for ten days. He had told me beforehand that I shouldn’t plan any activities on the Friday, as he had a surprise in mind. Turns out, he had arranged that we could go bungee jumping and zip lining! This was his birthday present to me, as it has sort of become a tradition for us to do something for our birthdays that we can tick off of our bucket list. In the past we’ve been skydiving, go-karting and water-skiing, but this has been by far the scariest activity yet!

It took place on a lake, which was about a 2.5-hour drive from Montréal. My brother rented a car and we left early in the morning so we could spend some time in Ottawa as well, which is just 20 minutes away from the ‘Great Canadian Bungee’ site. It was our first time in Canada’s capital and the old-looking buildings on the boulevard pleasantly surprised me. We had a light lunch in one of the pubs, because someone had advised me not to eat too much before bungee jumping for obvious reasons.

The Great Canadian Bungee is situated on a spectacular site as the bungee crane on top of a massive rock overlooks a small lake with aqua-blue water. The Great Canadian Bungee’s goliath is 70 meters high, which makes it the highest bungee jump in Canada. We had to be there 45 minutes before our jump, which gave us enough time to sit down and mentally prepare. We watched three guys jump before us, who all screamed at the top of their lungs. We were then told that we could start climbing up the hill. The walk up was quite intense and now not only was my heart beating from feeling nervous but also from exhaustion.

Luckily, we could start off with the Ripride, which was the perfect ‘warm up’ for the bungee jump. The ripride is a cable of 300 meters, which allows you to zip line across the blue lake. We could choose whether we wanted to be in a seating position, or whether we wanted to fly. We both chose to fly, which my instructor told us was the better choice, as it would let you feel the speed more. The zipline was already quite high so I felt a little anxious. However, I didn’t have to actively jump. Instead, I had to lean against a small door, which slowly opened so that I would glide out. The instructor told me to ‘Fly like Superwoman’ and there I went, with both arms open, wind in my face, across the water. The ride itself was rather smooth, but when I flew over the little island I was supposed to land on, I started to panic a little bit. Suddenly I heard a loud noise and was pushed back and forth, which I wasn’t sure was the normal thing to happen. Then, I slowly was pulled back to the little island where one of the employees was standing to take care of me. Apparently, this was the normal way to break the ride but when I watched other people zip line after me, I noticed all of them started screaming just a little louder when they reached the end of the cable as well.

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We climbed up the hill again, now for the real thing! There were two other men standing on top of the hill, who were also going to jump. Our instructors told us that it’s best not to look down when you’re on top and not to hesitate when you’re about to jump, as it would make things worse. Then, looking at me, one added that it would be ‘okay’ to doubt and that the jumpmaster would help us through it.

We had a few options to choose from. First, we had to decide whether we wanted to fall with the robe tight around our ankles or our waist. Apparently falling with the robe around your ankles was the most exciting experience, however, I wasn’t so sure whether I’d like it because all the blood would rush to your head. As my brother and the two other men straight away said that this is what they would do, I decided not to be the scared girl they already assumed I was, and went along with it. The second choice was whether we wanted to touch the water or not. They couldn’t guarantee whether only our hands would touch the water or our full upper body. As Daan and I didn’t bring dry clothes and it was somewhat cold, we decided not to touch the water. The last choice was whether to jump face forward or face backwards. Although the thing that frightened me most was seeing the surface coming closer to me with tremendous speed, I still decided I wanted to see what was going on and to jump forward.

There were two important things to think of: one, you have to fall with your head first, otherwise your body will flip around and you may experience whiplash, and second, you have to put your hands in front of you in a diving position, in case you do touch the water and you want to break your fall. The instructor told me that based on my weight; I had to be the first to go. I walked to the other end of the crane with my guides. Daan wasn’t allowed to join me so I did not have any mental support and he wouldn’t be able to convince me in case I started to doubt. Daan had told me beforehand that I had to double check whether it ‘was the right time’ to jump because he had heard about a girl in Spain who had jumped before she was actually tight up. Apparently, her guide instructed her that if they would clap, she could jump. However, the girl jumped straight away when they clapped during the demonstration and died…

I could kind of understand the girl because your brain reacts strangely to the nerves. I, for example, thought I would start to worry a lot just before jumping but my mind went blank. I stared at the highway rather than to the floor and just did it when they started counting without doubting for a moment. Actually, my guides counted from 5 to 1 and I already leaned forward at 3… I also thought that I would be worried about approaching the water, but I was just focused on the feeling itself. It was such an awesome but strange experience. It feels completely unnatural, like you’re almost about to trip and want to hold onto something, expect, there is absolutely nothing to hold on to. Also, I didn’t feel the weight of the robe on my legs at all, so it felt like I was completely loose in the air. Then, I started to feel the robe pulling me back and before I knew it, I bounced back into the air for another 60 meter fall, which I felt in my tummy just as much as the first time. In the end, I bounced back and forth a few more times, less high each time, which became a little uncomfortable after a while because of the pressure on my head. I tried to keep my head up by bending my back, which helped.

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There was someone in a little boat waiting for me who helped me land safely and take the elastic off. I heard him count 4-3-2-1 and tried to catch my hands, but he couldn’t reach me so he had to count again… Now I heard him say 2-1-0-minus1-minus2 and I started to worry that during the ‘minus’ I would be dipped in the water after all, as I was getting quite close to it. Then he got me, and he put me in his boat upside down. I think I have a better understanding of what it feels like to be a herring now.

I was happy I got to go first, so I could see my brother jump as well. Although my fantasy kept messing with me as multiple imaginations of a horrible ending of the day were playing through my mind… Luckily, my brother survived the jump safely as well. He didn’t follow the advice not to look down when you’re on top, and started to doubt a little just before he had to jump. When the man started counting down he decided just to go for it. Both of us didn’t scream, which was odd, but for some reason it just didn’t happen. On the way back we were discussing what other things were on our bucket list, but we could not come up with many things anymore. One thing I am not sure I will ever be able to do is watch great white sharks from a cage in the ocean. Although it would be concurring my biggest fear, I previously really did not enjoy diving so I am not sure. I’m open for any bucket list tips though, so let me know! And if you want to watch the video of me bungee jumping, press below

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