Saturday, May 10, 2014

Up and down

Yes, you can't enlarge a phone pic this much really without things getting noisy, but I wanted to make it easier to pick out the bungy jumper as well as the orange-suited SkyWalkers on the ring at the top of the SkyTower, all of them adding a bit of adrenalin to a warm, sunny autumn day in Auckland. The SkyJump isn't a bungy jump in the original, Shotover River sense: there's no freefall as such, there's a wheel whining away up at the top feeding out the cables, and then the brakes are gradually applied as the jumper nears the bottom so there's no jerk. They call it a base jump. There's still that moment of committing yourself to the plunge, though, so it still counts as an adventure. Not that I've done it.

I have, though, done the SkyWalk, wearing that fetching orange boiler suit. You can't really see, but some of the punters are leaning out over the edge, as demonstrated by the consciously chilled-out guide. They do it backwards because it's simpler and less scary that way I guess - but it would be fun to hang face-first over the void. Having, as I've mentioned before, no imagination, I'm pretty laid-back about doing these things, trusting implicitly that all the proper safety measures are in place. There was an incident last year, though, when one man somehow managed to unhook the two carabiners that fasten the cables to your harness behind your back, and wandered around loose while everyone quietly panicked and the road below was cleared. He didn't jump, in the end.

The brother to Auckland's SkyTower is in Macau, looking almost identical, and at the top there's an AJ Hackett bungy operation run by a Kiwi, which is all a bit disorientating. There, though, you can also climb up the mast: 100 metres up ladders to the highest point 338 metres above the ground. Now that would be scary - despite the assurances that they have "specially designed harnesses and fall arrest system". Something to skite about afterwards, though, for sure.

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