Although the scenery at the Heads is stunning, with the powerful waves crashing against the imposing cliffs, I was not focused on the moment. In an hour and a half, we would arrive at Bloukrans Bridge, the highest single span arch bridge in the world and site of the highest bungee jump on Earth! At a vertigo-inducing 708 feet above a rugged gorge that opens to the Indian Ocean, this jump is almost twice the height of the jump at Victoria Falls. After a terrifying experience at Vic Falls, I vowed never to bungee jump again, but I couldn't resist the challenge of the world's highest jump. Maybe jumping out of a plane in Namibia has made me a bit more courageous, or maybe I'm just dedicated to the gung-ho philosophy I have set for myself on this world trip. I am traveling the world because I want to get the most out of my time on this planet. I want to live without regrets. I quit my stable job to go on this trip – surely I can find the courage to jump off a bridge! I've done it once, and even though I didn't like it the first time, most things in life deserve a second chance.
As terrifying as it was to jump at Bloukrans, I preferred it to the Vic Falls jump because I didn't twirl while suspended from the cord. Bloukrans was more about the intense yo-yo effect. In fact, the first bounce at Bloukrans is actually higher than the entire jump at Vic Falls. The initial fall is such a minuscule part of bungee jumping, as it lasts only a few seconds even from a height such as Bloukrans. This is the reason that I find skydiving to be much more enjoyable – the free-fall lasts for so long that it feels like flying rather than falling. Nevertheless, bungee jumping takes more courage than tandem skydiving. The height is more real and immediate, and it is incredibly difficult to work up the will to leap from that platform. In tandem skydiving, the instructor takes the plunge for you – you're just along for the ride. After successfully tackling the world's ultimate bungee jump, I don't feel the need to ever jump again. But I'll never say never.
It was a short distance to the campsite in Stormsrivier, and I felt drained after all the terror and excitement of the jump. In the afternoon, I embarked on a zip-line canopy tour through the ancient Tsitsikamma forest. Some of the trees there are over six hundred years old. For the second time today, I put on a harness, and we journeyed into the woods. There were ten zip-lines strung high above the ground between wooden platforms built around the massive trunks of some of the tallest trees. Any other day, I would have enjoyed zooming through the trees along these zip-lines, but jumping from that 708-foot bridge earlier had numbed my capacity to experience any thrill from these comparatively tame heights. I simply relaxed and enjoyed the tranquil forest setting. After we had crossed four or five of the lines, the wind began to pick up and the sky grew overcast. Half an hour before, there was not a cloud in the sky, so the change in weather took us by surprise. We felt a few cold raindrops that filtered through the dense canopy. We were now focused only on getting out of the forest before we had to contend with a downpour. As the wind grew stronger, the towering trees began to sway and creak, and we had to wait for a brief lull each time we prepared to glide across one of the lines. Every once in a while, we would hear a loud crack, and we had to be on the lookout for falling branches. We made it to the last zip-line just as the rain started falling, and we all quickly slid across and ran to the shelter of the waiting truck.