On Victoria Day, my friends Megan and Roxy (and three of their friends) decided to celebrate Roxy’s 25th birthday in an unusual way: Bungy jumping off a 150-foot bridge over the rushing Nanaimo River.
Megan is an old pro at bungy jumping; she’s bungy-jumped all over the world, including six previous jumps in Nanaimo, back when the facility was run by the Bungy Zone. But this was her first time jumping with Wildplay Nanaimo, the park’s new operators. (Wildplay Nanaimo is part of Wildplay Element Parks, adventure parks in Nanaimo, Whistler, Maple Ridge, Kelowna, West Shore Victoria, and Yukon.) It was Roxy’s first jump, period.
I’ve never bungy jumped myself, so I asked Megan to give me all the juicy details:
Megan, Roxy and Co. started their bungy jumping adventure with an early-morning trip to Nanaimo from Vancouver, via BC transit. They took an express bus to Horseshoe Bay, walked on to the ferry, then grabbed a taxi to Wildplay Nanaimo; the park is about 15 minutes from the ferry and the taxi cost about $40. (The only change from Bungy Zone to Wildplay Nanaimo that Megan missed was the Bungy Zone’s free shuttle; now you have to get to the park on your own.)
Upon arrival, the ladies geared up for their jump. “The scariest part of bungy jumping is standing on the bridge, getting ready to dive,” Megan told me, and Roxy agreed. One of their friends actually didn’t make it off the bridge: she stood teetering on the edge, in full gear and attached to the bungy, but just couldn’t bring herself to jump. Luckily, the folks at Wildplay Nanaimo were awesome about her change of heart, refunding her money and helping her down with a smile. (Since a single bungy jump is $99, a full refund for changing your mind is big deal!)
Both Megan and Roxy made the head-first dive. Megan explains, “It’s really fast. You plunge about 100 feet then bungy [the moment when the cord recoils], then you swing back up about 20 feet and bounce a few times. When it’s over, this girl on an upside-down trampoline [a flotation device in the river] raises a pole that you grab and then she pulls you down. Then they bring you to shore.”
Why do it? I ask. “For the rush,” says Megan, who adds, “Bungy jumping is more of a rush than [tandem] skydiving. With skydiving, there’s the dude on your back, plus a backup cord. With bungy, it’s just you.”
For many, there’s something addictive about the rush. “The guy who bungy-jumped before us was an older guy who told us this was his 22nd jump in Nanaimo; he’s been doing it every year for 22 years!” Megan says. “I definitely plan to go back.”
Megan and Roxy memorialized their jump by buying the DVD video, which you can upload to your computer/share on Facebook. They both had one more tip for the uninitiated: “Bring food. There’s no concession stand at Wildplay Nanaimo.”
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