3 seconds of total madness
We were climbing all day on this rocky, steep, dry mountain. It is some commercial expedition for the amateurs of strong experiences. All the way long, the guides were making us hot for a surprise waiting for us at the end.
Completely wasted we finally reach the peak. And…we are buffed by the view: there is no land behind the rock, just blue sky, and endless abyss, and at the bottom dark sea stretches to the very horizon. As if the rock has split in half and the other half has fallen into the ocean. I am surprised at the sea in the first place. There was no indication for this fact before. No wind, no scent, no seagulls. The ridge is very sharp, and there is no space to stand on top. We are hanging with our arms over the ridge, our feet fixated to the steep wall below, overwhelmed with emotions, trying to keep the balance. Looking to the bottom of the cliff at the waves crushing against the rock makes me dizzy. We are certainly 1500-2000 feet over the sea level, maybe more.
I look to the right and see one of the guides standing on the ridge. The very view of him balancing on the top makes me tremble with fear. “Hopefully they won’t make us do this” – crosses my mind. Somebody to the left asks: “How long will it take us to get down now?”. The guide answers immediately: “Just 3 seconds”. I feel reminded of a movie with a similar situation and the same line. But before I can recall which movie it was and realize the meaning of these words, he suddenly takes a swing and jumps down the cliff with a swift, nimble acrobatic turn.
It is crazy. It is outrageous. It is mindblowing.
I am probably not the only participant fighting for a breath in this moment. My mind is shouting: “What!!! What the hell! Is this guy crazy?” We are observing him flying down for couple of seconds and taking a smooth dive at the bottom of the cliff. Then coming out at some rock close to the wall waving at us happily. I can’t believe it! What is happening here?
Still speechless I can see to the left the second guide balancing on the ridge. Smiling, he states: “Well, you can do it too…”
We (the participants) are looking at each other with disbelief. What is this guy talking about? He continues: “Of course I won’t force anybody to do the acrobatic figures, a simple head dive will do!” We are terrified. Is this guy really expecting us to do this? He sais: “Don’t worry. None of our customers got hurt until now. It is just the question of proper preparation. You can learn to do it and then you will do it with ease.”
I think to have heard of the forces acting on your head comparable to hitting on concrete when cliff diving from 100 feet, but here we are at least ten times higher than this. In my head I have pictures of water melons exploding at the very contact with the water surface when fallen from a small cliff. And…I can’t even take a simple header!
I remember myself starting to think about it and trying to figure out how to learn to take a head dive. Trying to somehow picture myself doing it and observing how I feel thinking this.
Time leap. I find myself in a swimming pool. Apparently I came here with the idea to ask the pool attendant to show me how to do take a head dive. What a surprise: I see the guys from my expedition in a row, hands put together in preparation for the jump, moving forward one after another and taking headers into the pool. In my exaltation I have probably missed the announcement of a group dive course given by the guides.
The alarm clock rings. Time to get up. I am so excited to prepare for the challenges I have put in front of me.