But I felt it was remiss of me not to tell you a little more about some of the fun we had, not just secret roading but on various trips and escapades along the way.
Today we’re going to learn about zipping, stopping and swearing, American-style.
I didn’t really want anything for my 30th birthday. We have lots of stuff and the stuff we don’t have or that needs replacing was likely to benefit from the wedding list (which I also didn’t want, but relented under pressure from, well, everyone).
I decided instead of gifts to ask that if people really wanted to give me something, they make it an experience of some sort, something I can remember and treasure for years to come.
My parents certainly came up trumps when they paid for K and me to go ziplining over the canyons of Kaua’i during our honeymoon. Now that’s an experience!
It was a funky little place built into a giant yellow industrial unit, decked in Tiki-hut-type things and other faux-Hawaiian brilliance.
We met our guides, travelled up to the zip site and received our safety briefing.
Learning the ropes
One of the key lessons we all had to take on board was the techniques used to launch into a zip.
K and I are used to zipping as part of the Go Ape courses all over the UK, where they have straight, taught lines that run from the air to the ground, all in one shot. Get the landing wrong and you get a pant-full of wood chip tree bark.
Hawaiian zipping was a little tamer. The lines are slacker so that the same forces of gravity the speed you up into the zip also slow you down as you come out of it at the end.
This does, of course, mean that you are technically able to get stuck if you don’t have enough oomph to get to the other side.
It’s important, then, to listen to the instructor as they tell you to step, walk, run or run hard off the platform into the zip. Go too slow and you won’t make it, but too fast and you’ll do yourself a mischief carrying too much speed into the other side.
The zipling was incredible; a beautiful, picturesque valley, just enough adreneline to keep you excited, but enough calmness to take in the experience as you were doing it. Phenomenal fun.
Until line 3.
“Just run,” says Misty as I line myself up for my run.
I run. Just run, nothing more. No hard running for me, don’t want to come in too hot on the other side.
I get halfway across and begin to slow down. I see our Hawaiian guide Alan on the other side, frantically starting to throw all his weight on to the line and as I slow down some more, I come to the awkward realisation that I’m not going to make it across.
Alan drops the line and reaches for the rescue rope next to him, but he wasn’t expecting me to get stuck1 so he’s not prepared and the line tangles.
He throws it out to me and it stops an agonizing 5 inches from my hand as I start drifting slowly, slowly backwards.
And I’m stuck.
The only way to retrieve a dangler from the middle of the zipline is for Alan to hop on the line himself, physically pull himself out to the middle of the line, attach the rescue rope to both himself and me and then tow me back in.
It has to be said, Alan was like a monkey – he clambered out to me and had me back on the hard-standing faster than I think I could have managed just to clip myself on. What a legend.
The best part of the whole experience? I was on the only person to get stuck all day. Great work.
The episode did provide us with a little lesson in swearing, however. Not from me, I hasten to add, but rather from my wife.
As we prepared for the next line, watching some of the others jump first, the mother of a party who had joined us turned to K and said, sotto voce, “You know, when he got stuck, you swore.”
Thinking she had just embarrassed herself in front of total strangers, K frantically ran through the situation in her head. What had she said? Did she drop the F-bomb on innocent 14-year-old boys up on the platform while she watched me dangle?
Unsure, she doubled-checked with her accuser.
Now, I’ll admit I don’t always have the cleanliest of mouths, but – in the UK at any rate – ‘damn’ is a swear word on a par with ‘nuts’ or ‘bother’. It’s really not a big deal.
A little later on the trip, after we queued to be the final two on one of the lines, we worriedly asked Misty, our Seattle-bred guide, whether we’d missed something. Should we gather a list of not-swearing swear words to avoid during our trip.
Misty considered this for a second, then asked what K had said.
“Shit, you got told off for saying ‘damn’?!”
Quick afterword: I’ve just finished writing my eBook to go with the site and I really excited about it; it’s being proof-read as I type and it’ll be available – completely free – within the next week or so. To get it first, subscribe to the blog and it’ll land in your inbox a few days before everyone else gets it. Perfect!
Some other posts you might like:
- Top Travel Tips from a Very Happy Honeymoon
- The Ins and Outs (and Lefts and Rights) of Secret Roading
- Flights, economy and postponed blog posts
- it’s usually, how should we say it… the lighter ones who manage it [↩]