Leap of Faith

The Muddy Trail

The Big One in the background

Maria’s 19 year old nephew, Josh has joined the good ship Jo-Jo for awhile to travel and experience life on the water before heading off to college. His flight landed at 9pm on Wednesday night, and little did he know that about 12 hours later, he would be jumping from a 35 foot high waterfall…welcome to Grenada!




A bunch of our friends (15 including ourselves from 5 other boats) and 3 dogs, Niko included, hopped in a van at 0’dark thirty (okay, it was only 7:30am, but for Josh, that was early!) and drove the 45 minutes through a national forest to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls.




The Adventurers
The hike to the falls started out easy enough as we walked along a paved road, but it was only there to lull us into a sense of complacency. Suddenly, the paved road stopped, and in its place was mud, lots and lots of mud. We hiked for about 30 minutes down sudo stairs, covered in mud and over tree roots covered in mud. Luckily, we had been given walking sticks which, when planted firmly in front of you, stopped you from sliding down the muck. Finally, we got to a little stream that we had to cross which let us wash off our shoes, and then in front of us, in all its beauty, lay the waterfall.




Super Butterfly
Our guide, dressed in Grenada’s colors of red, green and yellow (including red, green and yellow jellies – you know, the footwear from the 80’s that is still popular in the islands) goes by the name Super Butterfly. He has taken hundreds of cruisers down the Seven Sisters safely, so we all listened intently to his briefing, especially the part when he said if you decide to do the hike to the top, you can’t change your mind about jumping from the waterfalls because there is no other way down. At that point, I looked back at the 35 foot waterfall in front of me and it was looking rather tall. I don’t like heights anyway, and was seriously contemplating not doing the jumps. I made the mistake of voicing my concerns out loud, the rest of the group said, “come on Cath, you have to do it” and I succumbed to peer pressure.




Before the Jump
We took of our shoes and started the near vertical climb up the muddy slope, basically pulling ourselves up by tree roots, vines and rocks. The mud squished through our bare toes and one of the woman on the trek said “ I signed up for a hike, not a mud bath!” We had to climb for about 20-30 minutes before we finally made it to the first fall we were going to jump from. Super Butterfly brought us into a circle and shouted his instructions over the roar of the waterfall. “Come up to the rock, plant your feet as close to the edge as you can and push off hard with one foot” he said. Sounded easy enough. That is, until I stepped up to the edge and looked down 15 feet and saw the gurgling pool I was to jump into. Now, 15 feet doesn’t sound that high, until you are up there and have to jump. I just kept thinking, How am I going to do the 35 foot one? I took a deep breath and jumped. No problemo – first one down.

Shimming Across the Rocks


 




After everyone conquered their fear of the first jump, we continued hiking / rock climbing for about 3 minutes until Super Butterfly brought us to a circle again. This time, he had to explain how to get around a rock / cliff edge. “Just put your one foot here” as he points to a tiny indent in a rock, “put your back to the face of this rock and shimmy across” as he demonstrates going by a rock that has nothing but water in front of it” and then hold on here” he says as he points to a tiny finger hold jutting out of the rock.




“What have I gotten myself into” I keep thinking as I’m shimming across a rock face, adrenaline pumping.





Pretending to be Spiderman
We all make it to the next fall – this one relatively easy as it is only about an 8 foot jump, but the pool to jump into is only about 3 feet deep, so again, Super Butterfly gets us into a circle and tells us we basically have to jump into a sitting position with our legs straight out in front of us so we don’t break our legs. Fantastic. Well, we all do as he says and make it through in one piece.







Me Too

We climb down some more rocks and come to an area that looks like it is the world’s best water ride. White water is rushing down a gulley that has been carved out the rock and is about 3 feet across. Unfortunately, it had been raining quite a bit in the days before our adventure, and the water was rushing a little bit more than usual and was too fast for us to simply ride down. Oh no, that would be way too easy. Instead, Super Butterfly again gets us into a circle and shouts out instructions. “Pretend like you are Spiderman. Straddle the water, putting your legs on the faces of the rocks, like wise with your arms and work your way over the water.” He helped each person, one by one through this part. At one point, he told me to plant my foot hard on a rock so I could take the final step. I tried, and the rushing water almost took my leg out from under me. “Plant harder” he said, and I tried again, and again the water almost took me. “One more time, HARD” he said, I did, and my foot stuck for a moment, I took a big step and made it through yet another part of this crazy adventure.
Josh Jumping





We got to the third waterfall, which I think was the easiest, as it was only about 6 feet high and the pool deep enough that you could dive into it. It was, as they say, the calm before the storm. Not 5 feet from that nice deep pool, you could see what was ahead…the BIG ONE.






Super Butterfly called us to a circle for the final time. “Okay, the big one. On this one, the pool is 18 foot deep without rock around, so no problem. You must plant your foot, take a big leap, hold your arms out from your side to keep your balance, and bring your arms in right before you hit the water.” He made it sound so easy.






I watched everyone else’s face as they looked over the ledge, and saw, for the first time, really how high it was. Everyone’s face showed some degree of fear! Rebecca from the catamaran Zero to Cruising went first. No scream, perfect form, no problem. A few more people went – no problem. Cheryl from Happy Times got up there and made the mistake of looking down for awhile. After about 3 minutes, she decided to let someone else go and then she would go. So, Josh, Maria’s nephew stepped up, looked around, and jumped. After he went, Cheryl got back up like a trooper, looked straight out and jumped.





My Giant Leap
After watching her go, I decided I better go before I lost my nerve. I told Maria and Brandon that I had learned from watching Cheryl that you just have to go up and jump and not look down or think about it. So, I told them to say “1,2,3 Go” and I would go. Legs shaking, I walked over to the edge, grabbed Super Butterfly’s hand for dear life and told him “I’m really scared, so I’m just going to do this quick”




“No problem mon, Just make sure you have a good foot hold.




Time stood a little still. I looked down and man oh man, was it a long way down. I could see everyone who jumped before looking up. I heard Niko barking. Then I looked straight ahead at the tree line ahead of me. I heard the count down and when I heard “Go”, I took a huge leap. My arms were straight out from my side. My mouth was wide open and I was screaming. “This is a long way down” was the thought that came through my mind as I was falling. Then SPLASH I hit the water. My mouth must have still been open because it jammed shut upon impact. I surfaced, and threw my arm in the air in celebration. I had done it – I had conquered my fear and jumped!!!




After the Jump
Mike from Happy Times went next and upon impact, split is bathing suit right up the backside! Maria was laughing so hard, she nearly fell off the edge. She jumped next and her scream started out macho, and ended like a little girl’s at the end!




Super Butterfly was the last to jump, and don’t you know, he did a back flip off the fall.



What a rush.
















3 comments:

jomamma said...

WOW, for someone who is afraid of heights you did great. I couldn't do it. Loved the videos.

Anonymous said...

Awesome adventure, thanks for doing such a great write up! Way to conquer your fear -But I'm sure you do a lot of that anyway.

JOJO said...

Thanks for the support!

You are right - this adventure does push you to your limits and makes you confront many fears, but it is well worth it!