Flying to the sea

Photo by special arrangement

Photo by special arrangement  


Feel like a bird as you zipline through the air with a stunning view of the green Earth below and the crashing waves in the distance

It might not sound like much, 24 seconds. But as I spend them careening through the sky, over treetops and race tracks, towards a sunlit beach on the Coromandel coast, they feel more than satisfying. Wild Tribe Ranch on East Coast Road has named its zipline ride the Flying Fox. But considering how comfortable the ride is, smug cat feels more appropriate. One that ate all the cream, sitting snug on a comfortable harness with a stunning view of the Earth below.

Don’t get me wrong: there is a good amount of thrill involved. But only after I am pushed off the edge, into motion, by a volunteer. Before that, the harness I seat myself on feels like the safest chair in the world, especially since they demonstrate all the locks and clamps before my eyes, and inform me that the cable it hangs from can support up to a tonne of weight. And before that, we have to climb up to a height of 60 feet, taking multiple flights of brightly-coloured steps that offer us a full view of Wild Tribe’s other offerings — paintball arena, bull rides named Jallikattu, an All-Terrain Vehicle track and, most prominently, a gigantic obstacle course with numerous, intimidating components, together called the Devil’s Ramp. There are a number of other things, but once anyone catches sight of the Devil’s Ramp, it is hard to look away. It is atop this multi-layered monstrosity that the bungee jumping launch pad is located, so it is along this that we climb, and climb, till we stand 60 feet above the ground with a view of the entire property stretching out below us, and the beach beyond.

Here, atop a final, narrow flight of stairs, I find the starting point of a sturdy metal cable that will be taking me for a ride. It stretches out into the open, going on and on for exactly 800 feet. As I see the end point across all that distance, three thoughts strike me. First: Thank God I don’t have to run that distance, simply sitting, even at a deathly height suspended by rope sounds so much better. Second: Why is the far wall on the landing pad literally padded up with soft cushions, how hard will I be hitting it? The third line of thought simply plays around with the different, painful, hideous ways in which I would be maimed and/or killed if I fall by some freak accident — a coconut cracking open comes to mind, but you don’t need to know the details. Of course, all this is before the Wild Tribe team gives me reassuring facts about strong cables and tight locks, making sure the only thing that gets my blood pressure pumping is the thought of speeding through the open, sunny October sky. (On an unrelated note, people with blood pressure issues are not allowed on this ride.)

Photo by special arrangement

Photo by special arrangement  


If you want to know about the safety measures and restrictions, here they are: maximum weight allowed is 100 kilograms, even people weighing 101 kilograms are rejected outright. Children, whose weights might be too low to carry the zip to its full distance, are accompanied with guides, who can also help them in case they get stuck halfway. Does that happen often? I ask, hit by a sudden mental image of me dangling halfway, feet flailing mid-air, 400 feet away from the closest point of human contact on either side. I am told that sometimes, the zipline stops sooner than it is supposed to, especially with lightweight clients (oh good, so it wouldn’t happen to me). For those situations, the team has a ‘rescue line’ ready, that they push over to the poor, stuck soul to hold on to and be carefully, safely pulled in.

Easy as pie

I have no need to worry about that: the second I am pushed, I go flying: I see the ATV track pass me by, some coconut trees, a lush, full grown lime tree, and another tree tall enough for me to gingerly pull my feet up, just in case. Before I know it, my destination tower looms up before me, and I smack into that wall of cushions, bouncing back again into the open. They seem used to it, and are unperturbed by me bouncing about like a startled fish: I had expected to land, but here I am, back in the sky again. Calmly — almost bored, really — they pull me back, help me down and out of my harness. And I am free to go, trudging back slowly on dull, solid ground.

Wild Tribe Ranch is located in Nemmeli Village, East Coast Road. Call 9025689689.


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In this column, we hunt for adrenaline-filled activities in and around Chennai

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:07:06 PM |

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