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Pentecost dare devils

We’ve heard so much about the land diving (Naghol) and from all accounts it sounded like a hoot, so we decided to take the plunge ourselves, not likely!!

Most of you would have seen pictures of the land diving on TV. We were lucky that this amazing display of courage occurs annually on Pentecost Island which is a 2 hour boat ride from our home village Ranon.

Our speed boat ride across was quite rough with 3m waves coming at us from all sides. The currents between the islands can be tricky causing an effect like being a cork in a washing machine. We are both proud to say we didn’t feed the fish!

Once safely on dry ground we found there would be a 4 hour wait so we had time to explore as our excitement about finally being able to see the land diving grew.

At the allotted time we were joined by 9 people from a chartered yacht and headed up hill to the 15m rickety tower made from logs, vines and bush rope where all the action takes place. The soil in front of the tower is cleared of rocks then loosened which apparently helps to reduce the chance of injury.

land diving tower.jpg

What we saw at the Naghol really was an incredible experience. One at a time the boys would climb the tower to their designated diving spot. Two vines would be tied to their legs.

Meanwhile around 40 men and women, boys and girls in traditional dress were singing and dancing and essentially egging the jumpers on.
men singing.jpg

Once tied “safely” to their restraints the jumpers walked to the end of their diving board and went through a series of gestures; back arching, clapping, deep breathes, praying, in preparation for their big jump. We were both really frightened for the jumpers and as they continued to gesture and psyche themselves to take the plunge the tension was intense.
arched back.jpg

Finally when the jumper was ready they would lean forward and plunge at breakneck speed towards the ground. Instead of a smooth slowing like the bungey we know, they reach the limit of the vines and then there is a big crack as there downward motion is halted suddenly and they are flung sideways into the dirt ground.
mid air.jpg

A cheering was raised by the crowd and we were most relieved to see all the six jumpers get to their feet after each jump.

We are both fairly adventurous people but quickly agreed that land diving would never be for us!!

Posted by pippamatt 16:09

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Wow, sounds like your adventures are permanently ongoing! Your blogs are a joy to read. The way I see it - you are storing up memories for tomorrow! Keep 'em coming!

by Sarah-Anne

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