I Lived. So I’ll Tell The Tale.

Boyfriend and I left for Catalina at approximately 4:30AM.  Our boat left at 6:15, which was the sole explanation for that barbaric waking time.  We did, however, receive an unexpected gift for our bravery in facing such a dark morning:  a scarlet sunrise rising beneath the deep and smoky lavender clouds.  The harbor seemed transfixed by that burning sky.

Our zip appointment was for 11AM.  I was nervous as all hell, but it’s really useless to indulge in mindless terror once you’re On Countdown.  When we sat down to breakfast (yes, always hungry) the first thing I noticed was a sign on the wall:  RELAX.  Didn’t work.

If you ever want to do this, you sign up, get your tickets, etc. at Descanso Beach, a little behind the Casino.  Everyone has to Weigh In.  I was so deeply shocked at my poundage that for a few minutes, falling to a messy death in one of Catalina’s hidden ravines didn’t seem so bad.

You get fitted with a harness and a helmet.   There is a 20 minute orientation, 90% of which is spent explaining what to do when something goes wrong.  During the bus ride to the first station my hands were shaking.  With my gear and fear I felt like a soldier being driven to the front line.

Line #1:  500 feet above sea level.  501 feet in length.  I was one of the last to go, but I went before Boyfriend, so he could take my picture.

Hook, Line and Sinker

 I took one step into nothingness and when I felt the harness and cable accept  my (considerable) weight, I tucked into the ‘cannonball’ position – as instructed – and by God, away I went. 

Ready, Willing and Cable

I assumed there were trees beneath me.  An ocean was floating around somewhere over my shoulder.  I was staring at my sneakers in front of me, and at the next station coming at me.  You partially land/gallop to a halt, become unhitched and follow the others to the next line. 

Line #2:  The longest line – 1,045 feet.  About half way through this run, to my horror, a stray breeze caught me and I started to spin.  Thank you, balmy island weather, thank you so bloody much.  Anyway, things steadied, and I continued on.  When I was done here and still among the living I could have allowed myself a handful of confidence, but that would have been foolish.

Line #3:  702 feet long.  This time I was coming in too fast.  I lowered my legs, increasing wind resistance, then tucked back up on my reciever’s instructions, stationed at the next, oncoming platform.  The wind was whistling by me – this might have been the fastest line, when one can propel down those twin cables at over 40 mph. 


Line #4:  892 feet long.  The path shoots over a den of eucalyptus trees which had been trimmed so as not to slice off the ankles of those who prefer to do their hiking while airborne. 

Line #5:  531 feet long.  This was called an ‘easy’ one, so we were encouraged to do a little free-form zipping.   Interpretive zipping?  Don’t think so.

A Grim Grin

And we were finished.  And we were successful.  And we were alive.  And we felt rather fabulous.  And we’ll probably do this again.

That evening, we went to the New Year’s party at the Casino, sharing a table with a rather entertaining couple:  the husband once broke open a champagne bottle with a samurai sword.  I don’t think he said this to impress us, because, frankly, who would want to?

Next morning we had breakfast at a jolly little place which always has a New Year’s Day PJ Party.  I wore my best jammies and to prove that I did this thing, had my photo taken in front of the restaurant.

Toast and Jammies

The object I’m holding is a toy Catalina Buffalo which I bought on the island.  We took it to the party, as we thought it was fitting.  Neither of us ordered buffalo sausage or bacon, just to be polite.

So…Happy New Year.  Face and embrace all that it dares to give you.

Colors Over The Casino


37 responses to “I Lived. So I’ll Tell The Tale.

  1. Wow! That’s just… Wow! 2011 is an Intrepid New Year for you. Well done.

  2. Ziplining AND a breakfast pyjama party? Where is this Catalina place, heaven?

    So proud of you, Aubs, for doing it!

  3. Yay for you!!

    “And we felt rather fabulous. And we’ll probably do this again.”

    Yay for that too!
    sounds like a great time. I’m proud of you. You know you loved every second of it.

  4. Great post! I see people do that and I think that looks like fun, but also sort of crazy. Who would do that? (I’m talking of course about going to breakfast in your pajamas… 😉 )

    Loved the picture captions too!

  5. Oh this is GREAT!
    Wow….your ziplining looks a bit more hairraising than the rainforest zip my hubby and I did.
    And I am SO glad you loved it and you lived to tell us about it! Hee! I love the jammies and the buffalo! Happy Gnu Year! 🙂

  6. You wore red so they could find you in the bushes easier? (Kidding!)

    It really sounds fantastic. But in truth, I’d rather go ziplining than eat breakfast in my pajamas in front of a bunch of strangers. Probably because I don’t wear PJs: I wear whatever grungy clothing I have lying about, like sweatpants and an old anime t-shirt, extra large. I’m unpresentable in the morning and want to keep it that way. 😀

  7. It all sounds fabulous! You must keep doing these things so the rest of us can live vicariously.

  8. Congratulations on not falling to a messy death.

    (I’d also like to point out that two dogs and two cats responded to this post in a row.)

  9. Oh my goodness, you are BRAVE! And I love your pink and white moccasins.

  10. “The path shoots over a den of eucalyptus trees which had been trimmed so as not to slice off the ankles of those who prefer to do their hiking while airborne. ” – lol. Such fun sailing along with you!

  11. I am so proud of you, Aubrey! And not just a little envious.

    You look marvelous zipping and in PJs! Happy new year adventure, dear Aubrey!!!

  12. What an excellent start to the year! You’re far braver and/or crazier than I am.

  13. Way to go Aubrey! I’m sure there was a real feeling of exhilaration at the successful landing. Love your pyjamas!

  14. What an awesome way to bring in the new year. Sounds like a great adrenaline rush!

  15. this gave me a good laugh. I’m such a thrill seeker that it’s funny to read about someone who’s not… at least not while 500′ in the air.

    LOVE the casino pic! LOVE how annoyed you look in the first zipline pic!

    What’s the weight limit? I know I exceed it but I’m wondering by how much. I’d like to add that bit of info to my weight-loss goals list.

    Happy 2011!

  16. Congratulations! You couldn’t get me anywhere near one of those things! RT

  17. Only a little side note. Neurologically they might be a link between early age deprivation of the senses, and a later search for thrills providing a kick sense of aliveness. The connection bridges have been less created and it needs stronger impulses for the same satisfaction effect. That explains the search for “strong sensation”pushing inner limits who would warn us normally, is considered as thrill in certain society’s, like dangerous sport activity’s, “performing” attitudes, “passionate” relationships, watching “shocking” Films , driving dangerously,”drug consummation”, wars and few other aspects of some modern humanoid.

    Trespassing our limits can help us to discover sometimes new aspects in us.
    I simply want to inspire to reflect a bit how our senses who help us to understand our environment and ourself got neglected , and how necessary it might be to feel our warning intuition again, in a world using the resources of several worlds, for certain lifestyle.

    • Yes, sometimes the senses need to get a bit of a jump start. The only problem with this particular adventure was that I was so…nervous/scared/tense that I concentrated more on making sure I did what the instructors told me than on looking about me. And re-acquainting yourself with your surroundings is one of the prime reasons for any type of adventure.

  18. Woohoo! That’s sounds like the perfect way to start the new year.

    I do have one question- did you scream?

    • Only once: when my harness began to twist in the breeze I yelled, “Go GO GO GO!!!!!!!!!!”

      The rest of the time I just sort of screamed internally.

  19. You are far braver than I. That is one fear I am never going to face. I am a coward.

    Go Girl!

  20. Aubrey…I must disagree with you on that one. It might be your visible noble aim to take a risk towards a new experience. But far to many adventures are based on the will to dominate the nature, inside, outside or both at the same time.

    • True. I see many sports that tear through the environment – the adventurers caring only to complete the course and not looking at/caring about where they are.

      Also, there are many thrill seekers out there, ready to command nature, but as long as there is an element of danger or injury, nature will always have the upper hand. When Boyfriend goes surfing, he’ll take four waves, five, but – and I’ve always believed this – when the ocean gets tired of his petty ambitions, it spits him out.

  21. What a way to start the year! The brilliant sunrise at the beginning and the rainbow at the end of your post framed your post perfectly.

  22. Aubrey….you rise up a point there, maybe flowing with inner/outside nature in a new subtle rediscovered harmony can be a greater adventure than trying to dominate her assumed (and partly projected with our own myths!) dangerous side with temerity .
    Instead of conquering spaces, experiencing us as sensitive part of a interactive niche.

  23. Wow, that’s an exciting way to start the new year.

    When I went ziplining it was early spring in Ohio and there weren’t any ocean vistas. No deep ravines, either. There wasn’t a weigh-in, they just trusted us to report our weight accurately. I was so scared I would get stuck in the middle of the zipline and wouldn’t be able to pull myself across. But everything happened so quickly, I hardly knew what was going on. I would definitely go ziplining again.

    Beautiful rainbow!

  24. I’m impressed that you were able to identify eucalyptus while zipping down a cable at 100 miles per hour. I don’t think I would remember my own name.

    Love the pj photo too.

  25. What a wonderful adventure! It sounds like such a fantastic way to ring in the new year. And breakfast in your jammies, what a way to spend the morning after. Congrats on ziplining!

  26. I loved this so – my first trip to Catalina was via sailboat. The task? Convince the Orange Coast College folks responsible that I deserved to be on Alaska Eagle’s summer cruise from Hawaii to Alaska. Somewhere there’s a terrific photo of me on the boat with the casino in the background. Lovely memories.

    And the tiles! Did you – or have you – seen the wonderful tiles there? California tiles are simply the best. I have photos ready to go for a post – much better for me to leave the athleticism to you, and stick with my more sedate memories!

  27. You did all this screaming internally ?? Even more brave, aubrey ! A fabulous experience and a great reward : the New Year´s Day PJ Party. Wonderful pictures and writing, as always.

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