Angel and the harness

By | Category: Travel rumblings
this is what lurks below

this is what lurks below

In Florida, Gatorland is a popular destination for British tourists. Based in Kissimmee, it houses more than 1,800 crocodiles and alligators but it also has what is called the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, which has just been recognised as one of the top Zipline attractions in the world.

And I know why it is called “screamin.” As does a certain man called Angel who is one of the “experts” who makes sure your harness is correctly fitted before you step into the unknown.

It’s because Angel decided that my harness – which goes around both legs separately and then is attached via a yellow cord from the crotch was wrapped twice making it tight. Very tight. Any tighter and I would be singing falsetto!

Whilst others ziplining over the crocs looking up from below might scream from fear, adrenalin or just mild excitement, I felt the urge to just wince as the water welled up in my eyes.

zipline tower

one of the zipline towers, built near the water so you can see what’s underneath

In fact it is part of the act that Angel and the others working on the zipline do. They talk to you as soon as you take those last steps before you leave the security of something solid under your feet. The more the talk the less you wonder about what happens if the harness breaks. It takes your mind off what is about to happen. And the waiting between the different lines makes you slightly nervous so the chat is an integral part of the fun. And after a few times they know who they can push a little farther and who is still nervy.

There are five different ziplines that you travel on in Gatorland. The first doesn’t go over crocs; the rest do. But the most interesting one is the one that is under construction at the moment. It is for those who are impaired in some way. The attraction has decided that everyone should be able to enjoy – if that is the right word – the opportunity of winging over the land below so those in wheelchairs and with other disabilities will soon be able to join in the fun.

And it is fun. It might start off with you wondering why on earth you agreed to do it and then suddenly you are messing about as you fly; you flap your arms imitating the vultures that sit on the nearby trees. Did I not mention that these black hooded, food opportunists hover above the park in the hope of a quick snack and that the ”experts” will mention that they haven’t eaten in days?  And neither have the crocs or gators.

Diane zipliningg

You see. It is enjoyable!

You’ll wave and take both hands from the harness and make spread-eagle patterns before the minute or so that it takes to make each pass ends and you stop and wait before moving to the next in the increasingly longer or steeper lines.

Allowing for the safety instructions, the donning of the kit and the helmets, it took eleven of us about an hour to undertake four of those five zips. But the time shot by. As did the landscape underneath! No gator food from the eleven of us today!

For more about Gatorland, click here.

For more about Kissimmee, click here.

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