Friday, February 2, 2007

The One with the Bridge Climb

Quite an unexciting flight to OZ -there was only a big screen at the front of the plane which meant I couldn't see the film, and so listened to the Quantas radio instead. I was really restless, so couldn't settle. I guess I was excited, as within a few hours I'd be seeing Mum and Dad. They had landed in Sydney yesterday and we would be spending a week with them!

As the plane landed we had our first view of the opera house and bridge, which was really exciting, and I knew that I had arrived!

It was so good to catch up with Mum and Dad and the four of us spent the whole evening catching up.

The next day we set off to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We are soon kitted out in the sexy grey jumpsuits, with our harnasses and chains ready to attach us to the bridge. We have a quick lesson on all the equipment, and a brief practice, are given our radios so we can hear our guide, and then we are off!

The bridge was finished in 1932 and is 134m high (the same height as the Nevis Bungy in NZ!). Over 6 million rivets hold it together - these were heated until they were white hot and then thrown to a boy sitting out on the bridge who had to catch it in a metal tin, before hammering it into place. Apparantely nearly 20,000 rivets are in the bottom of the harbour!

We walked along the walkway, under the road level (about 50m up) dragging our chain attachments along the metal poles and then had to climb up 4 vertical ladders until we were at the beginning of the arch. From here it just got easier, as the arch itself is a serious of wide shallow steps, and of course with fantastic views of the harbour and the Opera House.
Before we knew it we were at the top. Time for a celebratory photo with Mum and Dad!
Only 16 people died during the making of the bridge and not all of those were due to falling (Which is amazing considering the boys in the middle of teh bridge, doing the rivets, only had a bit of rope tied around their ankle as a safety device!
Most remarkable was a guy who fell from the 50m level (I think!) and survived. He was a diver, and negotiated himself in the air so that he would do as little damage to himself as possible when he hit the water. The soles of his shoes had to be surgically removed from his feet, he had a couple of broken ribs, and the leather uppers of his boots travelled up his legs, past his thighs, and gave him the worst wedgie imaginable, but at least he survived!
Certainly the best way to view the harbour - and it seems that after my bungy, my fear of heights is cured... I wasn't scared at all!

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