Land Divers of Pentecost Island
Control your horror as you watch the Land Divers of Pentecost Island hurling themselves from platforms that rise up to 30 meters (~ 100 ft) into the air - only to be stopped from impact by vines tied around their ankles. In this ritual that predates bungee jumping by hundreds, if not thousands of years, each spring the men of Pentecost erect enormous wooden towers in each of the island's villages to perform the ceremony known as N'gol - or land diving - to ensure that the gods provide a bountiful harvest. The men climb rickety towers, tie vines to their ankles, and dive to the ground, falling at speeds around 45 mph (72 kph). There are no helmets, nets or safety equipment of any kind. When a dive goes correctly, the person gets close enough to touch his shoulders or his head to the earth – miscalculations have caused death. A New Zealander witnessed the N'gol ritual on Pentecost and brought the idea back to the masses as bungee jumping. Today the ritual has become a tourist attraction with PlanetHoppers! coming from all over the world to Vanuatu to witness the amazing feats of these daredevils. Just don't ask to make the plunge yourself, as this is strictly forbidden to outsiders - ironically for safety reasons. Talk about a double standard!
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- Location: Pentecost Island, Vanuatu