After Googling ‘Things To do in Koh Tao’ and knowing that scuba diving wasn’t on the agenda for this particular trip, I was pleased to see there were quite a few dry options that would keep us busy and entertained on Turtle Island. Have you seen that scene in Sex and the City where Carrie Bradshaw attempts to fly trapeze and fails at the catch but then braves it out? Looks like heart pumping, adrenaline-fuelled fun to me!
I was sold.
After convincing the Sailor to have a go, I booked the session for 5pm where the sun was beginning to allow a little respite. To begin, we joined the owner Gemma, trapeze coach Emily and another two students, then headed straight for the practice bar to try out a rather bendy looking routine. Big gulp.
On the practice bar we needed to:
Hold on with both hands and swing our legs forwards ‘n’ backwards a couple of times. This allowed us to gain enough momentum to swing our legs under the bar and then hold onto it with our knees. Nothing too difficult.
Then we released our arms and swung them towards the floor, arching the back. You may wish you’d tucked your t-shirt into your pants at this point!
The sequence was finished off by [using some core strength to] move your arms back up and hold onto the bar once again (a major sit-up right there) and then releasing the legs to jump down.
“That was pretty painless”, I thought. And apparently it’s much harder on the ground because in the air you experience weightlessness at certain points. “The rest will be a doddle”, I thought. Which may have been a bit of premature confidence kicking in.
Afterwards we were taken to the rig and it was time for the real thing. When I first saw the height of the 10 metre bar I confirmed that “this isn’t so bad.” But it’s not until you get halfway up the ladder that you start to get an idea of how high it is! Everything always looks shorter from the ground.
With my heart pumping faster, I shakily climbed to the top and put my feet onto the metal plank. I was starting to feel like one of Captain Hook’s victims.
Gemma hooked me up to the harness whilst I chalked my hands, trying to absorb- but paying no attention to- the instructions for my first jump.
I was asked to put my left hand onto the stationary pole whilst Gemma pulled up the bar for me to grab with my right. That’s when I was warned that the bar will be quite heavy and not to fear its weight.
Eek. I freaked!
I was a major chicken for the next 5 minutes and full of doubt. I was so close to climbing back down the ladder and nearly convinced myself out of it. Even though I had a harness keeping me safe, I could’t help but think I was seriously risking my life!
Fortunately, I took a few deep breaths and managed to take control of my nerves. I could do this! Plus, I wasn’t going to waste 1’500 baht for being a chicken. Gemma helped a lot by talking me through the steps and making me feel at ease- she’s handled jitter bugs like me all the time.
As Gemma pulled back on my harness, she convinced me to let go of the stationary bar and hold the trapeze with both hands. It was surprisingly heavy. With a little more gentle persuasion, I was more trusting of the bar, the harness and of Gemma’s hands keeping me from letting go.
Then, with the words ‘3-2-1, hop’, I bent my knees, lifted my feet up and hopped off, forgetting all of my training and held on for dear life.
But I did it! Very inarticulately.
They have a saying at the Flying Trapeze adventures: first time for fear, second time for fun.
After the first swing, the rest was history. I couldn’t wait to get back up and complete the routine. It is incredible how fast you progress and after a few attempts, I was ready for the mid air catch.
Once the session had finished, I was left feeling thrilled and pumping with adrenaline for hours. The Sailor, who is not acrobatic at all, did a great job too and loved it as much as I did.
Although we both marginally missed the catch, the flying trapeze did not fail to catch our interest. It was definitely a highlight for us on Koh Tao, leaving us reminiscing about the fun for the rest of the evening.
Flying Trapeze Adventures