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DAP 03-05-2008 11:36 AM

I was wondering if anyone has done this excursion. We are a party of four, one being an 8 yr. old boy who does not meet the height requirements. Does anyone know how often this runs and how many lines they have. (The Land Excursion Desk was not very knowledgeable over the phone.) Obviously we will have to have one of us go separately and then my son will be able to stay with us and watch from the bottom. Is this excursion scarry or just fun? Is is possible to book it after we are there and see it or should we definitely book before we sail? Thanks for any ideas! Dawn

msharmanshaw 03-05-2008 01:29 PM

My husband and 15 year old son did this in December and absolutely loved it. You can book on the island after you get there. They make you sign a release waiver and then return at your appointed time. From the time my husband and son left me, they were gone about an hour and a half. It was not something where I could wait with them. They practiced on the small version and then got into a "jeep" while they rode up the side of the mountain and saw the real Haiti. Once atop Dragon's Breath, they were rigged up and sent flying over the ocean. I want to say three, maybe four lines stretch across the ocean. When you finally touch ground, you are back where you started. If all of the adults are interested, maybe you would be interested in having 2 people go in the morning while one of you stay with the 8 year old and then have the last one go in the afternoon while the other 2 stay with the 8 year old. Another option might be if the 8 year old wanted to play with other children and stay with the Adventure Ocean Staff in their water play area. If I recall, they were available on the island from 9:00 - 11:45 and then again later in the afternoon maybe 1:00-3:00. I'm not positive on the times; however, I can dig out my cruise compass if you are interested. Additionally, I will have my hubby provide further details if I left anything off. Hope this helps! I know he thoroughly enjoyed it!


msharmanshaw 03-05-2008 05:46 PM Hey's the husband here..Long post, hope you're ready:

The Dragon's Breath flight line was both scary and fun; honestly it was absolutely amazing and one of the highlights of the entire trip. My son and I are already planning on a second flight when we go back to Haiti this December. This time however we will have the new helmet cam with us (my wife is convinced I bought it just for this!). We do have some great pics from the excursion so if you want to email us I'll be happy to send them to you. You can also see several videos of others "flights" on YouTube. Just type in "Dragon's Breath" and enjoy. I think there is about 10 or so videos (some are better than others).

We originally were going to book it before the cruise but were hesitant and actually didn't even sign up until we were on the island. I can tell you if you go this route book early as we recieved one of the last remaining spots of the day. You start off at the flight center at your appointed time, sign your waiver, and wait for your group to assemble. In our group of 15 my son and two other teens were the youngest and it varied all the way up to someone's 60th birthday. Every "shape and size" and age group was represented. The only set back we had was a few members of our group did not speak very good English however the instructors translated very well. They were VERY knowlegable and did thier best to make sure everyone in the group was comfortable with what was to follow (not to mention female, from Australia, and were very easily able to keep my 15 year old's attention the ENTIRE time.)

You are issued a harness and strapped in during the brief. Being ex-military the straps seem a little thin but trust me, I'm a big guy, they'll hold. You then take a short walk (lot's of stairs) to the "Little Dragon" for a practice jump. The platform here is identical to the setup higher on the mountain and the team goes over all of the safety and jump procedures once again. This setup has 4 lines and you move through the exercise fairly quickly providing eveyone in the group is paying attention. I must say that the jump teams take thier jobs very seriously but make sure everyone has fun. Although they explain the "brake procedure" it was alot more than I was expecting on the first jump, it slings you back a bit so hold on tight.

After everyone is done your board a "Jeep" and drive down the beach to a checkpoint. Once through the gate, you see a little bit of the real Haiti before heading up the mountain. It was an eye opening experience for my 15 year old to see it. As you look forward of the jeep you see a road that goes up, not just up, but STRAIGHT UP. the driver revs the engine and the land rover climbs it with ease. If you can sit on the left side of the jeep; about halfway up the mountain you can see a portion of rail that has been repaired and if you look down (I dare you!) you'll see a big red bus twisted among the trees below you. My son held on a little tighter after that. The ride up is not bad at all and you have an amazing view of EVERYTHING at the top so have your camera ready. You break out of the treeline and into a guarded parking area and you can see the tower bridge directly in front of you.

You walk up the plank and out onto the tower, the view from the top is UNREAL and absoultly BREATHTAKING. This is the point where you look down and realize just how high you are. The bigger tower has 5 lines and depending on wind conditions, size, and weight they will tell you to "starfish or torpedo" make sure you listen to these instructions because this is what determines just how fast you go. Come in too "hot" and you're in for a good jolt at the end of the run. You are again divided into launch groups and assigned a "run". When it is your turn you are safety strapped to the platform and step out to the area with no safety rail in front of you. It is at this point where several members of our group pondered not making the jump but the "collective" convinced them otherwise. When you are up there, there is NOTHING between you and the front of the platform and it is a total adrenaline rush. You "sit" into your harness (inside tip: sit once and then adjust, lots of straps in odd places, need I say more?) and are secured to the launching system and prepared for release. When it's your turn you are given final instructions and released.

The first few seconds are totally frightening but that goes away in a matter of moments. You reach about 55mph VERY quickly and besides the whirling of the guidewheels, it's just you, the ocean, and the wind. Once you settle in and start taking in the expierence it is totally exilerating. At about the halfway point I saw the person on the line next to me hit the landing zone and as thier feet touched the water I realized it was high tide. Yup, I'm getting wet. If you're light no worries, but like I said I'm a big guy and my feet were kissing the surf at the bottom, it was actually kind of neat and I couldn't help but enjoy it. The brakes again give you a jolt at the bottom and there is SO MUCH adreniline piping through you you can't help but jump off the line and start slapping everyone high fives.

Hope this post helps you and others who are hesitant; do not miss out on this once in a lifetime expierence.

DAP 03-05-2008 08:40 PM

Melissa and "husband here"!! Thank you so much for your very indepth description, which my daughter and I just read and will re-read again and again. This excursion sounds incredible! I am very glad for all the details, which do sound a bit scary, but now I feel I need to do! I love the helmet cam idea! Just watched some You Tube videos and it looks amazing. Thanks again for your replies!

Loralee814 03-05-2008 08:45 PM

Yes, great replies- told me everything I wanted to know about this activity! My mom (DAP) and I are completely excited now Although I must say the helmet cam idea sounds great- I imagine I might be hanging on for dear life besides!

msharmanshaw 03-06-2008 03:53 AM

"Husband here" again:

No worries; happy to help and encourage others. I tried to get a fews pics from the excursion to post to the site but couldn't get them to load just yet. If anyone would like a few sent to them please feel free to contact us through the site. I'll watch the thread and try to answer any questions the best I can.


DAP 03-06-2008 09:35 AM

Hi Richard - Did you happen to receive my email on the private post last night so you can send some pictures? If not, I'll try again. My daughter and I want my husband to read your posts tonight so he can see what this is all about - your description was sooo vivid. My son, the 8 yr. old, loved the You Tube videos! Also, how did you like the Mariner? We leave on the Mariner April 6th!!

Valeries220 03-06-2008 10:06 AM

I am considering trying the zip line on my trip but after reading this I am not so sure. I have a problem with heights so the description of the platform might freak me out. I would think once over the water it wouldn't bother me as much. Do I need a lot of strength to hold on or does the straps pretty much hold you up? When you land is it going to hurt if I am going too fast? It sounds like a once in a lifetime thing to try but now you have me thinking.

cubs720 03-06-2008 10:22 AM

Thank you for the information I really had wanted to do this after seeing it season after season on the Amazing Race. We will be in Labadee in May and I plan to do this!! This excursion sounds like an amazing experience

msharmanshaw 03-06-2008 01:40 PM

Dap- yes, I did. Sorry for the delay. New to the site and notification system so I missed it at first. They should be sitting in your inbox as of a few moments ago….Enjoy!

Valeries220- Sorry if any of my description has you second guessing but I wanted to be honest about my experience. The tower is just over 500ft high and the length of the zip line runs just over 2600ft long. On the way to the top you are on a (very poorly maintained) road / trail but covered inside of the tree line. Your fear of heights honestly shouldn’t kick in until you (see the red bus or) start to exit the Land Rover and walk out onto the main platform. There are full rails all the way out and you are not unprotected until just before they place you on the line. At that point you move through the rail one at a time and are safety tethered to the platform by your harness system. As much as I joked about the instructors in my main post I must say they are VERY professional and patient with everyone. The harness actually does all of the work. Once you’re secured to the line you hold onto a bar above your head or your side straps just for added stability. They will let you hold a camera provided it has a good wrsit strap but nothing around the neck for safety reasons. After I launched, I let go and just enjoyed the overall experience. Your harness system is actually just like a seat (best way I can explain it) you are strapped at each leg, your waist, and chest. There is no possible way it’s coming off of you unless you take it off. Your instructors will check and re-check you at the brief and both platforms. I am not saying the heights won’t affect you but once you launch all the fear goes away. Like I said, our group covered all ages and abilities and I can tell you that even the hesitant was grateful for the expense at the bottom. The braking system is not as harsh as it sounds; it and the harness do all the work but if you don’t hold tight at the end it will shift you back a bit. It is a spring compression system on the end of the line. When you hit it, it compresses upon itself and brings you to a stop. You don’t actually touch the ground until you stand up and are removed from the line to the yelps of “Ya Man! You meet god up there?” The landing crew is A LOT of fun! Again, sorry if anything in my post scared you but I am sure if you ask 10 other cruisers, each of us would have a different experience wit the zip line. Personally I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Cubs720- yeah I saw it on amazing race as well but never thought I would have the chance. Well worth every breathtaking moment.

Again, pics available if anyone wants them! Happy Cruising-

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