For three months of the year, on the remote South Pacific island of Pentecost, the tradition of land diving takes place. A tower is built from timber and vines collected from the hills around the jump site. Jumping takes place between March and June when the vines are strong. The death defying dives are performed each Saturday, or when tourist cruises visit the island throughout these months. The local tribes around Lonohore gather to perform the Land diving as a sporting spectacle for the tourists visiting the island. A vine is tied to each ankle of the divers and the men and boys dive from different levels, some as high as ten metres.
They hurl themselves off the platform diving at the solid ground below and are saved only by the vines which pull them back from the jaws of death inches from the ground.
Land diving is an ancient tradition on the island and is now considered ‘professional’ by the divers who are rewarded for there dives by the money payed by tourists visiting the land dive site. But the money doesn’t go to the individual; it goes to the village of the diver to help support that community. The divers are payed according to which jump level platform they dive off, which ranges from around A$6 from the lowest platform to A$30 for diving from the highest platform.
Down the Stretch Tim Clayton Published July 14, 2008