My Hawaiian cliff jumping experience gone wrong

Every time I meet someone new, one of the first questions I usually get is “how did you get the scar on your forehead?” It’s kind of funny – you don’t hear people going around asking “have you always had that huge birthmark on your face?” or “Has your nose always been that crooked?” But I guess the thing with scars is there is always a story behind them, and with mine, it happens to be a pretty good one. It was 2007. 3 girlfriends and I decided we would travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for 2 weeks to explore after graduating high school. This was my first of three trips to Honolulu so I was excited to see how Hawaii differed from other hot destinations like Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I was also looking for adventure.

Going on a hike to the waterfall


After meeting up with our local friend, Carl, he suggested we go on a little hike where we could potentially do some cliff jumping. The area we would be going to would be a local hang out where there was sure to be no tourists. It was also a no trespassing area… how dangerous could it be? I was excited about this adventure! I had never cliff jumped before but it was something I was eager to do.

All smiles before cliff jumping

After hiking into the jungle for what felt like a good half-hour, we found the area we were going to be cliff jumping. It consisted of several jagged rock cliffs and a rope. How dangerous could it be?

Procrastinating while Chantelle made her jump

I was the 3rd to go of the 4 girls. My friends Lisa and Chantelle successfully made their jumps, and Chantelle even jumped twice. As Chantelle was an extremely strong swimmer, I made her stay in the water until I jumped in case I went into shock and started drowning. As I was preparing to jump, I remember feeling like something wasn’t right. Everything about the situation was telling me this was a bad idea now. But I had to do it, everyone was watching! and Chantelle and Lisa made their jumps without crashing and splitting into a million little pieces.

Terrified as I'm about to jump

Boy was I right. I should have listened to my gut but I was all about the adrenaline and new experiences in that moment. I grabbed onto the rope and my feet left the rock side. Almost immediately after leaving the first cliff, I let go of the rope too early, falling around 10-15 feet and hitting the second cliff… with my face. It was a good thing I had lots of adrenaline pumping because it made it difficult to feel pain in that moment. I immediately sat up after hitting the cliff and saw red. After that things were quite a blur, but luckily Carl was able to carry me through the jungle to our car and rush me to the hospital.

Rat pee swamp where I was supposed to land

I ultimately ended up walking away from the hospital a couple hours later with some stitches in my mouth and head, and some surface wounds on my face, arms and legs. I was LUCKY! I could have easily broken my neck or worse… The hospital conducted an MRI to see if any of my teeth had chipped into my lip, but it turns out I was okay, although to this day I still have scar tissue in my lip. All I can say is THANK GOD for travel insurance. If I didn’t have insurance, I would have been facing a hefty $5,000.00 hospital bill.

post cliff jumping wounds

What I learned from this experience:

  1. If your gut is telling you not to do something, you probably shouldn’t, no matter how much peer pressure your up against. Now there is a big difference between not doing something because your gut tells you its not right, and not doing something because you are afraid. Always do things you are afraid to do.
  2. Always travel with travel insurance. Enough said.
  3. Be aware of where the nearest hospital is. If we wouldn’t have been travelling with Carl, I could have potentially died from blood loss. Especially since we were in an area where an ambulance was not likely to find us.
  4. Don’t jump into rat pee swamps. Chantelle and Lisa both ended up with some sort of ear infection for days as a result of it. I guess I was the lucky one :p
  5. Embrace your scars. Every little scar tells a story, and this is one I will never forget.

Posing with the police in Hawaii after my fall

R.I.P Carl Banghart and thanks for saving my life.

You may also like...


  1. That was a really good story! It reminds me of a funny little experience I had growing up. I have a small hole (scar) in the middle of my forehead that kids used to ask me about all the time. It is not as prominent now, but kids can be mean. I used to tell them I used to have a ruby in there but I had it removed… I was too embarrassed to tell them that when I got out of a car and slammed right into a parking meter! My mom always told me.. If you pick at it. It would leave a scar.. I didn’t care.. Ha.. Mothers are always right…. It stayed and I will die with it. It and the memory are with me for life! Thanks for the story Cristie!

    1. Haha that’s a great story Maureen! And yes they are usually right. It used to bother me more than it does now. Now I think it just adds character! Haha

      Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *