Coasteering is one of those activities which I have been told about many times but never quite got around to doing. So when I saw Exmoor Adventures had a deal on, I quickly filled the four remaining spots with four very willing Coasteering virgins, Paul Worgan, DJ, Olly Christian and myself Tristan Bawn, who were all very eager to get in to the sea.
We headed down early in the morning to Watermouth Cove, our meeting spot with Dan our guide and owner of Exmoor Adventures. We were told on meeting with him that the tide was a big one and that the weather and conditions were perfect for a bit of Coasteering, so we quickly kitted up in wetsuit’s and protective gear. We also donned a pair of “lovely” shorts over the top to protect the wetsuits! This was also when we met the other two guys in our group and introduced ourselves, we had a group of six all kitted out and ready for some some wet, salty fun!
After a five minute walk we arrived at our ‘get-in’ spot and had a quick safety briefing from Dan with handy tips on how to approach the rocky sections. Then we just dived in to the sea, which although at first was a slight shock, quickly warmed up. A brief swim and we were making our way around stunning rocky reefs, jutting out of the ocean in all directions. Almost immediately we were in a secluded spot, just us, the rocks and the sea! This is what we had come for and as our first climb and jump was pointed out, the excitement built. Not a huge jump but a good starting height and an excuse to play with the go pro camera I had tucked away in the life jacket.
I had almost forgot how much fun jumping in to water was, and with the backdrop of the north Devon coastline it was brilliant!
We headed around various rocky outcrops, caves and wild little spots which were all different and required a whole host of skills, including gingerly swimming in to rocks by way of wave power technique! I started really enjoying the jumps and along with star jumps from DJ and Paul and flips from Olly, we really started to get right in to it. It was quite surprising how strong the surge of the sea was even on a calm day as Paul found out when he got sucked back down over a few barnacle covered rocks, scraping his hands, first blood to Paul! We decided to give him a wide birth as he was now shark bait!
It’s quite surprising how buoyant you become with a wetsuit and life jacket on, which is one of the reasons I guess this activity has really taken off, as it opens it up to anyone who wants to give it a go.
It is also one of the activities that allows you to do everything your mum told you not to, exploring what would normally be out of bounds, rocky reefs, climbing up slippery rocks, doing bombs and jumping off them! I did start to feel about 10 again which was a great feeling, well until I miss timed a flip and landed on my backside, reminding me I’m a little older now!
On one of our final jumps Olly suddenly shouted “is that a dolphin?”, looking up we saw at least three porpoises swimming in the rip of the tide heading back out. it was amazing how close they were and we soon found ourselves just starring in awe, and just to top all this off a couple of Gannets joined us, diving in after fish. It was one of those moments when you just think “wow” this is what it’s all about!
Coasteering is more than just jumping off rocks, it’s about exploring the coast up close, seeing the wildlife and feeling the power of the sea!
We finished with a walk back to the car, having made three new friends and having shared an experience that most people just don’t know is out there!
So how can I sum up Coasteering? Well if you like getting wet, enjoy climbing, like exploring, love seeing wildlife and having fun with friends then you might just like this activity!