Posted by: EPIC | May 15, 2011

The First Australian Coasteers

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About 10 seconds after jumping into the churning salty maelstrom I realised this was maybe not such a good idea.  The lifejacket and canyon pack made it hard to move my arms against the surging white water but I thought “I’m a pretty good swimmer I’ll make it”. It was only when I looked at the rest of the group on the rocks getting smaller and pointing and waving I realised that I was actually being sucked backwards away from the shore. After some floundering and a few lungfuls of sea I made it to Yusi and grabbed hold of his pack so we were bobbing around together.

“Well we can’t get to the beach with this rip here.” said Yusi

“ No I guess not”

“So we’ll have to get back out the same way we came in”

“I guess so”

We bobbed a bit longer. We were actually going wherever the sea pushed us and there wasn’t really much use trying to do anything else. Thankfully we were moving back towards the others.  The water taunted us by surging up and pushing us towards safety and then pulling us away revealing sharp rock teeth. Richard had a throw rope but struggled to get it far against the wind. Eventually after a few failed attempts we got close enough for Yusi to grab the rock and me to grab the throwbag and we hauled ourselves out of the water over the cheese grater rocks and scrambled back up to a higher boulder. Yusi’s legs were all scratched and bleeding.

What were we doing?

Gab and I heard about Coasteering from a magazine on a rainy day in Mount Cook Village.  Coasteering comes from the rugged coastline of Wales. It involves exploring the coastline by walking, swimming, rock climbing, scrambling, and cliff jumping. In Wales there are established routes but as the first Australian coasteers (that we know of) we were making it up as we went along.     

After recovering from the rip we decided to test the other side of target beach and back. This was a lot more fun. There were exciting scrambles between wave sets and up cliff outcrops, some small swims, exploring along cliff ledges and a rusty shipwreck. Probably on a calmer day we would have done more swimming but we did get to use our snorkels and flippers safely back in the calm water of honeymoon bay.

“What do you think Gab? Was the first Australian coasteering trip a success?”

“Well no-one died. It was exciting. We swam, jumped and climbed. I think I’d do it again.” 

Lessons from the trip.

  1. Don’t jump into a rip.
  2. The rocks are SUPER sharp, long wetsuits are essential and gloves would have been nice.
  3. Wear helmets and life jackets (rocks can be crumbly or slimy with crevices full of crabs)
  4. Have a throw bag each
  5. Buddy pairs are a good idea (one person watches the waves while the other runs)
  6. Pick your next safe spot before you get into the wave zone (timing is everything)
  7. Know the tides so you don’t get stuck
  8. We’ve got a lot of coast, get out there and explore!

The crew: Gabriela, Jasmine, Richard, Lauren, Tom, Yusi, and Kirill

Post by Jasmine Rickards

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