Edit Blog Post
Published: March 3rd 2008
I got back to London last night after probably one of the best weekends of my life in terms of outdoor adventure and scenery. Rachel, Jordan, Jackie, and I went hiking, surfing, and coasteering. According to dictionary.com, coasteering is a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft and may include Climbing, scrambling, sea level traversing, jumping and diving. And yes, it did include all of those.
We took a bus to Pembrokeshire, which is in the southwestern part of Wales, along the coast. We did all of these activities through Perseli Venture. The trip included our lodging at Perseli, homecooked food (yay!), transport from and to the bus station in Haverfordwest, and our three sessions. We arrived at the lodge and got settled in our room Friday night and there was hot food waiting for us in the common dining area/bar after our seven and a half hour bus ride, greatly appreciated. Saturday morning we woke up and went on a seven mile self-led hike along the coastal footpath. It was absolutely breathtaking and I could feel my spirits
lifting in presence of the sweeping cliffs, crashing waves, and wind off of the water. Along our walk, there were lots of hills, we were right along the edge of the cliffs much of the time. We passed Welsh ponies, flocks of sheep (who ran away when we "Baahhed" at them), stone walls, gates, and just wonderful little fields and views of the coastline and water below. I spotted some deer tracks and pointed them out to the girls which prompted a bit of a laugh because Kara and Brittany had previously decided that if I was an animal, I would be a deer, so Jackie responded with, "The deer would spot her own kind." Rachel led the way most of the time; we've started calling her "Mama Duck" and we are her ducklings because she always has everything figured out and takes care of all our travel arrangements. I kind of enjoyed taking my time in the back and soaking in the surroundings.
When we got back to the lodge, we ate lunch and then donned winter wetsuits, wetsuit gloves and boots to go surfing. Our instructors were Steve and John and they had us practice catching waves
just laying on the board and then we worked on trying to stand up. I managed to get one foot and one knee on the board and I am determined to give surfing another go at some point, hopefully this summer. I was very cold before we got in the water and when we got out to change, but not cold at all in the water once I got all the way wet and the water between the suit and my body warmed up. Getting changed out of the wetsuits and our bathing suits after surfing and coasteering was a pretty big challenge. First of all, they were hard enough to peel off without falling over, then it was freezing, and you had to manage not to give everyone else changing an unexpected show. It was pretty entertaining though.
Coasteering was our group's big finale on Sunday. We put the wetsuits (still wet from the previous day, brr!) back on and added our trainers (sneakers), helmets, and buoyancy aids before setting off. Steve and Matt took us out to a beach next to an area that used to be a quarry along the coast. We had to make our
way along barnacle encrusted rocks, grabbing onto them with our hands and feet as the waves were washing up against us. Then we had to jump in and swim to some more rocks before we got back in and let the waves swirl us around in between two sets of rocks. We had a belly flop contest at one point (mine was lovely, I'm sure), and then swam into a little channel that led us to a more protected and tranquil cove where the points for us to jump from were. The water was a gorgeous deep greenish color and Matt said that the water there was about 100 feet deep. The first point was very small, we just practiced keeping our legs straight and our arms close to our bodies so that we wouldn't get hurt jumping from the higher ones. I did a front flip off of the little one, it was fun. Then came the big ones. The highest point was probably 25 feet, and that was good enough to get a little bit of adrenaline going. You could get a running start and do a long jump off the side. It was incredibly exciting. We all
felt pretty accomplished and a little sad that our adventures were over at the end of the session.
After lunch and packing, we headed off on our return journey to London. I was really a little sad to be leaving Wales already, but happy that I was still going back to England. The bus ride home was painfully long, but the adventures that we had were well worth the long trip. I am sooo glad that I had the chance to experience all of this. We all saw a little pink cottage for sale right down the road from Perseli, so we're all dreaming of going in on it together and having a getaway house in Wales. Maybe someday; I know that I would love to go back.
(MORE PICTURES FROM COASTEERING TO COME-getting our waterproof camera developed!)
Tot: 2.307s; Tpl: 0.06s; cc: 11; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0638s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb