By Steven Bochenek
Imagine climbing and leaping from cliffs into the Atlantic surf, then being buffeted helplessly about by whirlpools and tidal currents. Now imagine doing it safely and laughing yourself breathless.
Invented in Wales, coasteering combines extreme sport and environmental consciousness-raising amidst the cliffs of the achingly beautiful Pembrokeshire coast.
Death-defying alone, it’s perfectly safe with protective equipment and a local guide who reads the ecologically sensitive coast like a big-print hymnbook.
It requires wetsuits, lifejackets, helmets and trainers (which may not return home after their experience in the sea).
Though physical, coasteering’s not overwhelming. If you can walk Disneyland or the Louvre for a morning, you can coasteer. (My 11 and 14-year old daughters loved it.)
The experience should be on every thrill-seeker’s bucket list, right after driving the Welsh coastal roads. An adventure in itself.
Driving there is just as terrifying.
Where we stayed:
Our day began 20 miles up the road in St Brides Castle, the former country estate of a wealthy Victorian industrialist with delusions of grandeur. St Brides is just one of dozens of culturally interesting private hotels the Holiday Property Bond owns throughout the world.
Only members of this British-based vacationers’ club can rent apartments there by the week. They’re completely self-contained with everything from cutlery and saltshakers to maps to a TV with DVD.
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