This time last year, I’d only ever heard about canyoning (and in fairly loose terms at that.) Now, in the space of a few short months, I’ve canyoned in Costa Brava, canyoned in Wadi Mujib in Jordan and coasteered in Wales (the marine version.)
This video shows you what canyoning is like in Jordan’s Wadi Mujib – just a hop, skip and a jump (if you’ll forgive such old-fashioned verbs) from the majestic Dead Sea.
As a canyoning veteran from the medical school of “see one, do one, teach one,” I thought I’d share my canyoning tips with you here.
1 – Go with an appropriately qualified guide who you can trust
2 – Realise that you will get very, very wet. Completely soaked in fact. You may well be submerged for periods of time or need both hands while you’re in the water. So, don’t take anything with you that you can’t fasten to yourself – or that isn’t waterproof.
3 – Put sunscreen and insect repellent on if you need it (depending on where you are) before you set out.
4 – Trainers are best – they provide grip but they’re not too heavy when you’re underwater. Also, if you’re travelling, then they’ll dry out quicker than other shoes.
5 – If you’re canyoning in a cold place, you’ll probably be given a wetsuit, so bring a bathing suit to go underneath. If you’re canyoning somewhere hot (like Jordan) you’ll go in your usual clothes. Lightweight, quick drying sports clothes are best for this. Normal cotton trousers tend to stick on your skin. Jeans are even worse.
6 – Girls, wear a sports bra. It’s just easier that way…
7 – Remove all jewellery (including wedding rings.) They can get snagged on the rock that you’ll be clinging to and you risk a rather nasty injury called “degloving.” Enough said.
8 – Wear a helmet if at all possible.
9 – Fingerless gloves can make you more comfortable.
10 – Wear a lifejacket (if you’re canyoning at a centre that doesn’t at the very least provide these, then I’d suggest walking away.)
11 – You probably need to bring your own towel…
12 – And most places don’t have anywhere secure for your valuables…Therefore, try not to bring them.
13 – Waterproof cameras, like the Olympus Tough work well while canyoning as they are light enough to attach to your lifejacket and small enough to slide inside your sleeve for protection.
14 – Bring a spare pair of shoes to the centre (and ideally a fresh, dry set of clothes) for changing in to afterwards.
In spite of the long list above, canyoning’s a fantastic, pulse-racing sport that you can begin at any level of fitness. Don’t believe me?
Check out my other canyoning video and read this incredibly inspiring story about Julie Collazo’s first canyoning experience. Then read this post from the Planet D. That’s what happens when you push canyoning to the max.
Now excuse me while I find myself a hot shower and a dry towel…
Disclosure: I travelled through Jordan as a guest of Visit Jordan.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com