Published on 4 May 2020
Reading time: 4 minutes
Heard of coasteering? Neither had I before this taster session. Coasteering is an activity that combines swimming, canyoning and rock climbing along the coast. My partner and I decided to try for ourselves and headed off to the Baie d’Ecalgrain on the Cotentin peninsula.
Coasteering is for everyone
Hey I’m Eloise. When we travel with my other half, Maxime, we’re always on the hunt for new activities that provide a deeper understanding of the place we visit and a stronger connection with nature. On our trip to western Normandy, coasteering was on our bucket-list of trendy outdoor sports that blend a good dose of adrenaline, some exercise and serious exploration in a beautiful environment.
One of the greatest things about coasteering is that almost everybody can do it and it’s suitable for all ages. Indeed, it’s about rock-hopping, wave-riding, shore-scrambling, cave-exploring and, yes, cliff-jumping. So, if you’re afraid of heights, well, then I’d recommend staying away from coasteering!
in the SAFE hands of a lifeguard
Here we are, on a beautiful, yet windy day at the end of September meeting Reinald, our guide and coasteering instructor on the car park near the Baie d’Ecalgrain as well as a small friendly group. We’re all wearing a pair of lace-up trainers and Reinald kits us out with the best gear to keep us warm and safe: wetsuits, helmets and lifejackets.
As for safety instructions, Reinald insists on sticking together as a group, standing straight with our arms crossed on our chest before diving and listening to his tips along the way. The reassurance of an experienced guide, coupled with the fact that Reinald is a professional lifeguard certainly helps building our confidence and creating an excellent team spirit!
Exploring ‘Little Ireland‘
The adventure begins! We start walking along the seashore, making our way across natural canals where very few people can get to. What an opportunity to discover the outstanding scenery of a playground like no other. The sound of waves crashing on the rocks and rolling in the pebbles, the seagulls in the air, crying out and flying around in circles, the fresh sea breeze, the feeling of rough rocks under our feet…all our senses awaken.
Wild at heart, it’s little surprise that this area of the Cotentin Peninsula, near the Nez de Jobourg, has come to be known as ‘Little Ireland’, in reference to its incredible coastal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and hidden bays.
A team adventure
We soon discover coasteering involves traversing the coastline from differing heights and overcoming a mixture of natural obstacles and challenges using a variety of skills. One minute you might be scrambling over small rocks, the next… deep water jumping from a huge rock! This is where I start getting a little apprehensive and nervous. Surprisingly, the only kid in the group, Baptiste, jumps without hesitation! Reinald gently encourages us to step beyond our own comfort zone, stop thinking too much and just go for it! Well, you know what? Wow, it’s an awesome feeling and after the first jump, I’m ready to take the plunge again! With the life jacket, I reach the surface almost immediately after my jump and start floating. Timing is important when jumping as you have the observe the movement of the waves to avoid being rinsed in Neptune’s own washing machine!
Adrenalin Rush guaranteed
‘Now we’ll be jumping from higher’ warns Reinald. He attaches a rope to a rock and we do a little abseiling. We knew coasteering involved adrenalin-fuelled sea cliff jumps but we now encounter a towering vertical jump to up to 6m above sea level. Breathe in, breathe out and jump! A sensational and exceptionally rewarding feeling once again. Besides the awe-inspiring coastline of the Cotentin, it’s the sense of personal achievement as well as the team experience that makes this adventure exhilarating.
Changing tides, dramatic cliffs and abundant wildlife made our very first coasteering experience unique. Just bring along your inner dare-devil and have the time of your life!
la baie d’Ecalgrain
The bay referred to as the Baie d’Ecalgrain is located in the Manche département, on the Cap de la Hague, between the Nez de Jobourg and the port of Goury. AThis is a place visitors love for its breathtaking natural scenery.
Coasteering ASES Cotentin – Reinald Lebresne
+33 (0)6 78 44 62 57
* from 12 years old
We experienced coasteering in the Baie d’Ecalgrain. Two other sites are offered: Omonville-la-Rogue and Port-Racine, depending on weather forecast and abilities of the guests. Wetsuits, helmets and lifejackets are provided.
Don’t forget a bathing suit and a towel, an old pair of shorts ( to protect the wetsuit), an old pair of sneakers and warm clothes for after the session.
Adults and children: €38 / person
All year round, avoid January, February, March ( low temperatures imply appropriate equipment). Dates are suggested in advance. Tours are led by Reinald and Antoine.
The above information is subject to change.