Going Wild: Coasteering is not just a walk along the beach

By Ariel Conant and Lauren James

For the final challenge in our Going Wild summer series, reporter Ariel Conant and sub-editor Lauren James went to try coasteering …

By Ariel Conant and Lauren James |

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Dragonfly's Jaymz (left) and Mike demonstrate the Tyrolean traverse.

It's been a wild summer at Young Post! We've hit the waves with stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling. We've explored the wild side of Hong Kong with hiking, mountain biking and canyoning. We've learned the survival skills to escape a deserted island, and have caught a bird's-eye view of the city from Devil's Peak while rock climbing.

So for our final adventure, we knew we had to push it to the max.

Reporter Ariel and sub-editor Lauren met up with Dragonfly guides Mike, Jaymz and Lars to try out coasteering. This intense sport involves navigating the coast using rocks and ledges.

With rock climbing, zip-lining, cliff jumping, swimming and abseiling, it's certainly not just a walk along the beach.

We knew we would be getting wet, so had to put our belongings in watertight bags. We put on buoyancy aids, harnesses and helmets to stay safe while scrambling along the steep, rocky cliffs overlooking Clearwater Bay.

Ropes, like these used for abseiling, helped Ariel and Lauren get through the sections of the course safely.
Photo: Lauren James/SCMP

Starting on the beach, we came to the first tricky part where sand turned into cliffs.

The rocks were rough enough to find our footing, and our Dragonfly guides had already set up ropes to help us.

We picked our way along the cliff, moving our carabiners - metal loops attached to our harnesses - from one section to the next.

The next challenge was the Tyrolean traverse, which is similar to a zip-line, though you have to pull yourself along like a monkey on a vine, clinging on upside down between the two cliffs above thundering waves.

Then we reached our first jump point. Standing on the edge and looking down as the sea swelled around the rocks was nerve-wracking. But with Mike's reassurance we took a deep breath and jumped.

The nerves came back when we had to jump from an even higher point before swimming to shore.

We abseiled to a lower level using lines laid vertically down a cliff. It took a lot of faith to muster the courage to walk backwards over the edge while Mike slowly lowered the rope.

As the day wore on, the weather took a wild turn and the sea became choppy. We had to jump from another tall ledge and swim across a cove to continue the course on the other side. The strong swells caught us as soon as we hit the water, and we had to swim quickly and hold on to Jaymz as he pulled us to safety.

The first three jumps were necessary to move us along the course, but the fourth was just for the thrill-seekers - or the foolish. After climbing a steep precipice, we were faced with a clear 15-metre drop. Lauren's knees grew weak and her stomach churned. But the best advice is to not overthink it. With arms flailing and a scream of excitement, she stepped over the edge. The adrenaline rush made it all worth it.

At one point, to continue along our journey, we had to rock climb straight up a vertical wall. This was where Ariel's experience climbing at Devil's Peak came in handy, and she felt more comfortable with both the climbing and abseiling challenges of the trek.

We finally reached the end of the long journey, exhausted but thrilled. Our individual wild activities were fun, but this time we got to try a range in just one afternoon.

They survived!