By Jeroen Ijsselstein
One of my best mates was getting married, and as such we had to of course have the stag party! When we first got together we discussed the various different options over a few beers. Having reminisced about the stories of the poor bugger, we remembered one of his long winded stories about how he once went Canyoning and how amazing it was. None of the other guys have every done it before, so we thought, what the hell, lets do it!
We managed to organise a weekend in Spain and stayed in Benidorm. Now many of you may know Benidorm by reputation, and I have to say it does live up to it. What you see on TV is indeed what you get! Of course Benidorm has many things to offer and not all areas are the same. Needless to say it can be perfect for a stag party. But we digress. We were talking about canyoning.
It took us a while to get there but boy was it worth it. There is a place called Anna where they have the Gorgo de la Escalera. This is a narrow gorge that eventually terminates in a beautiful waterfall. So with 14 guys we went with gusto with a company called Multiaventura Charm Alicante that organises all sorts of outdoor activities. We went in mid May and the temperature was just right at around 24 degrees. While canoying you are always wearing a wetsuit (provided by the organiser). This not only keeps you warm but protects you from the bumps and scrapes along the way. After all you are barrelling yourself down a rocky gorge with nothing more than a good sense of adventure and humour. But you are not always in the water so I can imagine that if it was mid August when temperatures rise over 30 degrees, you do not want to be parading around in an insulating body suit. Don’t fool yourself either, you may be in Southern Spain but the water temperature can be chilly. Oh, and bring those wetsuit shoes (they don’t supply them).
Now, I am not exactly an adrenaline junky, and I am a little soft around the midriff so I was a little apprehensive at first. I am the kind of guy in the group where, if there was going to be an accident, it would most likely happen to me. But the guides take city folk, like us, down this gorge all the time, and we took it nice and slow and it was real easy. There were times you were literally taking a stroll, holding hands, and the next hinging over a cliff thinking what an idiot you are for doing this. If the water is deep enough, depending on the rains, there are loads of jumps on the way ranging from a paltry 1 meter, all the way up to an emasculating 7 meters. 7 seven might not sound like much but when you’re up there, it’s enough to make you go oops!
Once you survived the high jumps and proven yourself to your fellow adventurers, you come to the big test. A large 15 meter abseil descent into the idyllic pond below, where the locals gather and point at the idiot foreigners wearing wetsuits in the summer. Building up your confidence along the gorge you are put to the test in this final hurdle to manhood. Some failed to do it, but we all walk a little taller, having pushed ourselves just that little bit outside of our comfort zone. I have to admit some of us chickened out.
I do not know what it costs nowadays but we paid 40 Euro per person. Looking back, I have spent on occasion much more, for much less. Where else can you get an entire day’s worth of activity and fun for that kind of money? I can highly recommend it. Go for it!