CCA run their courses out of Port Quinn and after getting suited and booted at their headquarters we headed down to the tranquil natural harbour setting – on the walk down Sam gave us a history lesson on the area describing how, many years ago, all the men of the village had been lost at sea during a fateful fishing trip. This explained the existence of so many abandoned cottages as all the widows had left after the tragedy to restart their lives elsewhere – not sure this was exactly what I needed to hear as we stepped into the Port Quinn waters, a big swell sending waves crashing against the cliffs in the distance.
It was high tide and we swum away from the shore and into a cave where Sam and Macca ran through the safety details and gave us a brief but concise guide to how to fend off oncoming cliffs with our feet, how to climb up the same cliffs and then how to fall off gracefully.
A minute later and we were experiencing our first jump – just a tiddler but ideal to practice correct technique and to gain maximum style points. In a nutshell the idea is to leap out as far as possible, perform a star jump then cross your arms, straighten your legs and enter the water splash-less a la Tom Daley.
Easy stuff I thought – and loads of fun!
Then we swam further along the cliff to a slightly bigger ledge – and a narrow one at that. I think I was still scoring well for technique but the style was starting to waver as my brain began to fight back. A second attempt proved that all ten of our group had what it took to make the grade and Sam decided that we should go bigger. Just to make a mockery of any fear I may have had up to this point, Macca performed a sweet dive off the very ledge that I had previously teetered on and surfaced with a whoop and a grin.
From the water, the biggest jump of the day looked pretty manageable – but when we lined up on the cliff top and Sam asked for a show of hands as to who was up for it I have to say that it was pure bravado and not wanting to be chicked that forced me to comply. Trust me to bring a date to a ‘who’s got the biggest balls’ contest! Suddenly it was my turn – the 35 foot drop looked huge and I was only slightly comforted by Macca’s parting comment as he flew of the edge in a massive spread eagle, ‘It’s only water mate!’
Ok, so was it now that I should confess to my fear of heights? No way could I turn back now, my toes were over the edge, a queue of game men, women and children behind me, it was time to leap. Devoid of style and technique I butt slapped the water and instantly knew I had cured my fear – I wanted another go!
I would have to wait to repair my damaged style tally as next up was the wave machine – by now we were swimming close to the edge of the inlet and those pounding waves. The incoming swell was pushing up into caves in the cliffs and sucking back out again – with Sam keeping an eye out for rogue sets, we all swam into a cave to experience the thrill of a natural washing machine and the power of the sea.
A couple of small fun jumps later and we found ourselves swimming back to shore, I for one far more calm than two hours before and very happy in the knowledge that I had gone some way to conquering an irrational fear of heights as well as successfully pleasing my thrill-seeking date.