MY S U N D A Y m o r n i n g s aren’t usually cliffhangers, unless I’m trying to remember the night before. I ’ m more at home drinking strong coffee in my local greasy spoon. But this particular day, with the wind whipping my hair, swaying above the deep azure sea, I am actually cliff-hanging. On the edge of a cliff in northern Jersey.
They call this pastime ‘coasteering’a mixture of cliff diving, free climbing along the cliffs, swimming and caving. Clad in a wetsuit, a helmet and six very fine looking instructors, I’m perched on the edge of a sharp jutting rock, above deep water. I’m expected to jump off.
“The thing is,” I stutter to John Fox, the lead instructor, “this kinda feels like the sort of thing they warn teenagers NOT to do in Brighton. Isn’t it called, um, tombstoning?”
“It’s exactly like that,” he says, “but they’re idiots who don’t know where to jump. I do.” FLIGHTS: Blue Islands fly twice daily Monday to Friday and once on Sunday from London City Airport to Jersey from £96 (inclusive) one way.
08456 20 21 22 WHERE TO STAY: Atlantic Hotel (see Hotel of the Week) offer a double room based on two sharing, with breakfast, from £250 a night. 01534 744101 ACTIVITY: Go coasteering with Jersey Adventures from £25 per person with all safety equipment included. Suitable for age 8 and over. 01534 498636 “Right,” I say. Gulp. Fine. “Make sure you push your toes right over the edge, and jump forward, away from the rocks,” he says smiling.
Sure, fine. Another gulp. I’m worrying I might shortly be seeing my hotel breakfast again.
I start thinking wistfully of my normal Sunday in my greasy spoon, even if it meant going without the Atlantic hotel’s smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
It was time, as they say, to take the plunge. Holding my nose and keeping my eyes skyward, I bomb down into the sea.
It’s exhilarating. The cold water hits and then I emerge, gasping into brilliant sunshine. With such a violent shot of adrenaline, I’m soon clambering up even higher peaks to jump down, swimming in deep water and coming to rest in little inlets and hidden beaches.
“The only way to get here is by coasteering or kayaking,” John says as we reach the copper-coloured, unblemished sand of a tiny cove, surrounded by high cliffs. It’s a beautiful beach, perfectly hidden, and I’m expecting