Thrills and Spills: Slovenia Whitewater Adventure

‘’Keep your arms across your chest!” commanded our guide. “Legs together!” We snapped into the vampiric pose obediently. “Oh, and don’t forget to scream…”

This was our briefing. We stood, suited and booted in heavy wetsuits and helmets, and were considered ready. In silence we edged towards the edge of the small rock pool we were standing in. One of our guides went first, leading by example. He stood on the precipice, threw us a quick smile, and then he disappeared.

An almighty splash from below announced his landing in the pool beneath ours. This was canyoning.

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Next up was me; I crept towards brink, peering over into the pool below. ‘Jump!’ yelled the guide beneath me, and without needing any more encouragement I threw myself off the ledge, remembering to cross my arms and keep my feet together, the only thing I forget to do was scream. From behind me, an excited collective whoop from the group filled the air.

I fell for what felt like a minute, but was probably about a second, then hit the water. I plunged deep into the cold, crystal-clear water, expecting my feet to touch the bottom at any second, but it never came. The buoyancy of my suit kicked in and suddenly sound rushed back into my ears as I broke the surface, gasping in air. I bobbed in the water, a huge grin on my face.

This was Mother Nature’s water park. We quickly progressed from the smaller jumps onto ones of three metres and higher, slithering down smooth channels in the rock face like they were water slides and propelling ourselves on adrenalin-fuelled leaps. It was hard to believe the canyon hadn’t been designed for our amusement. Any apprehension we may have felt had given way to smiles and laughter.

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The jumps were only getting higher, the slides longer, the laughter louder. Suddenly that first tentative drop seemed incredibly tame. As we splashed through the lower pools, we heard an echo from up the canyon of a new group testing the waters. I was struck with jealousy; they were in the enviable position of having the whole canyon yet to come.

Our bravery grew with every leap, until we were whooping with every gigantic jump. My arms and legs were shaking – with cold or simple from the excitement I neither knew nor cared. All I knew was that I wanted to do the whole thing again.

Chris travelled on Exodus' Slovenia Mixed Activity a multi-activity week which includes canyoning alongside whitewater rafting, tubing and kayaking. Check out the gallery!

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