bouldering in the bay – plettenberg bay, south africa

After jumping out of an airplane, it doesn’t matter how you spend the rest of your day. That sense of euphoria keeps you buzzing and all you can do is wrestle with the craving to do it again.

Or so I thought until a stroll to the beach in Plettenberg Bay proved otherwise.

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It was a warm, sunny “winter” day on South Africa’s coast, with only a handful of sightseers at the upper lookout and a lonely fisherman on the beach.

There was a brief argument of thoughts if I bother with wetting my feet or just chill on a bench for the hour-and-a-half wait, but something about the rocky crags where the ocean met the beach was just too inviting.

With hiking boot laces knotted over my shoulder, the wet sand felt like bliss under my feet. I wandered out to a large, separate jut of rock to drop my bags and boots in a nook then scouted the rocks, starting easy with short, more sloped climbs to warm up and get a feel for the rock.

It’d been over a month since I’ve climbed, and it was a first time doing it barefoot after opting out of having to carry my climbing shoes across two continents with me, and I was consumed.

The only sound was the rhythmic crash and roll of whitecaps breaking on the rock further out, then gurgling over the sandbar in the gully where I’d found the perfect spot to climb.

I was surprised and glad the rock wasn’t slick, even the areas that were wet (things this novice was grateful for), and the rock formations were secure with decent holds and awesome views.

The euphoria took over and I challenged myself with a couple steeper climbs, some scrambles, and then the careful art of finding a way back down until I was low enough to drop myself into the squishy sand with a sloppy splash.

It wasn’t until I checked my watch and realized I had to get back to the meeting point for my ride back that I realized I’d been grinning the whole time.

Yep. It seems there is a perfect way to spend an afternoon after skydiving in the morning, and that was it.

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