During my recent week in Kaş on the Mediterranean Sea, I was offered the opportunity to go Canyoning. I wasn’t sure I would have the physical ability to go canyoning – plus, I still struggle with a fear of water. (Although in hindsight, I think I could have done it!) So instead, I offer you this interview of one of those brave enough to attack the unknown!
If after reading through this and watching the videos you wish to go, you must be patient! The owner/manager of Xanthos will check the weather report every evening. In fact, he will check several weather reports, and even call guys who may be in the canyon area. If there is any chance of rain, no matter how small, the trip will be postponed a day. We waited several days for this, but it was well worth it!
Have you done it before or anything like it?
Partially yes, partially no. I have hiked through a creek upstream and downstream, walking through the water. I have done those things wearing regular clothes, but I was always tried to minimize the amount of time in the water and tried to stay dry. Having a wet suit, it was easier and more fun to jump into the water and take the wet road, rather than the dry path on the side. Also, I have never been suited with a harness or hung from big cliffs. I have had a number of friends who were into rock climbing, etc., but it did not interest me as much. Maybe because of the strength it requires. Abseiling was a similar feeling (I guess) without the requirement of the strength. Also, since you are equipped with safety gear that locks and hold the rope when you release your hand – “Self-braking descender for single rope” – you feel safe even when you are looking at the 50m drop.
Were you prepared for Canyoning? How did you prepare?
I personally only had my own water shoes that are comfortable both walking on rocks and in water. The wet suits, harnesses and other gear were provided by the tour company. After we jumped into the van to go to the Cyprus Canyon, the first stop was the warehouse where Xantos keeps the equipment for various activities, like canyoning, cycling, etc. First we tried the wetsuits there to make sure that it fits properly and the crew picked out an appropriate size harness for each member of the group, and ropes and other gear. They also have water shoes in the shop if you do not have appropriate ones with you. When we got to the site, we dressed up with our wet suits and the harnesses and other gear were put on us and adjusted by our tour guides. Also for our water sensitive belongings, there was one waterproof backpack that we carried through the canyon in turn.
How many people joined you? What were they like?
We were total of 9. We had 2 tour guides Özgür and Alpay (aka Alper, aka Eray, aka Alim) and 7 adventurers Uğur, Emre, Selin, me, one French person and two Germans. Uğur was actually a diver. Even though he lives in Izmir which offers plenty of close by diving opportunities at the Aegean Sea, he has been coming to Kaş every summer for the last five years to dive and it was his second time of Canyoning. Emre and Selin were a newlywed couple just having their adventurous honeymoon. They said that they were going to try diving the next day. I have heard that in some previous tours, the age of the adventurers goes up to 60. This time the age range was from low 20s to low 30s, except me.
What did you like the best?
Abseiling was the most exciting part. We started with a small section of a 6-8 meter high rock/cliff that we abseiled and then we did the biggest cliff of the tour, 50m. Next it was only a 25 m high cliff and we were “all kinds of disappointed” because we were ready for a bigger challenge, something over 50m high. It was not very hard or and did not require a lot of strength. But it did make us full of adrenalin. It was amazing.
What did you like the least?
After I abseiled down the 50 m high cliff, we waited for the rest of the group to come down. It was little boring but we chatted with the members of groups who had made their way down and talked about our excitement of the abseiling in a peaceful green quiet place.
Would you do it again, and if so, what would you do differently?
I definitely will, like our assistant tour guide, Alpay, who has started assisting canyoning tours this summer. He is sixteen and he is going to a high school in Antalya. He said that every time he attends canyoning tours, it gets more exciting and he loves it more. He tries newer techniques of abseiling and the cliffs still give him the excitement. I would like to practice more and learn how to abseil with different gear. The gear we were using had a self-braking system that locks the ropes and if we release our hand from the rope, you stop going down. It is good for the rookies like us so that our mistakes do not end up hurting us. But after I saw how smoothly our tour guide abseiled using a different gear, it looked fun. I want to try that.
Watch the canyoning video!
Anything else you want to add?
Overall, it was a very exciting activity. When you think of a Mediterranean vacation a lot of people think sun, sea and beaches. This was way different. We had a little over an hour ride in a van. We drove farther away from the sea into the main land. It was a nice drive through the mountains covered with cider trees. We were as high as 1300 m above sea level and I think we started canyoning at around 1100 m which is pretty much the same as some of the hills of Ankara. When we got to the site, we got out of the van, got all (wet) suited up (different than what Barney of HIMYM means by “suit up”) and got basic safety instruction (always stay between two tour guides, etc.) and then started walking towards the canyon. Instructions on abseiling were given right before we started with demonstrations. Once we descended all the way down to water level, we had a small picnic by the water -sandwiches and some soft drinks. Then we started walking up the canyon through the water, across rocks and the banks of the creek. In 3 or 4 locations, the water was deep enough for us to jump into the water and that is what we did, sometimes just once, sometimes more than once. On a couple occasions, we got to use ropes to pull us up over the big rocks to continue our route and in one location, we used the Blackdiamond nForce Ascender to climb over 6-7m tall rock. In abseiling and rock climbing, we always had Özgür on the top setting up our gear and checking them for safety and at the bottom, Alpay was holding the ropes, keeping them tight and giving us the direction on which path to follow.
After about a 4-5 km hike, we got to the finish line where our van was waiting for us. On the drive back to Kaş, we stopped by a road side tea place to have some hot tea, play with the puppy of the owner and breathe in some fresh mountain air. Then they dropped everyone where they wanted in the town of Kaş.
What else can you tell us about your tour guide, Özgür, and his assistant?
Özgür has been in this business since 2004. Before guiding various tours he was a parachute jumper/skydiver. Until 2007, he was on the national team for 4-way formation skydiving. In other words, 4 men do various formations up in the air while skydiving. He also does cycling tours, kayak tours and hikes. He has been with Xantos for a year. Our assistant tour guide was Alpay, but he gets called Alper, Eray (by me almost half the trip) and Alim (people must be confusing his name with the name of our tour guide in our Jeep Safari.) Alpay is a high school student. He lives in Kaş and he has started helping canyoning tours this summer. He was very excited about canyoning and said that every tour gets more and more exciting for him. He is a promising canyoning guide in the near future.
View the full unedited canyoning videos on our
You Tube Channel
IF YOU ARE GOING:
Ibrahim Serin Sokak No: 5/A
+90 242 836 32 92
WHAT TO BRING:
- sun cream – protection
- swim clothes
- Sneakers or walking shoes. (We suggest water shoes)
This is Sefer and Mehmet. As far as I could tell, Sefer is running the day to day operations at Xanthos. Xanthos opens as early as 7 a.m. and closes around 1 a.m. – yes, approximately an 18 hour day. So chances are if you stop by the office, you will meet him.
When you stop by, don’t be put off by the fact that Sefer doesn’t seem overly friendly, the man is busy scheduling adventures, keeping track of his employees, checking weather reports, and making sure everything runs smoothly and most importantly, as he said himself, “safely.”
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