A Guide To Wild / Outdoor Swimming In Waterfalls
Extreme manliness displayed here!
Hands up if you like waterfalls
This hub is about waterfall swimming, one of the great pleasures in life. In my opinion there's not much better than riding to a waterfall on a motorbike with a group of friends, getting there and swimming and diving into the pool. It's even better if you have some beer and mangoes to eat while relaxing by the waterfall afterwards.
This is one of the things that I absolutely love to do when I'm on holiday, rent a motorbike, buy a map and plan days around visiting waterfalls. Luckily my chums are into the same thing so I don't have to do it alone.
I'm going to try to give some tips on waterfall and other outdoor swimming as it's a very enjoyable thing to do that I think more people should get into. As long as they're not there when I'm there as I don't like them too crowded!
A waterfall in India
The pic above is a waterfall in India. I'm in the very centre of the picture underneath the waterfall. The motorbikes and in fact everything there is extremely cheap so it's very easy to travel around. I can't recall exactly what the motorbike cost to rent but it was something ridiculous like $2 a day. What made this awesome waterfall even more awesome, was that hundreds of feet above it, there was a train track with trains moving slowly enough so that we could see everyone on there smiling and waving down at us. They must've been really hot, whereas we were relaxing at a cool waterfall.
Could there be a better shower? Philippines waterfall
When you're going to swim in a waterfall, you have to be prepared for a few things.
Firstly you need to make sure you've got a change of shorts. The sad feeling when you see all of your mates change into dry warm clothes, while you're stuck in your wet shorts after a dip is one that I don't really want to feel again after doing it many times. Ok you do dry off on the motorbike eventually, especially when it's a really hot country, but it's a recipe for a chapped pair of buttocks.
Secondly make sure you take everything away with you when you leave. There's not much in the world that's worse than being in a place of natural beauty, to see that some no brainer has left cans and rubbish there. This drives me nuts.
Thirdly, try and keep an eye out for snakes before you dip in the pool. I've been to waterfalls in Thailand that have had snakes in the pool. On one occasion a snake with a reddy orange head swam straight at us. My friend said I jumped out of the pool like a jack in the box. I have no idea whether it would have bitten us, but you're best not to risk it.
Fourthly you need to make sure that you have some strength if you're going to swim to where the waterfalls hits the pool. This part can have strong currents, which will generally just wash you away from the water entry point, but I have heard of a waterfall in the Philippines that has drowned people that tumbled around in the current. I only heard that this had happened after a visit to said waterfall and after a swim in the pool. It's pictured below, it looks very gentle from the picture, but was actually a pretty strong current and I had to swim as hard as i could to get close to the waterfall.
Fifthly watch out for rocks. There are often rocks just under the surface of the pool. I saw some people at a waterfall once in Ko Chang in Thailand jumping off the top of the waterfall into the pool which was something like 40-50 feet below. One of them narrowly missed caving his head in on a rock. I couldn't watch them as it was making me feel sick as I thought I was about to see a fatality. Check before you dive, it sounds obvious but lots don't.
I don't think anyone could say this isn't fun. Could they?
This is the right way to have fun in a waterfall
This is the wrong way. This girl manages to knock herself out by belly flopping.
Refreshing? Yes. This one's in Thailand.
The last part is the most important. Have fun! This part isn't hard. Floating, swimming, posing for photos and generally spashing about and having a good time. You're never too old for this.
I hope I have inspired at least one person to look for some waterfalls next time they go on a holiday and have a great time. If you haven't done it before, then what are you waiting for?
If you know of any awesome waterfalls that I should visit, or you just enjoyed reading, please feel free to leave a comment below.