When GoDo Supplier Manager Michelle started throwing the word “boat” around just before the start of Dry July I got a little bit excited. Thinking of boats tends to evoke images of sun drenched decks, pina coladas, gentle sea breezes, straw hats, sparkling blue water, sunglasses, pretty harbours, bikinis, yachting, deck shoes, magical sunsets, twinkling city lights in the distance… Boating, it’s all about the high life, the unattainable glamour, the dangerous allure, the rich, the famous, the bad 70’s dos. It’s all just a little bit Miami Vice really. What do I think of boats, Michelle? It’s all gravy, baby, it’s all gravy (get it, gravy…boat…no?)
Well, Michelle may be a little young to remember Miami Vice because that’s not exactly what she had in mind. With a mischievous twinkle in her eye she told me I’d be going jet boating on Sydney Harbour. So…no pina colada then?
The last time I took a boat on anything resembling a “joy ride” it was considerably slower…and the closest we got to a 270 degree spin was floating in gentle circles over the undulating waves (mainly this was due to the fact that The Diplomat is completely unable to row and our boat resembled a fish with one exceptionally defective fin). Today was VERY different. With the sun obligingly shining, Yvette (our Fabulous Customer Service Rep) and I strolled the short distance to the harbour. The jet boats operate along the walk to the forecourt of the Opera House and if there’s a more attractive place you can ride the waves at 90kph I’d like to hear about it.
We met Lyndon, our jet boat rep, on the harbour to get the preliminaries out of the way. This mainly consists of him asking if we had “had a drink or taken drugs today?” Lyndon, it was only 12.40! “Any pre-existing medical conditions?” Nope, but I may experience heart failure if the pictures of this activity are anything to go by! After signing on the dotted line we donned our very attractive full length ponchos and discussed where we would like to sit on the boat. Our driver mentioned it tends to get a little bumpy at the front so after weighing up the pros and cons at length and deciding that the middle was the best spot we turned to find that the only seats left were smack bang in the front of the boat. Awesome.
Our driver introduced himself: “Hi I’m Darren, I’ll be your driver today. Unfortunately for you.” Oh Darren, what a card! He quickly gave us the rundown of safety instructions and the hand signals he’d be using to indicate the countdown to our spins. Then we were off! We drove slowly out through the harbour with the bridge on the left, Opera House on the right and sun blazing overhead. It’s always a little surprising to remember I live in one of the most picturesque cities in the world and it was a nice time to reflect on the beauty of Sydney, my adopted city. Once past Fort Denison, Darren picked up the pace a little bit. Soon we were overtaking other boats at a rate of knots (or kph rather, see below). It felt a little bit unfair, like Usain Bolt taking on the contestants of the Biggest Loser or something.
Let’s talk about speed. Boats are supposed to travel in knots, right? On the yacht in my head where I am lounging on the deck, sipping a pina colada, we are travelling at 12 knots. Jet boats tend to measure their speed in kph. I think this may have something to do with the fact that there probably aren’t enough knots to measure how fast they go. Jet boats. Are. FAST. The clue is in the name really. And they have seat belts. Seat belts??? Have you ever seen a boat with a seat belt? Our boat reaches 90kph. Then Darren suddenly brakes, splashing us with water. “Sorry” he says with a cheeky grin. Honestly, I don’t think he was sorry at all. With our adrenaline pumping and my fringe already ruined, we started to get to the good stuff. For the next 20 mins we were on a wild ride with sideways slides, fishtails, wave riding. Cutting over and back across the wake of a catamaran we skim high over the waves. Darren takes us hurtling towards a cliff face before suddenly cutting sideways, the boat for a brief moment seeming to defy the laws of gravity, staying upright at such an alarmingly vertical angle. Picking up more speed Darren’s hand shoots into the air making a circular motion…this was supposed to mean something…should have paid more attention during the safety briefing…what was it…what was it…oh it was a SPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN! Ah yes, the 270 degree spin! The boat whips around spraying water everywhere and leaving a huge circle of white surf surrounding it. I hear a chorus of “Yeah wooooooooooo”. With a quick look behind I see several drenched faces with huge grins. Darren turns around, does a quick headcount, gives us the thumbs up, an “everybody alright?” and we’re off again. We zoom out further into the harbour, the sights of striking houses on familiar bays rushing past, the boat playfully bouncing, spinning, sliding. It’s like being on rollercoaster…in the water…whilst wearing a poncho. Amazing! We set off back for the wharf. My face begins to tighten with a familiar “just been for a swim in the ocean” feel. (Or if, like the girl behind me, you have rather more esoteric interests, it “feels like having botox”!) When we slow down for the final part of the journey I realise how tightly I’ve been gripping the bar in front. My heart is still racing getting off the boat. Yvette takes a picture of me, wet fringe and all. Looking at it I realise I must have had a huge grin on my face all the way through too.
What’s the deal?
GoDo crew member Aisling is taking one for the team and taking on the challenge of Dry July. This July, Aisling is going to show you how to have a good time for a whole month, without alcohol, GoDo-style. To reward her commitment to the cause, and keep her focused, we’re sending her on a bunch of activities to show you the stack of alternatives to sitting in a dingy pub this winter. And, because it’s such a great initiative, GoDo is donating the value of each activity Aisling embarks on in cash to the Dry July cause.