Saturday, 23 October 2010

Jet Skiing

The most fun you can have for 200AED in Abu Dhabi.

To celebrate a friend's birthday this week some of us went jet skiing. I have never been jet skiing before and I was a little bit nervous. Out here you hear lots of stories of people going jet skiing and upon returning the jet skis they are charged hundreds of dirhams for 'damaging' the jet ski. Everybody has such a story. However this wasn't enough to deter me from trying it, I'd just have to careful.

We did not rent the jet ski's from a tourist company with offices and proudly displayed safety certificates, but from some random guys hanging round the port who each spoke little English. A few of the group handed over their ID cards and signed some form in Arabic and just like that we were off to the jet skis.

Having never been jet skiing before I was quite surprised by how big they were. I did a thorough check of my machine in order to note all the existing damage so that they wouldn't try and rip me off. I was given a safety briefing "life jacket, on" and some instructions on how to use the jet ski "This engine go. This Engine stop. This accelerate. No brakes" and then we were let loose.

At this point I should let you know that we were in a working port. There were yachts and huge ships everywhere. I started my engine and I couldn't really control the jet ski and I was so scared of crashing into something. I squeezed the accelerator and the steering kicked in. The only was to control them is to go faster. There didn't seem to be distractions like coastguards, designated lanes or rules, just the open water inviting us.

So we cruised out past the yachts and dhows out onto the main sea front in Abu Dhabi. I opened up the throttle and the jet ski shot across the water. They accelerate so quickly that you can't help but shout and whoop like a child. Some boat went past and left a huge wake behind it. My friend saw his opportunity and blasted his jet ski across the wake and got a good two metres of air. This stuff is brilliant!

I was now confident on the jet ski and was going at top speed, donuting, skidding and trying my best to soak my friends. It is really tiring despite the fact all you are doing is squeezing an accelerator. The sea can be choppy with the current and the wake of other vehicles and the jet skis are constantly bouncing off the water. In order to be comfortable you have to stand and bend your knees and move with the jet ski.

After an hour it was time to take the jet skis back. The smell of petrol from my machine scared me a little bit but there was not even the mention of trying to rip us off. I was soaked in sea water and exhausted. I was also smiling ear to ear and adrenaline was pounding through my system. I could quite easily imagine saving up for one of the beauties!

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living in the United Arab Emirates