Cruising for a bruising

Jet boating on Sydney Harbour. Kids loved it. Me? Not so much, writes Alex Brooks for Daily Telegraph’s Best Weekend section.

Jet boating on Sydney harbour“Does anyone have any neck, shoulder or back injuries?” the nice young man with lip piercings asked me as he collected our tickets.

Red is a warning colour I failed to heed. I paid good money to get on a red jet boat, wear a red-hooded poncho and speed around Sydney Harbour with a red face and get drenched.

As salt water stung my eyes and my ears rang with my boys’ screaming, “Look at Mum’s face, look at Mum’s face”, I realised I had been hoodwinked. I was on a Sydney Harbour jet boat, and I was petrified. This was like a roller-coaster ride that lasts 10 times longer and douses you in cold water.

This was precisely what my kids had in mind when they asked to go jet boating. They have been jet-boating before and promised I would love it as much as they did.

I was gloriously unafraid when I clicked over to and bought discounted jet boat tickets for $40 per person (usual price $60)!

It was a sunny Sydney day, and the idea of being on a boats on Sydney Harbour conjured relaxation and leisure — I was thinking cruise rather than bruise. I failed to understand that one little word “jet” in front of the word “boat” changes everything. Our boat tickets had been emailed through and all we had to do was turn up to the eastern pontoon at Circular Quay 20 minutes before our 4pm cruise.

“Does anyone have any neck, shoulder or back injuries?” the nice young man with lip piercings asked me as he collected our tickets.

“No.” “And no one’s pregnant or has a heart condition?” he continued. “Just how fast will this boat go?” I asked, still unaware of what was ahead of me.

“You won’t go over 80 kays an hour and you’ll do a few spins and stops — it’s nothing too hard,” he reassured me.

We walked down to the pontoon and were told to put everything — yes, even shoes and socks and car keys — into a locker and don a fetching waterproof poncho that was still damp from previous boaters. We chugged away from the pontoon with a large crowd of onlookers waving and staring.

As we pulled in front of the Opera House, the boat suddenly roared forward and shot ahead to eye-watering speeds. I braced myself and heard whoops of joy from the boat while my mind suddenly recalled stories about jet boat rides, people with broken backs and flip accidents.

I tightened the string on my poncho hood until I looked like Kenny from South Park. Salt sprays stung my cheeks and eyes as the boat lurched and walls of water sprayed across us. The skipper kept counting us down so we knew when the spins were coming, but all I could do was shut my eyes and realise this boat trip would last 30 minutes — I had a whole 28 minutes to go.

My sons were laughing that insane kid-laugh that’s half fear, half thrill. The 10-year-old kept uttering, “Yolo” at every water-spraying opportunity.

Adrenalin. I have enough of it pumping through me every day without needing to pay extra for it, thanks.

The kids wanted to do it all over again

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