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Sea scooter? Tabernacle*!

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What does it mean to you? Well, let's ask our Canadian friends... Indeed, the word sea-doo is more widely used in Quebec, even recommended by the Office québécois de la langue française. The sea-doo is a small recreational watercraft officially invented in the 1960s by Clayton Jacobson, an American lawyer and avid motorcycle enthusiast who dreamed of creating a machine that could be used to water-ski without having to be pulled along by a boat.

Water scooter

The water scooter, otherwise referred to as a "sea scooter", is ridden standing up, a "stand up scooter", or sitting down, a "saddle scooter". It is propelled by a hydrojet, a turbine propulsion system that pushes water towards the back of the unit vessel, itself powered by a combustion engine... but I'll spare you the technical details! Regularly referred to as a "Jet Ski", this craft was released in 1973, became popular in the 1980s and has been produced all over the world since 2002. The vessel can be used for rescues near beaches, maritime surveillance, or access to biological sites at sea, among other things. Numerous water scooter competitions are organised around the world, however, like any other motorised craft, it has several drawbacks (noise, odour, hydrocarbons) which is why its use is regulated in many countries.

Jet-ski

Jet-skiing is a popular activity among tourists looking for thrills during their beach holidays. It is very popular especially because of its ease of use, speed and, above all its accessibility. There is nothing like fine sandy beaches and crystal clear water for enjoying the thrill of the many sensations it has to offer.

VNM

As you can see, there is no difference between jet-skis and water scooters… apart from the name. The famous device that is so popular on the beaches in the summer is simply a PWC, Personal Watercraft, that allows you to travel over water.

No wetsuit, no licence

What can I tell you about my first impressions of a water scooter? Having never held a motorbike licence for financial reasons, although I did pass the theory exam, I could never imagine myself at the controls of such a vehicle, even less so on the water! So I watched from afar as these maritime athletes had fun and boasted of their adventures. A few years ago, I went on a summer trip to Rosas in Spain with my dance club. A beautiful hotel, workshops, thematic evenings, Mojitos and... the beach! Sun, swimming, chatting, playing games... lazing on the beach is not my favourite pastime so when one of our friends suggested we go jet-skiing I was all ears. When he explained that it would be as a passenger I agreed immediately so as to enjoy a fun moment with friends and get the chance to see the most beautiful spots along the coast in an exciting and practical way. No need for a licence or a wetsuit, just the mandatory life jacket. Come on, let's go! Everyone donned their swimming gear and set off behind the guide dressed in his rather attractive "watermelon" bathing trunks. Of course, I chose the friend who was just starting out so as not to take any risks. How wrong could I be?

Learning to jet-ski

The basic rules for learning to jet-ski are patience, caution and step-by-step progress. Sit comfortably on the scooter and untie it, then pull it away from the dock. Insert the key attached securely to your life lifejacket in the ignition. Start the scooter by turning the key making sure to keep one hand on the handlebars. Move forward squeezing the gear levers a little at a time so as to gauge the speed of the machine and get familiar with it. Negotiate turns by pointing the handlebars in the desired direction and be sure not to slow down too much when turning; lean over on the side you wish to turn if necessary to accompany the machine. Finally, note that there are no brakes on a jet-ski and that you just have to release the accelerator to slow down and stop. It was an easy trip. After I took my seat behind my driver and placed my hands on the front of his lifejacket, the adventure began. After a few rough turns, and clumsy changes in direction, he became more confident... Also, his best friend was already far ahead! Oh no! The male ego! So he opened the throttle at the bottom of a wave, without straightening up and didn’t cut it until he had reached the top... and didn't decelerate until he had overtaken those who were practicing carefully and reached the one in the lead. After one particularly poorly judged turn we almost collided with a buoy. With my saddle and my lifejacket completely soaked, I struggled to hang on to the seat and felt that I was going to be thrown off at every turn. The sunlight and salt water in my eyes made it difficult to see where we were going. A great adrenaline rush! Gladly it only lasted half an hour...

Ôbaba beach towel

My final impressions? Despite the fact that it took some time before I could loosen my grip on my partner and I was shivering from cold, fear, or excitement, I was glad to have tried it. A fun experience, a challenge overcome, and after wrapping myself in my towel, I lay down on an "Ôbaba beach towel, the one that doesn't blow away with the wind" and happily discussed the experience with my fellow jet-skiers.

*A swear world in Quebec that refers to the tabernacle of a church, the piece of furniture that holds the ciborium containing the hosts. It expresses strong feelings such as anger, irritation or surprise. Most swear words are derived from terms taken from the Catholic religion. People from Quebec don't swear, they curse!

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