With last night’s fairly chill hangout vibe and relatively early bedtime, it seems I’ve finally gotten a decent rest. I head out to the common area of Zackry’s and I run into Tyler. He gives me the lowdown on how to make shitty coffee. MacKay is pumped for the jet skis today and wants to find some breaky beforehand. He’s so pumped actually that he takes off down Zackry’s driveway at “I’m a man on a mission” speed, and is already around the corner before I get to the room and realize the door is locked. My shit coffee is too hot to guzzle so I guess it’s coming with me. It spills all over my hand as I hustle to catch up.
We walk for a while before finding a corner store. Our main mission besides breakfast is waterproof sunscreen. Couple white boys out on the waves all day? Danger. Wow they have SPF 110 waterproof sunscreen here. 110? I didn’t even know sunscreen went that high.
Our jaunt was longer than expected and we’re coming up quickly on our pick-up time for the jetskis so we opt for a quick stop at a juice place to just grab some breakfast wraps and boogie. They end up being really good.
We get back to the hostel and a couple of locals pull up in a Hilux to pick us up. No time to waste, we just jump right in and bust it down to the beach. They give us some helmets, booties and a life jacket and are basically ready to get this thing going. We’re still trying to put sunscreen on but they’re all, “Let’s go, let’s go!!” and so we half ass it and get out to the jet skis. I’m sure we’ll be fine.
They give us a quick run down on the basic operations. Pretty straight forward, I’ve done the jet ski thing before. I slam a bag with some water we bought in the front console along with the SPF 110, some ringgit and my phone. Don’t want that thing bouncing out of the shallow pockets of my 70’s Sean Connery-esque bathing suit while we’re ramping waves.
And ramp waves we do. Holy fuck these jet skis are no joke! They are cranking along the water at about 50 clicks. Our two guides are not waiting either, they are just bombing it. MacKay has a shit eating grin on and we’re swerving in and out, cutting through the wake of our guides, jumping out of the water to crash down and gun it back up to pace. Spray everywhere. These things are fucking awesome! I can already see this launching up to the top of the funnest things we’ve done this trip.
Our guides lead us up to an island cove where some other tour boats are mingling. “Look up!”, they point to something but I don’t see anything. We were told that Eagles come here to eat. I dig around for the waterproof camera the girl at the front desk of Zackry’s gave me. MacKay pulls up finally (his jet ski seems to be going a little slower than ours, was on Eco mode or something. He figures it out). I look around for some eagles to take a pic of, I think I see one out of the corner of my eye, when I hear the roar of our guides’ jetski peeling away. WTF? We’re done here? It’s only been like 15 seconds! They’re giving us the “C’mon!” wave as they zip away. MacKay just gives me a shrug, “Fuck it”, and we’re swinging the abdomens around and gunning it to catch up with our impatient guides.
Our next stop on the tour is Pregnant Maiden cove. We skip up to the point of the island and the guides are motioning for us to slow down. We can’t create any wake apparently and so we’re put-putting our way past the moored boats and into the cove. It’s a pretty island and clearly one of the main attractions here judging by the number of boats moored. I snap a pic down the shoreline away from them all.
We get on shore and our guides decide that it’s time to actually make some introductions. “I’m The Black”, “The Black?”, he points at his arm, “You see how dark? I’m almost black”, “And I’m Rangu.”
“Rangu and The Black, I’m Jonathan”, “Jo-na-thon, Jo-na-thon (they stumble over it a bit), no this is too much. What else can we call you?”, “Call me Kobra”, “Kobra! Yes, much better. And you?”, “Bond, James Bond”, “Kobra and James Bond, very good!”
The Black describes how it’s called Pregnant Maiden cove because, supposedly, a lovely couple had a child and it died at a very young age. They buried it in the lake. And now people come to visit the lake to help with infertility and pregnancy, similar to a certain legendary cannon we just recently heard about. “Don’t drink the water! You will be pregnant haha”
The Black and Rangu leave us at the pier and tell us to take the trail back to the lake. MacKay and I are soaked from the jet skis and it is humid AF. You just can’t escape it. We walk past some monkeys and find the trail through the forest.
It’s a bit of a hike back to the lake. When we get back there we find a bunch of people, mostly in life jackets, swimming in the lake. It’s pretty back there but really it feels like just a tourist trap for the sake of it. A fresh water lake on a small island i guess. There are Swan boats and peddle boats to rent. Mainly it’s just people swimming and hanging out. None of them look pregnant.
We cut the lake viewing somewhat short. Really we’re just all about burning around on those jet skis, that’s the bomb. So we hightail it back through the woods and find The Black and Rangu in a little cafe/shop thingy. Someone is making popcorn and it smells amazing. “So soon?”, “Yeah we’re good, we’ll just grab a drink”, and we each get a 100 Plus to cool down for a sec. It’s got what plants crave and it’s way better without the Sir Winstons.
We head back to the jet skis. The guides have opened up a bit more and seem to chill out a bit since the impatience of earlier. We get some selfies and shit.
We ease out of Pregnant Maiden cove and then open her right up again as soon as we’re past the no break sign. Everyone is blaring down full tilt and our 3 jetskis are nearly side by side cutting across the water between all of these lush islands. Once in a while a boat will come our way and their wake leaves a ramp that you can jump and see how long you’re airborne for.
The Black sees me doing this after one boat goes by and I can see something mischievous in his eyes. He edges in front of me and just off to the side, when I land he swings in and then cuts quickly away. A huge spray of water kicks up in his wake and nails me in the face. It nearly takes my sunglasses off and I’m shocked, trying to wipe all of the water from my face. Those guys are laughing their asses off.
Then Rangu kicks his feet straight off the back and puts his arms around The Black’s chest. His own chest is down on the seat now and he looks like superman outstretched like this bouncing through the waves. I think this actually makes them faster. It looks badass, that’s for sure.
We pull up to another island and slow things down to moor the jet skis. “This is Big Lion Island. Or North Lion Island”, The Black points to a little shack on the beach and explains that there’s been a guy living here for the last 8 months. Visitors come by every day usually and he basically survives off of whatever people bring over.
“Man, I hope he’s got some beer”, “Oh for sure, I could totally go for that right now.” We go inside to check it out. There’s just one dude in there in a tie dye shirt, long hair and beard. He’s reading a book when we come in. Doesn’t look like there’s any beer.
This guy speaks English quite well and we sit and chat with him for a bit about where we’re from and our trip and whatnot. He’s been here for 8 months, his brother before him. I guess it’s just something they do. Go live on the island alone for a while. Seems pretty chill, I think he may fish a bit, lots of random shit around the little cabin.
Well that was cool. We thank him for the hospitality and make our way out to the beach and skis again. Nice little island he’s got here.
We kick back into the wave busting and are grinning ear to ear out on the water. MacKay keeps swerving over at me like he’s gonna sideswipe me. I take a queue from The Black and edge ahead and away from him a bit, then swerve back in quickly and cut away again. Amazing success! A huge wake slams MacKay in the face and I can see him spitting out water. I get a look from him that says “That was pretty good, you fucker”, and now we’re basically chasing each other along the water slicing into waves and jumping off of boat wakes. I really can’t express just how much fun these damn jet skis are.
Our next stop on the tour is another little island. The Black and Rangu instruct us to go get snorkel gear and meet them back here by the jet skis. We walk across the little island to a hut and toss them a couple of bucks worth of ringgit to rent some equipment. Pretty sure this was supposed to be free but whatever. Other thing is, we don’t see anyone else snorkeling anywhere. Our assumption, and this is always the first and usually correct assumption, is that this is some sort of scheme just to make a few bucks.
We get back to the jet skis and get our shit on. Hmmmmmm doesn’t seem to be much going on. The water is pretty murky from the boats coming in and out and all I really see is garbage. The littering in these places blows me away. It’s just not ingrained in people not to litter. In fact it’s the opposite. I watch Rangu open a bar of some sort and literally throw the wrapper right in the water beside the jetski.
MacKay and I move down the beach a little further but there really doesn’t seem to be a good spot to do any sort of snorkeling. That’s too bad, I was hoping for a reef, some coral, some unique fish, or something. But nope it appears to be just something to throw on the add for the trip as a bonus incentive. We don’t really care, the jet skis themselves are offering far more than their share of entertainment anyways.
On the way back to the beach to return the snorkel shit I get pricked on the foot by a round spiky black urchin of some sort hiding in the rocks just under the surface. Whoooooa shit! it stings instantly. The Black had mentioned something about not touching them, that they’re poisonous. “What’s up?”, “One of those damn spiky things got me!”, “You need me to piss on it?”, “Yes, please come piss on me. It really stings actually”, I pull my foot out of the water and see that the little fucker leaves a tiny black dot too. Damnit! I yell over to MacKay, “You’re gonna have to suck the poison out!”, “I was hoping you’d say that!”
We return the snorkels and head back to the jet skis. The Black and Rangu are worried we’re not having a good time. We assure them that really we just want to get more time on the skis. “This is the last stop though, you don’t want any more time?”, “More time on the jet skis will be all we need!”
Knowing that this is our last hurrah on the jet skis, MacKay and I go into ultra-ridiculous mode all the way back. Donuts, jumps, more wake wars, spin outs, stalls, the works. We’re not even following our guides anymore, we’re just off on whatever jet ski tangential fun we can find. And these things are a blast! Pretty kick-ass tour really. All of the islands were somewhat cool but I’d drop a hundo just to bomb around on these badboys for 4 hours.
I come flying in through the guide buoys by the beach and get dangerously close before cutting it back out to splash a huge wake up on the sand and go into a massive whirlpool donut just off the shore. The Black and Rangu are just smiling and shaking their heads. He points out at MacKay who’s still tearing it up further out doing all sorts of stupid jet ski shit. Boys will be boys.
We get back and de-booty. They tell us we’re an hour early. Ahh whatever, it was awesome. The booker dude in neon swimshorts yells down the beach to a guy who brings over a couple beer for us. Now we’re talking! Ahhh this is perfect.
We spot a sign that has other tours that they offer. We’re instantly drawn to the ATV one.
We decide to save the ATVs for later. The Black offers to take us back to Zackry’s but we have to sit in the trunk bed of the Hilux because we’re all wet. So we sit with our beers by a bunch of gas canisters that start spilling all over the place as we drive down the dirt road away from the beach back to the main drag.
Get back to Zackry’s around midday and we’re still pretty pumped. What a killer afternoon. We get some vendobeers from the hostel lounge area and kick into chill mode. Zackry’s really is a great spot. I start eyeing up some hammocks.