We were not, in spite of popular opinion, taking the challenge of circumnavigating Australia by PWC lightly and we were yet to see if we had the mettle to head out into open waters. The twelve odd kilomteres down the last of the Hawkesbury river past Dangar Island seemed to take forever and as the excitement built, along with the swell we felt like a couple of little kids laying awake in the early hours of Christmas hoping it would soon be light and we could get up and wake the parents to play with our new toys.
The weather report for the day was promising plenty of sunshine and some moderate temperatures for a Winter's day and whilst we secretly hoped for some bigger swells to really test our mettle we encountered a failry moderate, albeit choppy 1-1.5 metre swells. This was a good size to get to know the craft and also our own abilities whilst gaining the confidance to tackle the bigger stuff that we are sure to encounter on our journey. I can honestly say we never had a moment whilst out in the open wtare and we just took the time to get used to all of many functions on the ski. The cruise contriol is something that will get a lot of use on our journey as it makes modulatiing the throttle virtually unneccesary when out in open waters. The hardest thing about using the cruise control was setting in the choppy conditions but after a few goes at it it became easier.
After playing around just behind the surf breakers of Palm Beach for a while we decided it was time for something warm to drink and headed to one of the many sheltered beaches in pittwater and settled down to a nice hot coffee. After our short break we launched the skis only to find the Water Police drifiting about 30 meters off shore and waiving us in for a chat. Effectivley they just wanted to make sure we were licensed and stuff but ended up getting well excited when Rainey told them what we were upto with the expedition. We ended up having a good 10 minute chat about it all, along with the associated pro's and con's. They highly recommended letting marine Area Command know of our plans and approximate course prior to our departure so they could keep an eye on us as we traveresed the at times treacherous Northern New South Wales coast. They added that they are excited about our adventure and are looking forward to following our endeavours.
We decided to head back out past Barrenjoey lighthouse, which sits on the Southern head land of Broken Bay and head across the mouth of the bay in a Northerly direction. We set the cruise control to about 4500rpm, which equates to about 40km/h and steadily punched through the chop as we made our way towards Box Head and the Killcare region. The speed was sufficient enough to give us control of the craft and not allow them to be pushed around by the sea, it also gave us the best chance of avoiding injury through smashing into waves at a speed that would launch us skyward. After about 30 minutes we did a 180 degree turn and started making our way back toward Pittwater for one last look around before the chilly winter afternoon took hold.
One of the things that we really need to nail down before departure is a fuel consumption estimate and after our first few hours in the open sea it would appear that a distance of 160K's from the 70 litre fuel tank is about on the money. While this is nowhere near the 250km's that had heard from some peopleit was certainly a lot better than the 120km mark that we'd heard from others. Whilst not being totally thrilled with the range it's not as bad as it could have been and with all that being said we will have to reevaluate some of our intended fuel stops in the remote northern regions of the country, at least now though it gives us a figure to work with.
The jet skis are now sitting at the 6 mark on the hour metre which means we will have a nother day out on the water before the first ten hour service is due. All in all we are happy with the choice of ski we have made for our adventure and we can't to spend more time getting to know them and getting them set up for the journey proper.