There is a fine line between traveling while ensuring that the local inhabitants and companies profit from your visit and permitting the same population to take advantage of you. I have never had this experience with any other excursion on the island. Not this year, not ever. Nevertheless, I am mindful that visitors often struggle with this. Not exclusive to this island but with leisure travel in and of itself. To accurately depict the afternoon, I must distinguish the experience with the business partners from the adventure I had on the water. While I have good recollections of the time with my sisters, I do not have a single positive on the organizational side of the excursion.
Let us rewind. We attempted to do this excursion for a week before we eventually got the chance. We showed up to Reduit on multiple occasions, and we were informed to wait, and the jet skis were somehow always on the way but never arrived. After roughly three tries, I grew annoyed. But somehow, I ended up back on the beach with my sisters, ready to try again. Persistent, the two men facilitating the rentals were adamant that the machines would appear. My sisters were excited, and I refused to be responsible for disappointment, so we waited. One of the two machines appeared, and I knew we were in business. I made several attempts to talk down their excessive prices. It did not get me far. I was prepared for the negotiations to be over as there was no convincing or consideration that most companies give with local pricing. Strike one, but also make sure my money enters the local economy, right? We are instructed that the staff member’s hands will raise, signaling us to shore at the 4o minute mark. Keep in mind that this pricing is typically for half an hour, but he threw in a few extra minutes as we were giving him a good sale, or so he said.
So, fast forward to the good part, or the exhilarating afternoon, per the title. As mentioned in a few posts, you can always find me engaging in water activities. Although open bodies of water terrify me, and I can only swim if my life is in danger. Thankfully, life jackets were included in this activity. My younger sisters and I suited up and claimed our machines. Though there were three of us, we opted for two jet skis. My sisters felt more comfortable riding with one another (the chances of us renting three machines were also slim to none). For the first five minutes or so, we tested the ability of the machines. We took it slow and ended up beyond the crowded area of the beach. The thrill of pushing the speedometer while zooming off into an open area thrilled me as much as it scared me. My joy and sense of freedom continuously won the battle until I realized I could not locate my sisters. The feeling of irresponsibility for their well-being quickly set in. The moment I found them, it was a wrap. I did doughnuts around them and continued my fun. Safe fun. The feeling of being surrounded by nature and the peace brought. If freedom and our joy were personified, it would be me on a jet ski, not necessarily moving, but just sitting. I sat in the middle of the water. I admired my surroundings with the ability to go anywhere but decided not to.
The feeling was rudely interrupted. Before 25 minutes passed, we were being aggressively waved back to shore. My sisters made their way back first, and I followed soon after. Confused, I asked why we were being rushed back when our time did not come to an end. (I had my phone and kept track of the allotted time.) Angrily, the man responded that he gave us even more time than he originally stated. I knew the time I paid for did not yet come to an end, so I told my sisters to pose as I got their photos, then vice versa. His anger grew until he had enough and asked us to get off. It was then that I realized white tourists lined up for this excursion. It clicked.
Do I recommend jet skiing? Yes. However, I strongly do not suggest the two entrepreneurs that we rented them from. This was the first time I truly experienced the harassment that visitors undergo. Do the best that you can. Be sure to ask questions, even if they are met with frustrated responses, and ensure that your money is utilized in the way it was agreed upon. Like I said before, there is a thin line between supporting the local economy and that same economy taking advantage. Happy jet skiing!