Renting Jet Skis in the
a.k.a. Surviving the
Renting jet skis and tooling around the
gorgeous blue green waters of the Caribbean looked very
tempting to me when I visited the Bahamas several years
ago and again when I was at Atlantis Resort just recently.
I resisted the urge to rent them the first time but
succumbed on my recent trip to the Bahamas when I stayed
at the Atlantis on Paradise Island. I just had a bad
feeling about the guys renting them on the first
To rent a jet ski in the Bahamas, simply go down
to the beach at the hotel you are staying at and look for
the jet skis. By now, you probably
will have seen a sign put up somewhere by the hotel
stating that they have nothing to do with any of the
beach vendors and will take no responsibility for them.
Wise words on their part.
You see, the locals who rent jet skis in the
Bahamas have quite the look of a Chicago parking lot
attendant; you really wonder about turning over your car
to him. The Bahamians renting the jet skis live a very
care free life on the beach, and are not business-like in
appearance whatsoever. Furthermore, you might even be
treated to a knockdown, drag out fight amongst them such
as we saw on Atlantis beach on Paradise
But what else are you going to do? You see them
tantalizing you by riding the jet skis around trying to
attract your attention, and you aren't turned completely
away by the price ($60 for 30 minutes, $120 for an hour -
discounted to $100, of course), so you approach them.
That is, if they haven't approached you first as you were
strolling along the beach minding your own
The day I decided to go for it, I walked near
enough for a guy I'll call "Milhous" (to protect his
identity) to tell me that he would make me a great deal.
$100 for an hour, discounted from $120. I told him we had
five in our family. Well, he said, you'll need 3 jet
skis. Ok, I countered, what kind of a deal will you give
me on 3? His response was that the money was the same
(and they only take cash), but he would give us an extra
So, I asked, how do I know when an hour is up (I
have no waterproof watch). From Atlantis Beach (one of
three beaches on the Atlantis Resort property) on
Paradise Island, Milhous told me that we could cruise
over to Eddie Murphy Island (the one the actor bought),
then cruise over to the small island where they do the
dolphin encounter and come back; then an extra bonus 10
minutes just goofing around on the jet ski. I told him I
would be back and he emphasized to ask for him and only
him (each man for himself, you know).
Great. We went up to the room to get some cash
and grab a snack; my daughter offered me a cheap
waterproof watch to carry, then back to the beach we
went. About 2 hours had passed since my conversation with
Milhous. As soon as I entered the beach, one of the
sharks - I mean, Jet Ski Rental entrepreneurs -
approached me about renting jet skis. I asked for
Milhouse and was told he wasn't there today. I told him I
already spoke to Milhous (today) and that he had offered
me a great deal.
This guy offered me the same deal. He told me
he would get me 3 jet skis full of gas (make a mental note
of this "full of gas" part) and as we walked he casually
pointed to a guy laying on the beach and said "there's
He called over another shark - I mean , Jet Ski Rental
entrepreneur - handed him $100 of the
$300 I had given him and told him to fetch a jet ski.
I'll call this guy "Slick". There was a bit of commotion
and confusion getting 3 jet skis, and it was clear that
no one was in overall charge of the entire enterprise.
Eventually we were all situated and ready to go. I had
looked at the watch, which I knew to be about 5 minutes
fast, after I handed the first guy the money. The watch
read about 2:18pm and I calculated it to be another 2 minutes or so
before we were on a jet ski and ready to shove off - call
it 2:20pm on my watch.
Now the kid who helped us get onto the jet skis
I will call "GoldTooth"; he called himself the good tip
guy - obviously bucking for a bonus. He actually was a
pleasant and helpful chap and I would not classify him as
a shark like the others. But he did tell us to stay in
the area in front of Atlantis Beach where they could see
us in case we needed help (make another mental note
here). I mentioned Eddie Murphy Island and all of that
and he just frowned and stated that we could see
everything without going past "the point" – wherever that
Off we went. One of the first things I noticed
on my jet ski was a tachometer and a gas guage; neither
of the other 2 jet skis had the gas gauge; just the tach
on the one and completely missing gauges on the other.
The gas gauge read in digital bars and I'm guessing there
were 8 total bars. The guage read 2 bars. On the way to
the point and Eddie Murphy Island (I wanted to at least
get a decent look), the 2 bars started flashing along
with a red "low gas warning" light. So much for the 3 jet
skis "full of gas". I headed back. Keep
reading about the "shark encounter"...