I've been a firefighter for 27 years. It's been a great career that has allowed me to do things like the trip. it's certainly given me a great appreciation for life, and how quickly it can be over. At nearly 50 years old, I want to do all these kinds of things while i'm still physically able!
Starting out with a 92 Yamaha 650 over a decade ago, then bought a 90 Superjet. Sold the Yammy and rode the superjet for 3 years. Then bought a 98 Polaris SLXH 1050 with a holed hulled, and 4 boxes of parts and pieces. I rebuilt it, and rode it for 3 summers, then sold it and rode the Superjet solely again for 3 years. Got out of them for a couple years, then a good friend Mr. X purchased a at the time new 2013 SEADOO RXPX 260...and had to get my own RXPX! Basically, I bought it so we could do the trip that we've been discussing. He's been wanting to do it for about 5 years, but unable to find anyone else crazy enough to go...so i stepped up & purchased a RXP-X 260 as well!
Budget: $4000 Each when the CDN dollar was in a better position. Mostly in fuel, between the skis and driving them down to Florida from Toronto, Ontario. The rest was spent on GPS, Camping gear, food, etc. The only thing different I would do is take more time and do it at a slower pace. 13 days wasn't enough time when you figure in 3 days of driving just to make it to the sunshine state for our 600+MILE seadoo excursion. Our fuel transfer system worked in the end but not the way we had planned. A 2nd gas tank that feeds direct would be ideal.
Only 2x PWC's would be making the trip, No chase boats or other vessels. Both ski's were in optimal condition (48 hours & 40 hours). Thats enough hours for them to be broken in & trusted, while keeping a distance to the dreaded supercharger rebuild issues..
As a single male I had no wife to worry about, Just my mother who was informed of the trip just days before leaving. Needless to say she was not happy.
After arriving in Miami we launched our watercrafts into the salt water starting heading south east towards the Bahama's. Standing up for the majority of the ride and using our legs to absorb the ocean swells. A seadoo with suspension would have made the trip more practical but we were not about to let some 6 foot swells get in our way!
We took the time before hand to ensure we had every item we would need while out at sea. Bringing double everything we even found a way to include a wakeboard tied on top of our gear. The extra weight actually made riding the chop much easier than normal. Arriving in Nassau the guys at the fuel docks had never seen anything like our machines(mostly Yammys down there), and on our way back, a guy wanted to buy one of them. we wouldn't sell just one, but told him to find someone to buy the other one. he called us once we were back at Chub Cay with a buddy that would buy the other one. But he wanted us to come back to Nassau so the guy could see them first. We weren't about to make that slog back after riding 20' rollers for 4 hours to get to Chub!
This was a ride of a lifetime. It was grueling, daunting, scary and often disheartening...but all worth it when I look back at it. I don't know if I'll ever be able top it, but we're looking at a Key West to Cuba run next!
I guess the funniest moment was when we had to refuel between Bimini and Chub Cay. We'd lost our fuel transfer system(A flow 'n go rigged to our spare fuel tanks) within the first hour of the trip on the first day! It was scary and dangerous trying to siphon gas fro a 120lb fuel tank that we had to balance on the dash in 4' waves! Plastic tanks on a plastic dash are slippery! It was funny in retrospect! The weather was generally good. We timed it during what was supposed to be the best time of year to cross the Gulfstream. It was manageable, but I'd hate to try it on a "bad day" with that much gear strapped on the machines. We put a little over 40 hours on the machines, but I wished we could've put more on down there!
We didn't get into any real trouble. There was a wafty at the grotto that was yelling at us for tying off the skis "too close to his tender"! It was an old 8' Zodiac with a 6hp on it. We told him we weren't about to let our $15K machines touch his crappy old scow! We buzzed him on his catamaran on our way back to Staniel...he was yelling something, and shaking his fist at us! Lol, I guess that'd be another funny part of the trip! Yes,
As far as anyone else considering this trip, I'd probably caution you against taking brand new machines! They need to well broken in with no bugs for at least 20 hours, imho! We took 5 months to plan our trip, and still had a few bumps along the way. You'll need deep pockets, and flexible time allowance if you want to pull it off. It takes a LOT of planning, there's just no getting around that. We were lucky that we didn't have any major problems, but that could have easily been a different story. It is neither an easy, or safe ride. But, once you commit, there's really no turning back.
We can not stress enough, this was not an easy journey. This is not for the faint of heart. It was a very dangerous trip all in all. We highly advise you not to attempt this journey. It's a whole different beast when you're packing an extra 250lbs of gear/gas over open ocean! Where stopping to rest for more than 15 minutes can take you off course by 2+ miles...that have to be made up with your precious fuel supply!!
Safe riding! Cheers!