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We didn't 'Planet'! One camper van. Two blokes. Four weeks. What could go wrong?

Yeah, we know how to work an i-pod, really. Umm, where do the batteries go?

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 9 March 2007 | Views [1894] | Comments [4]

The Oxford Minidictionary says AMBASSADOR ~ "Highest ranking diplomat representing his country in another".

There has clearly been a serious misunderstanding. When I agreed to become an Ambassador, I had envisaged cocktail parties, a Bently complete with little flag on the front, and a red telephone that directly called up important people. Instead, we ended up with a van and a mobile phone. Luckily, the guys at World Nomads HQ were a very friendly bunch, full of enthusiasm for this project. And so when they kicked us out of the door and said “go see Australia”, we were only too happy to oblige.

Neither of us has been in a position to wear a dress for a long time now, so we could not miss the opportunity at Circular Quay to don an all over waterproof thing that came to the ankles. Well, at least it did on Timo, at 5’10” – Matt, having an advantage in elevation, appeared to be wearing a mini-skirt.

We had only just collected the Ambassmobile, and before taking off into the hills, a quick look around Sydney seemed the right thing to do. As it would turn out, our elementary navigational skills ensured we actually got to see quite a lot. In fact, as I write, we face a four-week tour of the Sydney suburbs.

Our time is valuable if we are to get anywhere on this huge island, so we decided on a fast tour of Sydney harbour. The latest playthings to join the mêlée of vessels tearing up Port Jackson are the jet boat operators, and boy, do they give a fast tour. If Michael Schumacher lived on water, he would own one of these.

As with most adrenalin based trips found in the Antipodes, the crew were a friendly and professional bunch of guys. They even helped an old granny up the steps who looked a little worse off when she disembarked the boat that had just come in. We wondered if she had realised what she was getting into when she booked; hopefully not a pleasant paddle around the harbour.

Trevor, our skipper who resembled Goose from Top Gun, gave a chirpy run down of the rules and what to expect. We cruised, within the inner harbour speed limit, directly under Sydney Opera House. A quick check around for the thumbs up from his twelve passengers, and he threw the throttles forward. The twin six-cylinder motors gave an angry growl and we took off. We had been warned not to bring along our expensive cameras, for good reason. Now, like a cowboy on a furious bull, I rode one handed while fumbling below to shelter my camera under my plastic dress. All the while, it felt like somebody was throwing buckets of salt water at us.

Goose raised his hand to the right, to indicate in which direction we were about to spin, and as instructed we all yelled out a hearty “three, two, ONE”! At that moment, the boat decelerated from forty-odd knots to zero, at the same time spinning through 180 degrees, the bow nearly ploughing under, while all of us get a soaking in the wash for good measure. Jubilant “Wahoo’s” follow, as Goose takes off in hot pursuit of a fast ferry. The half hour ride took in some of the sights around the famous harbour, with Goose stopping occasionally to point out famous homes, such as that belonging to the Packer Empire. We sped out as far as the harbour entrance, known as “The Heads”, messed around in the swell with some cool jumps and raced the ferry back inland. Before turning left into Circular Quay to tie up, Goose steered us under the iconic Harbour Bridge, giving us a totally new perspective of this massive structure.

If you find yourself in Sydney with a half hour to kill, and don’t mind getting wet, you could do a lot worse than pay a visit to OZ Jet boating, on the east bank of Circular Quay, that’s the side with the Opera House. The crew are a lot of fun, and will ensure you get a very different take on the traditional “Harbour Cruise”. You can mix it up out there for a full-on half hour, expect to part with a reasonable AUD $60.

A walk around the general area of Circular Quay really is a “must do” on any visit to Sydney. The hustle and bustle of commuters and tourists, boarding the ferries to all points on the harbour, and top quality buskers provide a great atmosphere any day of the week; all set against that most famous of backdrops. We, on the other hand, had plans to draw up. What on earth are we going to do with this van for the next four weeks? We were almost powerless to control the thing as it steered us toward a Kings Cross back street, out camp for the night. It just so happens there is a few bars in that area. BIG mistake.

Tags: ambassador van, the planning phase




  soso Mar 15, 2007 11:56 PM



  serdar Mar 21, 2007 7:58 AM


well hello there! its jocelyn from ozjet boating! HAHA! i remember talking to you guys and found your card in my purse the other day.. it took me a while to find your blog, your site has so many different pages! anyways i had a good laugh @ your interpretation of your jet boat ride, and the description of trevor as Goose.. HAHA! hope you guys are doing well on your journey around australia!!!

  jocelyn Apr 6, 2007 7:46 PM


Hi Jocelyn...

Thanks for that! I know what you mean... takes me ages to find them as well, and I write the bloody things!

Having an awesome trip... but now gots lots of writing to do! I'll be passing you guys before long - will drop in and say hi!


  wanderyears Apr 7, 2007 9:35 PM

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