September 28, 2010

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 81, Issue 1

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour Thrills Riders

Since 1992, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has been thrilling locals and tourists alike. The owner and president of the company, John Kinney, got the idea for such a tour from kayaking the Niagara rapids.

I can recall standing beside the towering waves in astonishment, wondering if I would ever have the opportunity to experience the rapids commonly referred to as the ˜Mount Everest' of whitewater rapids, he says.

According to the company's website, WJBT began in Lewiston and branched out to other locations in Ontario, Canada, such as Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. Eight boats are split between the three locations, one of which has a dome cover. All are equipped with twin engines (between 1500-1600 horse powers), and are capable of navigating through the Niagara Rivers rapids.

The tour begins with a warm-up down the river toward Lake Ontario. Guests are treated to a 360-degree turn, known as a Hamilton Turn, as the engines prepare for the trip up stream. After passing the power plants the rapids begin to intensify and the engines are pushed to the max. The captain proceeds to soak riders by driving the boat through the rapids.

Michael Trendell, a student at Niagara University, was able to experience the jet boat tour through one of the school's campus activities.

I was taken aback by the power of the river, he says. I have a new respect for water.

Trendell was able to sit in the Power Seat, which got its nickname for being the area that receives the most powerful impact of the water. The guide said I would see the most water of anybody else, I was nervous at first but the experience of being hit by what felt, like a wall of water was actually thrilling.

The tour continues on to Devil's Hole and the boat is driven into the whirlpool. It was different to actually be in the whirlpool instead of just seeing it from the top of the gorge, says Trendell. The boat was actually spinning while we were in it. That was a really interesting feeling.

At the conclusion of the ride, guests are soaked to their skin from the rivers powerful rapids. Once his tour was over Trendell says, I wanted more after all was said and done. Regardless of the shivering, I wanted to go again.

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