Probably the most asked question that I get is: “What was your most exciting One Tank Trip?”
I have had many exciting trips over the years, from riding high on a parasail over Lake Erie to traveling over a mile into the earth in a coal mine. But if I am pressed to answer just one trip that really stands out in my memory it would have to be riding the Whirlpool Jetboat up the Niagara River through the Devil’s Hole Rapids.
For openers remember that the Niagara River is one of the fastest rivers in the world. All that water tumbling over the falls from Lake Erie and then rushing down the Niagara Gorge towards Lake Ontario. The water rush creates the giant whirlpool made famous by the Spanish Aerocars that give you a birds-eye view of the ferocity of the river. What you can’t see, unless you climb down into the bottom of the gorge is the rapids at Devil’s Hole where the river drops many feet very suddenly. The waves can sometimes top twenty feet in the river!
The Whirlpool Jetboats are based in the quaint village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada and offer tourists an unforgettable trip.
I met the President of the Company, John Kinney, many years ago when I went white-water rafting at Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. He was working as a river guide. We met again in the 1990’s when he opened up the Whirlpool Jetboat ride.
I have made the journey with him many times over the years, even one time putting photographer Jim Pijor on a rock near the rapids so he could tape the thrill of the waves smashing into the boat as we came roaring up the canyon.
Well this year, starting June 1st, the rules for traveling to Canada change. You will now need to carry a passport when you return to the U.S. In the past all you usually needed was a driver’s license with your picture and a copy of your birth certificate to get through customs at the border. Thanks to 9-11 that has all changed.
Since many people probably won’t go to the trouble of getting a passport to just go across the border to visit the falls area it is expected that tourism will probably take a big hit, especially on the Canadian side of the falls. But for the folks who operate the Whirlpool Boats it shouldn’t have any effect. Like the popular “Maid of the Mist” boat ride to the bottom on the falls, they will now operate from both sides of the border, In other words you won’t have to go to Canada to ride the Whirlpool boat.
They have set up across from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada in Lewiston, New York, about fifteen minutes from Niagara Falls, New York along the river. They offer the same service they give on the Canadian side.
Also they have now added a different kind of boat, one that is enclosed for those folks who don’t like to get wet, but still want to experience a class four rapid ride. Don’t worry the traditional “wet ride” is also still available.
To learn more about the exciting way to explore Niagara Falls visit their web site at www.whirlpooljet.com
Oh, and be sure to take some extra clothes along if you choose the wet ride.