Halifax Nova Scotia

Fast and free on the Halifax Harbour

Margo MacGregor


The summer of 2018 in Dartmouth was hotter than any summer I could remember and work was taking over my life. Little time was left for playing in nature. I needed to do something fun, different, and to enjoy the beautiful summer days before they were gone.

My worksite was on the Halifax Harbour and day after day I kept watching people tear around on jet skis. I actually thought they were jerks and wondered why people would do that. A new company had opened up in Dartmouth, Harbour Watercraft Rentals & Adventures, just five minutes from my house so I thought: OK, just take a look at their website, see what it’s all about.

My first though was, damn that’s expensive! Ninety five dollars to rent a jet ski for an hour? That’s crazy. I’m used to paying $50 a full day for a kayak or bike rental. But I couldn’t let it go. I knew my husband would love it, and why work so hard if you can’t splurge once in a while? I booked us each our own craft for an hour on my next day off.

We biked down to the King’s Wharf and were greeted by a super friendly staff member and offered a choice of machines. John picked the “fun one” (fast and sporty) and I picked the “comfortable one” (safe and sturdy.) We signed waivers, got a brief safety lesson and equipment overview, advice on different places to go, and were sent on our way.

Immediate joy! The speed, the sun, the salt air, the view and the freedom!

We headed straight for George’s Island, a National Historic Site in the middle of Halifax Harbour. We did a lap around and got comfortable on our machines and of course tested out what full throttle felt like—very bouncy, and so reckless it was exhilarating!

We got up close and personal with a massive cruise ship and started to work our way along the Halifax waterfront, zooming under the bridges and towards the Bedford Basin where they were launching a new navy vessel. We then did a lap around the navy ship but kept our distance from the police and Coast Guard patrol vessels.

Before we knew it, time was running out. What to do with our last few minutes of joy riding? There was only one clear option for John—find the best wakes to jump. There was plenty of traffic in the harbour and wakes to chase, so for the finale we skipped back and forth along the wake of the Halifax Harbour ferry.

So yes, we were those jerks, and loved every second of it: John going super-fast and trying to get as much air as possible; me just happy to skip along and pretend I was flying. When it was time to return, my face hurt from smiling and my body was vibrating from holding on for dear life.

Back at the wharf we collected our bags and bikes and walked to New Scotland Brewery for a pint and to immediately re-live the best parts of that exciting hour. We both agreed it was well worth the money, fully accepting that we loved being “those jerks” flying around on the Halifax Harbour … right in our backyard.