Chasing the Wake of the Conquistadors

Chasing the Wake of the Conquistadors Jan 20, 2023
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Following the historic footsteps down Florida’s Northeast coast aboard Sea-Doo’s newest PWC.

By Jarrett Matthews

Power Boating Canada was invited to go on an exclusive excursion hosted by Bombardier Recreational Products to test out the all-new 2023 Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170. This adventure, led by Tim McKercher, took four journalists on an excursion down to the oldest town in North America, St. Augustine, Fla. The group stayed at the historical Florida House Hotel, the state’s oldest operating inn which opened its doors in 1857.

The exploration started in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, continued down the Intracoastal waterway and North Atlantic Ocean to St. Augustine, retracing  the steps of the famous explorer Juan Ponce De León who made the journey in the early 1500’s. Ponce De León is widely known as the first European to explore what is currently coastal Florida. 

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The new Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170 is the perfect personal watercraft for any daring traveler who wants to get out into nature and entertain their wild side.

PBC’s own, Melanie Taylor, took part in this big adventure and was taken aback right away by her surroundings.

“While familiarizing ourselves with the units, we headed to Cumberland Island near the Georgia state line,” Taylor said. “We witnessed a military submarine surfacing near Fort Clinch State Park, Fla. Then, as if it couldn’t get any more breathtaking, we beached the crafts to check out a few wild horses roaming the island. I knew this was going to be a spectacular voyage.”

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Power Boating Canada’s Melanie Taylor was one of four journalists invited on this epic adventure, taking in the sights, historic locations and local cuisine.

The 2023 Sea-Doo Explorer Pro 170 is designed to let you push the boundaries and explore like never before. Sea-Doo feeds your adventurous spirit with the Explorer Pro, allowing riders to take on even the most challenging conditions.

Sea-Doo makes long-distance trips a breeze with well-integrated features such as a Garmin GPS and an Intelligent Debris Free pump system that can clear any clogs with one button. 

“Our fleet cruised between 30 and 35mph for most of the ride using the easily accessible eco-mode function on the handle-bars to conserve fuel,” Taylor said.  

McKercher and his armada made a pit-stop for lunch on the beach and utilized the massive storage capacity of this PWC to have a fish fry with all the fixings.

“Tim was able to pack everything but the kitchen sink,” Taylor said. “We all pitched in making fish tacos, grilling Mahi-Mahi and Swordfish and slicing up fresh avocados for our guacamole.”

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The Explorer Pro 170 has maximum storage capability for the ambitious adventurers who want to bring along all their food, drinks, and supplies for the trip. There’s direct-access storage in the front and rear deck, as well as a LinQ Multi Cargo Rack to transport just about anything. The LinQ system is compatible with BRP’s Ski-Doo units as well which makes the transition seamless.

Back in 1513, the Spaniards were in search of the “Fountain of Youth”, the legendary mythical water source that was believed to grant eternal life. 

Although it won’t make you any younger, this Sea-Doo model does not sacrifice comfort which is crucial for the long-distance rides. The Explorer Touring seat and an industry-first windshield will keep you raring to go all day long even in harsh ocean conditions.

“Meandering down the ICW in relatively calm conditions, allowed for an enjoyable ride to see the sights and put the Pro through its paces. However, the windshield did come in handy as we encountered some dark clouds and light rain,” Taylor explained. 

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The Explorer Pro 170 model is ideal for transporting equipment of any type, whether it be cooking, fishing, or camping supplies.

The detachable windshield protects from wind and water spray that can take a toll after a long day of journeying. The ST3 deep-V platform allows the Explorer Pro to conquer rough water conditions smoothly thanks to a lower center of gravity. 

“The handling was excellent down ‘The Old Coast’ especially through choppy ocean waters as we navigated our way to the next inlet nearing St. Augustine,”  Taylor said.

In addition to the comfy seat, adjustable handlebars make for simple adjustments whether sitting or standing.

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During their excursion, the group battled some harsh water conditions with four to six-foot ocean swells.

The Pro 170 model features just that, a 170-hp, 1630cc Rotax engine to give an ‘ideal combination of power and efficiency’ for a personal watercraft. 

The 7” wide Garmin GSP touch screen also features a built-in fish finder for anglers who want to conquer tougher areas. You can download local maps and seek out all the best fishing spots with the detailed depth finder. Another handy feature is the waterproof, shockproof compartment to keep your personal devices safe and dry while you navigate. This locker also has a USB port to keep your device on charge and to play all your favourite music.

This new model from Sea-Doo is built to go the distance and carry a ton of gear. The 150-mile trip was light work for this machine, maneuvering with ease even while weighing over 900 lbs. The wide base and low center of gravity navigate rough waters with minimal effort making it a true joy to ride. 

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