One of the best parts of The Watercraft Journal is the chance to hang on to a handful of the latest machines from the industry’s leading manufacturers for some year-round, long term testing. Not only does this provide the manufacturers a bunch of feature length articles starring their latest watercraft, but it also permits The Watercraft Journal with a great new vehicle to explore many of the gorgeous waterways, lakes and shoreline across the country.
Earlier this year, we had to give back the 230-horsepower 2017 GTR-X loaned to us by Sea-Doo. Although sad to see it go, we greedily exchanged it for Sea-Doo’s newest performance flagship, the all-new 2018 RXT-X 300. Equipped with the industry-leading BRP Premium Sound package, we not only had Sea-Doo’s mightiest entry, but also one with the ability to blast our favorite music from our personal smart phone.
Earlier this spring, we met up with Sea-Doo at the annual In-Water Boat Show hosted by Russell Marine at The Ridge Marina on Lake Martin, Alabama. The event is the Southeast’s largest boat show held on the water, and welcomes thousands of would-be buyers and tire-kickers, all coming to see the newest offerings. Although we happily toured the hundreds of pontoons, ski boats and even looked over a few fishing craft, it was the supercharged Sea-Doo we came for.
Once fully fueled and outside of the no wake zone, we raced south, towards the Martin Dam and hydroelectric powerhouse on the Tallapoosa River. Lake Martin is a man-made reservoir after all, powering neighboring Tallapoosa, Elmore and Coosa counties. Turning back from the dam we were surprised to spot a small herd of wild goats grazing nearby on – appropriately enough – Billy Goat Island. Although not easily spooked by our presence, they did prefer to keep their distance.
From Martin Dam, we headed back north, passing between local landmarks Chimney and Alcapulco Islands, the first of which marked by its sheer cliff walls and iconic rock formation – a massive stone protruding from the top of the island that resembles a old timey chimney.
Lake Martin is dotted with many small islands – each with its own name and compelling backstory. One such is Graveyard Island, earned its name thanks to a small county graveyard that dates back from before the construction of Martin Dam. Prior to the flooding of the valley it was just a graveyard located on top of a hill – now a tiny island in the middle of the lake. While we didn’t venture that far northeast on the water this day, we did explore the seemingly endless miles of shoreline – with the lake almost entirely deserted. We were riding on a Monday after all, and most folks are just beginning their workweek.
The night before, we stayed at the waterfront villas at the Willow Point Golf & Country Club. This allowed us to launch our new Sea-Doo freely that morning as the resort features its own launch ramp and even a beach made from imported white sand. Even at the end of our day, the beach and resort were still almost completely deserted, making it in our mind, an ideal location for future trips. We simply pulled up on the sugary shore like we were in Southern Florida. Admittedly, it was a little surreal.