The Wet Dog team is making the journey from Anchorage
to Bristol Bay in hopes of seeing a 2,000-mile
race on personal watercraft become a reality in the near future. Judging from
what they've learned so far, team members are optimistic about that likelihood.
KMXT's Erik Wander spoke to them when they stopped in Kodiak.
The goal of the Wet Dogs' trip around
the Alaska Peninsula is to lay the groundwork
for the Alaskan Wet Dog Race. Team leader John Lang referred to the group's
current journey as "re-con work." Lang, who has been planning the trip for
about a year, said that with weather delays and mechanical failures, he's
already learned some valuable lessons.
1 34 sec. "To figure out what we need ... for
when people break down.")
the trip from Anchor Point to Kodiak, one of the watercraft broke down twice
due to electrical problems and had to be towed into Kodiak, after the team had
already been delayed by fuel line troubles and unfavorable weather conditions. Team
member Petr Bucinsky was changing the battery on his craft Tuesday afternoon in
Saint Herman Harbor, where the group docked in Kodiak. Bucinsky, who has been
jet skiing for about 25 years, described the sport as his "occupational
therapy." He said that while the trip has had its challenges, it has been a
rewarding experience thus far, being out on the water and working with the team.
1 20 sec. "It went very well ... everybody is
Gina Poths said
her biggest regret so far was not making it to Kodiak in time for Crab Fest.
She said the most challenging element of the trip is keeping the crafts going
while pushing them to test their durability and endurance.
1 34 sec. "It's the whole biggest thing ... oh,
my gosh, what's wrong?")
said that despite the mechanical problems and other issues that have arisen
along the way, his goal of making the race a reality is a reachable one.
He said breakdowns are going to occur, but that he hasn't seen anything yet
that has changed his thinking.
2 33 sec. "Those are going to happen ... no
Team member Ralph
Perez, who is involved in offshore personal watercraft racing in Los Angeles,
said he came to Alaska to join the team because he liked what Lang was trying
to accomplish. Perez believes the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of
the world in supporting PWC racing. He said there are a lot of misconceptions
about PWCs in this country and agreed with Lang that the race is feasible,
given certain conditions.
1 48 sec. "Probably just a few bad ... can
perform in these waters.")
The Wet Dogs are
travelling with a two-member film crew and a support boat. Their next stop is Old Harbor.
Lang said that barring further weather or mechanical delays, the group should
reach its ultimate destination, Iliamna, in about two weeks after rounding the Alaska Peninsula.
HOST TAG: The Wet Dogs left Kodiak, bound for Old Harbor,
this (Wednesday) morning.