Jet Ski around Australia arrives in Darwin, finish line just weeks away

A solo Jet Ski ride around Australia is only weeks away from the finish. In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Lindsay Warner in Darwin to find out how he successfully navigated the most dangerous and remote region of Australia.

The first solo Jet Ski ride around Australia is now on the home straight after Lindsay Warner arrived in Darwin on the evening of Saturday 7 August 2021.

Lindsay Warner has only about two or three weeks remaining on his journey, before he is due to arrive in Exmouth on the far north coast of West Australia, where he started on 1 March 2020.

As Watercraft Zone reported earlier, Lindsay Warner’s solo Jet Ski ride around Australia was twice interrupted by travel restrictions and border closures during the coronavirus crisis.

However, he has been going non-stop since 26 June 2021 and has so far avoided the most recent lockdowns and travel restrictions as his journey has managed to stay ahead of subsequent coronavirus outbreaks.

After departing Mallacoota near the NSW/Victoria border on 26 June 2021, Lindsay Warner arrived in Darwin on the evening of 7 August 2021, having covered the entire coastlines of NSW and Queensland and half the Northern Territory in 43 days – including a handful of rest days along the way.

As this article was published on 8 August 2021, Lindsay Warner had just completed his most recent leg from Cairns to Darwin in 20 days – one day short of three weeks – after spending two nights at Restoration Island with ‘Millionaire Castaway’ David Glasheen, and two nights on Horn Island.

Lindsay Warner departed Cairns in far north Queensland on 19 July 2021, rounded the northern tip of mainland Australia on 24 July – where he stopped briefly and did a symbolic figure eight, but unfortunately didn’t capture any photos or video because his camera battery was flat – before continuing on to nearby Horn Island in the Torres Strait for the nights of 24 and 25 July 2021, where locals held a fundraiser.

Prior to arriving at The Tip of Australia, Lindsay Warner made an impromptu visit to Restoration Island – north of Cooktown – where he was greeted with a warm welcome by ‘Millionaire Castaway’ David Glasheen, a former mining tycoon who moved to the island after losing his fortune during the 1987 stock market crash.

Lindsay Warner said he had planned to stay further north that night, but stopped on a beach on Restoration Island for a short rest before his final leg of the day.

Above: Lindsay Warner (left) with David Glasheen (right) on Restoration Island in July 2021.

“I pulled up on the beach and here’s this old man with white hair and a long white beard walking along the beach,” Lindsay Warner told Watercraft Zone in a phone interview from Darwin.

“Curious to find out why there was a Jet Ski in such a remote part of the world, we quickly struck up a conversation and, next thing you know, he invited me to stay.”

Lindsay Warner, who had heard about the mysterious ‘Millionaire Castaway’ on an ABC Radio podcast, happily accepted the invitation.

“It was a magical place, one of the highlights of the trip, and completely unplanned,” Lindsay Warner told Watercraft Zone.

“We had camp-oven dinner, drank home-made beer, ate oysters straight off the rocks, plus I got two really good nights of sleep.”

David Glasheen has been on Restoration Island since 1997, where he lives a subsistence lifestyle. He has a mobile phone for emergencies, but relies on solar power to recharge the device.

After departing Horn Island on 26 July 2021, Lindsay Warner made it to the Gove Peninsula in East Arnhem in the Northern Territory – covering the entire Gulf of Carpentaria after riding for seven days straight.

Once he departed the mining town of Weipa (the first night’s stop after travelling there from Horn Island in one day), Lindsay Warner then ventured into the most remote section of Australian coastline, with few safe places to stop along the way. 

Forced to camp some nights due to the remoteness, Lindsay Warner had to anchor his Jet Ski by the water’s edge and walk far enough to find high ground, to reduce the risk of a crocodile attack.

One day on the water, Lindsay Warner encountered dense fog due to low winds and high humidity. 

After becoming disoriented while about 50km offshore and 60km from that day’s departure point, Lindsay Warner made the decision to turn back part of the way, and detour around the fog.

With no landmark as a guide, Lindsay Warner was concerned he could become disoriented if he didn’t find clear weather.

“Usually you can tell which direction you’re travelling by looking at the path of the waves, but that day the water was like glass, so I had no idea which way I going,” said Lindsay Warner. 

“I had to rely on my handheld navigation unit but that didn’t give me quite the detail I needed, so I played it safe and headed closer to land to get my bearings again.”

After a gruelling run from Horn Island to Darwin – following the Australian coastline of the remote Gulf of Carpentaria – Lindsay Warner says his 2017 Kawasaki Ultra LX Jet Ski is getting a service and he is having a well-earned rest.

Lindsay Warner plans to depart Darwin NT bound for Exmouth WA on Tuesday 10 August 2021 or Wednesday 11 August 2021, weather permitting.

“I reckon I could reach Exmouth from Darwin in two weeks if the weather is good, or three weeks if the weather is bad,” Lindsay Warner told Watercraft Zone in a phone interview from Darwin.

“I also might take my time to do some sight-seeing rather than going past a lot of this magnificent coastline, but if the weather is good I prefer to cover as much distance as possible.”

Above: Lindsay Warner borrows a boat trailer from a local volunteer to refuel in remote Queensland. 

For now, however, Lindsay Warner says he is still taking the journey one day at a time.

“What excites me is getting each day done,” said Lindsay Warner. “If I get ahead of myself, then I’m not staying in the moment. That said, getting to Darwin is a big step, because it means I’ve come a long way.”

His next stop after Darwin NT is the remote town of Wadeye WA, but he will need to time his arrival with the vast tide.

“To get assistance and refuel there, the barge can only come in on high tide, so I need to get the timing right,” he said.

From Wadeye NT, Lindsay Warner will eventually cross into West Australian waters and continue his journey south past Broome WA before reaching Exmouth WA, where his journey began.

Read about the first half of Lindsay Warner’s solo Jet Ski ride around Australia here.

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Photo credit: All images courtesy of Lindsay Warner and are used here with permission.