Keeping the crew afloat – Wes and Charlie Davis
Brothers Wes and Charlie Davis take part in the wild Dangerous Waters adventure this season acting as the team’s mechanics. These Alaska natives are tasked with keeping the team afloat — literally — as they make their way across the Bering Strait on their personal watercraft. We had a chance to ask the dynamic duo a few questions before they pushed off. Here’s what they had to say:
Q: Who’s the older and who’s the younger?
Charlie: I’m 3-and-a-half years older than Wes.
Wes: Charlie always looks younger though, I think.
Charlie: I’m really starting to appreciate that these days. I’m 38 now and recently my wife and I went to the movies when we were down in Seattle and I actually got asked for an ID because it was rated R. I just looked at the guy and he said “I’ve have tell you guys you look much younger than you really are.” All I could say was “Well thanks … give me my license back!”
Q: What does this trip mean to the two of you as brothers living on opposite ends of the country?
Charlie: Yeah we do live a long way apart, but Wes is one of my best friends and always has been. We get along well. We talk on a daily basis and we have been on a lot of adventures together. This is the kind of stuff we talk about and dream about and say we should do and I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be able to go out and go on an adventure like this with my brother. The background and the history we have together, I don’t feel like there’s any place we can’t go and nothing we can’t do. I don’t think there’s anything we can’t pull through together as a team.
Wes: Yeah, I think for a lot of families, they’re so distanced and everybody’s always bickering … we never had anything major to argue about. It’s cool to be able to do something like this with your brother for sure. Sometimes it’s two years between trips to Alaska to visit. This is a great excuse for us to get together. It’s a privilege for me and I wouldn’t want anybody out in the water with me besides Charlie.
Charlie: We keep each other grounded. I’ve had the chance to spend more time with my brother in the last year than I have in the past 10 years. We’ve come a long way together and we’ve still got a long way to go.
Q: So, number one, what cell phone are you taking with you?
Wes: Actually this year I have a Samsung Galaxy, but I don’t have an international plan so it’s going to be getting shut off and only saved for use in case of emergencies.
Q: And I know you will be bringing an iPod with you, so what kind of music are you bringing along?
Wes: I like a lot of older rock music — so a little AC/DC, a little Guns N Roses, a little Poison, you know. I’m a little bit of an 80s guy.
Q: In your daily life back home, are there any specific websites that you find yourself referencing a lot?
Wes: I don’t get an awful lot of time to spend on the internet but I like Facebook because I think friends and family are very important and relationships are important.
Q: Anticipating you’ll have to do a lot of the maintenance for the crew, what kind of gear are you carrying with you?
Wes: I make sure I have spare wearing rings and impellers, because you never know when you’re going to suck something up into your pump. This year, we’ve got a couple of oil sensors and we’ve actually got a spare head gasket kit and a repair kit for the hull. I don’t expect us to need that but we’re prepared for anything we come across. This year we’re doing a lot more preventative maintenance on our hull to keep them from de-laminating like they did last year. We were pretty rough on our skis last year and so we’re trying to take a little better care of them this year.
Q: How do you keep yourself safe when it gets bad out there on the rough sea?
Wes: The main thing in a situation where you’ve got really rough seas is checking your fuel racks, making sure they’re strapped down tight. Everything needs to be strapped down where you need it. Another important thing is sticking close together. We’ve got a 30 second rule. Every 30 seconds, you take a look behind you and check that everybody is within sight and still doing ok.
Q: What drives you personally to go out there and take on the inherent risks that are involved with something like this?
Wes: What personally inspires me about going out and doing what we’re doing is the fact that we’re doing something that has never been done before. Nobody has ever ridden a Sea-Doo from Alaska to Russia and one of the things that excites me is being the first person to ever do it. I love the ocean and I love the big water. Once you’ve spent some time on the water it gets in your blood.
Q: If somebody walked up to you and said “I want to pull off an adventure like this.” What would you tell them?
Wes: I’d tell them, that’s great. Don’t talk about it, just do it. I’ve spent half my life dreaming about adventures like this, so I jumped at the first opportunity that came along. Don’t let the little things in life stop you from doing what you really want and love to do. Either dream about it or do it.
Q: One of the other cool things you guys have got going this year is you’ve got an App that will allow people to connect with you and follow your journey. What kind of information are you looking forward to getting?
Wes: Anything we get back from friends, family and our fans is inspiring to us and helps keep us going. It makes it easier for us to do what we do. Last year, we had a spot you could go to track us. We run a spot GPS so you can follow us along the way this year. Our iPhone app is free through the App Store and you can track where we’re at and look at a little crew profile. It’s got some pretty cool options and I’m hoping that our friends and family can utilize that a little bit.
Q: Both of you are the main mechanics on this trip. What are some of the biggest mechanical issues you ran into last year?
Wes: The biggest was Steve’s engine … we had to remove the entire engine because of a blown head gasket. We called and tried to get some advice from some of the other dealers and they told us that they had never replaced a head gasket. Sea-Doo typically just sends out a new motor. Nobody had really torn a motor apart. After we were done, Steve was like, “This thing runs better now than before we tore into it!”
Q: How do you do a fix on the fly out on the water like that?
Charlie: We’re packing the tools to do as much as we can possibly do on the water, which is quite a bit. Head gaskets in the ski and different parts like that. We could do it on the beach if we had to. Luckily, we’ve had some folks in the towns we roll into help out and some have even opened up their shops to us.
Q: Did you guys find that you were leaving stuff behind at some of the stops last year?
Wes: Yeah we left machines and lots gear in the Bering Strait last year.
Charlie: And then there was Mazzella, he left a lot of admirers behind last year there are a few women across the country still looking for him.
Q: How do you prepare yourself for an adventure like this?
Charlie: It’s hard to really prepare yourself but we did learn a lot last year. Physically, we’ve been doing some jogging, pushups and sit-ups, trying to get our wind back up, but mentally the hardest part is leaving my family. Not talking to the kids and not knowing what’s going on really weighs on my mind. Being away from home is hard.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway, what’s the biggest learning from Season 1 that you’re taking into this year?
Charlie: You’ve got to rely on yourself, every day. I mean, you can’t make it without a team, but you’ve got to be able to tell yourself “I’m going to survive, no matter what.” But still you don’t want to do it without your team.
With OtterBox as the official technology protector for the adventurers of the Dangerous Waters crew, they’ll test the limits of protection using the all new Pursuit Series dry boxes to keep their gear safe.
Throughout the summer we’ll have stories from the road, exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and we’ll introduce you to more of the team over the next several weeks. You can also get in on the action by following us on Twitter using the #OtterWaters hashtag and becoming a fan on Facebook. Stay tuned for more info!