At the Pier House one evening, we watched numerous boats depart for sunset tours. We knew we wanted to do a sunset sail while we were in Key West, the decision was when to go and on what boat. Because of the beautiful full moonrise in June, I also checked to see if there was a way to coordinate seeing the July moonrise while we were on the sunset tour. BINGO! We lucked out. On July 11th, the moon was scheduled to rise at 7:36PM and the sun was scheduled to set at 8:19PM.
As you might guess, there are a large number of options but after researching, I found Sunset Sail Key West who have a lovely, small boat named High Tide that only takes 6 passengers. It was a little more expensive but sounded so much more intimate than the larger boats that take anywhere for 40 to 80 people. Also, the big boats come back by 8:30, just minutes after the sun drops below the horizon in July and Sunset Sail Key West sails until 9:00 which would give us lots of time to enjoy the changing colors as the twilight appears. I booked our seats and prayed for great weather. The evening was perfect; blue sky with some lovely clouds, but a clear horizon and little haze.
We got to the harbor and it was a mad house. Lots of people loading onto lots of boats. The advantage of the large boats is you can wait to see if the night is going to be wonderful, book last minute and probably get a seat, and they were all packed full – with music blaring. We were in for a much different experience. High Tide is a sweet, small boat and as luck would have it, no one else had booked for the 11th so we were the only passengers.
Joanne was the First Mate and had everything ship shape for the start of the tour and Steven was the Captain. We motored out of the harbor, the sails were raised and then Steven cut the engine – Ah, peace and quiet and we were off. Lucky for us, we had good wind so it was cool and we could cruise at a nice pace. This was the point when Steven told us the other big boats have a sail raised but they motor the whole trip. WOW, I didn’t realize that and I would have been really disappointed.
Steven has been a Captain for many years and he told us lots about Key West and sailing throughout the Caribbean. He pointed out a large ship that is a Boy Scout sailing camp where the boys get to live and sail for a week. They learn to do everything – rig, sail, cook and clean. He had been a Captain for a summer and really liked it. When we went by, the boys were swinging off the rigging into the water below and looking like they were having a blast.
As you can see, the sunset was fairly spectacular that night and the moonrise was like adding a cherry on top of a perfect evening. I don’t think there was any way the sail could have been more perfect. Perfect day, perfect boat, perfect crew and perfect husband. YUM!