Sail Away

We took our Key West yacht out for a sunset cruise last week. Moored near Mallory Square, it sits at the dock most of the year except when we visit.

Just kidding. Other than our canoe and Sunfish sailboat, the closest thing we have to a yacht is a ten year-old runabout Sunbird with a noisy outboard that stalls every ten minutes.

It's amazing how the mega-wealthy live: the owner of this yacht also probably owns an ocean-front home in Malibu, and upper eastside high-rise in Manhattan, a horse ranch in Taos, and a winter home in St. Barts. A man walked out onto the deck and we half-expected it to be someone we'd recognize, like Sylvester Stallone or Ted Turner. Instead, he was a random Harry who likely made his zillions by inventing a new heart shunt or an internet dating site. He didn't invite us aboard so we went sailing aboard the Liberty Clipper instead.

Built in 1993, the Liberty Clipper is a schooner typical to New England during the 1800's. She spends her winters in Key West and summers in Boston and leaves port every night for a sunset cruise laden with cubed-cheese and boxed-wine. Good cubed-cheese and boxed-wine, mind you.

Her crew was comprised of a captain, first mate, and a half-dozen college kids, mostly from the Boston area. For a moment, we were envious of their life; they were beholden to little more than sea winds and ocean currents. But then we recalled the movie Dead Calm and envisioned how living on a boat with a group of strangers would test our patience and temperance. That must be why we never dropped out of college for a year to sail on a schooner.

The sunset was spectacular, yes indeed. The captain said if we watched carefully, we'd witness the "green flash", a supposed natural phenomenon where at very last moment, the brilliant orb suddenly flares a green tone. We watched with eyes wide open and saw nothing but fiery orange. Everyone else said they saw it. It reminded us of a Benny Hinn healing event, where the power of suggestion combined with group dynamics propels normally lucid people to embrace every miracle no matter how impossible.

Maybe we're just blind to green flashes and miracles. We'll still take the ones we can see.

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