by Shayne Benowitz
The sun tonight
sank into the ocean
a purple plum
caught in a net of
grey clouds; a silver sliver slice
of moon floated high
on the Catamaran.
That is the first stanza of a poem I wrote when I moved to Key West. In her poem Pleasure Seas, Elizabeth Bishop, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet who made this island her home from 1938-1944, described the sky’s reflection on the “shallow pleasure seas” of Key West as “most of the colors that swarm around the sides/ Of soap bubbles.”
The beauty surrounding a Key West sunset is at once indescribable and also incredibly poetic. I consider myself very lucky to have seen hundreds while sailing through the harbor aboard a Fury catamaran. Occasionally, a guest will ask, “Surely you must get tired of seeing the sunset?” And my response is always, “Of course not!” How could I? Every night the sunset is different and every night it is beautiful.
It is amazing what the sun’s refraction does to the sky, the clouds, and the water every night. I have seen the ocean’s surface dazzle golden, the sky turn the most beautiful shade of lavender, and wispy clouds shine hot pink. Being on the water when the sun is setting is all the more enchanting and peaceful.
Last night, the sun set between a break in the cloudbank on the western horizon and it looked like it was literally melting into the sea. As we headed back towards the Westin Marina, rising from the east was a giant full moon hanging low on the horizon. This timing only happens once a month, and you truly feel like the atmosphere is spinning around you. I love watching the progression of the moon cycle each night on the water as it gradually waxes or wanes. In Key West, the night sky that follows a sunset is just as beautiful.
In order to fully enjoy the sunset, I recommend putting down the digital camera. Definitely snap a few pictures, and don’t hesitate to ask one of your crewmembers to take a picture of your whole party. You’ll capture some gorgeous panoramas that you will love to look back at. But when it comes time for the sun to set, just watch it. Don’t waste it by looking through a camera lens. The beauty that is right there before your eyes is fleeting and it can’t be duplicated.
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer who is working on her debut novel. Shayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.