Tucked away behind the luxurious Reach Resort in the heart of Old Town Key West is one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s got the most patient staff in what very well may be the best office in all of the Keys.
Billy Mosblech moved to Key West over 20 years ago from Orlando to start his water sport adventure business, aptly named Barefoot Billy’s.
Barefoot Billy’s offers the typical resort activities like parasailing and kayak rentals, but the outfit is best known for their guided WaveRunner tours in and around Key West and its historic barrier islands.
Just east of the long lines for photo ops at the Southernmost Point is the only natural sand beach where Billy and his staff start their unique tour. They gladly rent WaveRunners by the hour and half hour, but the parameters for play are much smaller. The guided tour not only affords people the opportunity to learn a little more about the islands, you’re allowed to go as fast or as slow as you choose. Best of all, there’s plenty of time for open, unguided riding at the conclusion of the tour.
Led by the knowledgeable Jamie and Taylor, The Weekly Newspapers took an exclusive historic and informative tour whose first stop was the aforementioned tourist must-see spot.
Even in choppy waters, the pair expertly guided the small group around Fort Zachary Taylor and into the busy harbor.
After running full blast in a single file line between sailboats and cruise ships, we eased into our second rest stop between Sunset Key and what the locals call Demolition Island. Jamie comically, yet informatively explained the incredible contrast between the neighboring islands where one boasts a minimal home value of $7 million and the other is typically inhabited by the destitute.
“I’ve got a couple of properties over there if anybody’s interested,” Jamie jibbed with a nod towards Sunset Key.
On Barefoot Billy’s first tour of the day, this group was treated to a rare squeeze through two barrier islands included in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The chance new moon lent itself to an unusually high tide that allowed the group to carefully pass through the mangroves and see rays, birds and even a snook.
Back into the Gulf, the tour continued around Fleming Key, Key Haven and another unique treat – a trip back into the submarine pits on the north side of Boca Chica Key. Again, the guides expertly slowed to an idle speed and squeezed into the secluded, narrow cut.
“This is pretty cool back here, right?” Jamie questioned, adding that it had been a couple of weeks since he’d taken a group into the pit. This stop is generally only accessible with smaller groups.
Back out into the waters between Stock Island and Boca Chica, the tour zipped back under U.S. 1 where the final stop permitted for some play time out in the ocean. For almost half an hour, riders were allowed to race back and forth, jump waves and enjoy the incredible visibility.
The Spooner family, on vacation from Corpus Christi, Texas, enjoyed their first guided tour so much that they opted to cancel their reef diving trip for yet another trip with the Barefoot Billy’s crew.
“We’d already been out diving two times, so the kids asked if we could cancel our third trip and go on one more jet ski tour before we head home tomorrow,” David Spooner explained.
“These guys are awesome,” siblings Matt and Monica agreed.
Barefoot Billy’s Watersports, tucked away behind the Reach Resort in Key West, offers an incredible 27-mile circumnavigation of Key West, Stock Island and Boca Chica Key.
Billy Mosblech relocated from Orlando to Key West over 20 years ago to start his watersports business. Today, he manages all waterfront activities for both the Reach Resort and Casa Marina.
(L-R) David, Matt and Monica Spooner of Corpus Christi, Texas, enjoyed the island jet ski tour so much the first time around, they opted for another whirl around Key West.