The sun is about to set, and the waters on the bayside of Big Pine Key are peaceful. The full moon is about to rise, and being on the water to witness it happening is quite a tranquil experience.
Ten years ago, Capt. Bill Keogh of Big Pine Kayak Adventures and Allison Higgins were looking for ways to raise extra funds for F.A.V.O.R., the Friends and Volunteers of Refuges Florida Keys. The group raises money for kids programs, summer camps, and environmental education supplies for Big Pine Key’s National Key Deer Refuge. That’s when the idea for full moon kayaking came to mind. Over the years, and a rough estimate of $40,000 raised, the full moon kayak tour is still popular with locals and visitors.
“We came up with a lot of fund-raisers that year,” Keogh said, after 25 years in the kayak business. “This one just stuck.”
Capt. Keogh sponsors this event for $25 per person, which includes kayak, gear and professional guides. Last Friday, the last trip consisted of 45 guests and five guides. The trip is suitable for all levels of experience, although it’s suggested that tour takers dress comfortably for the weather and bring a water bottle. And, it’s also a good idea to bring a flashlight along, since the paddle back to the dock is lit only by the moon.
The full moon paddles run from from November to June. “The bugs just get too bad in the summer,” said Keogh.
The last two of the season are scheduled for Saturday, May 2 from 6-8 p.m. and Monday, June 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Call 305-872-7474 to reserve a spot. All proceeds go to FAVOR to help protect the native habitat and wildlife of the Florida Keys.