By Tao Woolfe
Long subtropical summer got you down? Follow the mantra of every South Seas explorer from Cortés to Cousteau: Get out on the water.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do that in Palm Beach County, from party boats to private tours.
One of the newest vessels to ply the local Intracoastal Waterway is the Boynton Beach Tiki Taxi Cruise. It costs only $10 for a ride, and you can stay aboard for as long as you like, or jump off — have dinner at one of the Boynton Beach pier restaurants — and then jump back on.
The Tiki Taxi, with its thatched roof and disco lights, may not be the most elegant boat on the Intracoastal, but it’s a lot of fun.
You can find your own space on the 40-foot vessel to watch sunsets and pelicans, or join the conversation around the crowded bar. Mixed drinks, soft drinks, beer, wine and snacks are available at the bar.
During a recent Saturday evening cruise, a group of visitors from Colombia took advantage of the slow, steady ride to dance, drink and glance occasionally at the mansions along the shore.
Colored lights, tucked up under the speakers and thatched roof, seemed to shift along with the upbeat mix of pop, rock, country and disco music.
A pair of lovers, lost in their own world, stood at the front of the boat and held each other.
Capt. Dave Montgomery took it all in stride.
“We have a good crowd tonight and this is only our second week,” he said. “We just take our time and everybody loves it.”
Boynton Beach resident Madeline McCreery, accompanied by her friend Casey Donnelly, said she was having a blast.
“It’s a great way to get out on the water, especially if you don’t have a boat,” McCreery said. “It’s something we really needed around here to get people out of the house.”
Donnelly agreed. “I’m having the best time,” she said. “I love it!”
The Tiki Taxi and Cruises company, based in Stuart, opened in 2020 just before the pandemic shut everything down, said owner Rosemary Kuyrkendall.
The company reopened last year and now operates boats in Stuart, Jupiter and Boynton Beach.
Kuyrkendall said she and her husband, Gene Kuyrkendall, hope eventually to add a second Boynton Beach boat to the fleet.
Cruises leave on the hour from the Boynton Beach harbor marina — right next to Two Georges Restaurant. The hours of operation are Thursdays and Fridays from 5-11 p.m.; Saturdays from 1-11 p.m.; and Sundays from 1-9 p.m.
Call 772-521-0024 for more information.
Delray Yacht Cruises
If you’re looking for a bigger, sleeker boat, Delray Yacht Cruises operates two yachts that sail out of Delray Beach — the 90-foot Lady Delray and 105-foot Lady Atlantic.
The sightseeing cruises, which offer two-hour narrated tours along the Intracoastal Waterway, depart from Veterans Park on East Atlantic Avenue.
Tours are offered Wednesday to Sunday afternoons starting at 1:30, and Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 5:30. Tickets are $30 for regular admission and $27 for seniors and children.
Snacks and a full bar are available onboard. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 561-243-0686.
If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate — and colorful — you can charter a mint- or pink-bodied Boston Whaler with a matching striped Bimini top for an Intracoastal cruise.
The 17-foot boats come equipped with a captain and can accommodate up to six people. Cruises depart from Jupiter and from the docks of waterfront hotels in Palm Beach proper — including The Breakers, Four Seasons Resort and the Colony Hotel.
“We have carved a specialty niche of bachelorette parties,” said Jason Norcross, one of four company owners. “People rent both boats, which can accommodate 10-12 people.”
The boats are very popular among Instagram fans and that is the only platform on which the company advertises, Norcross said.
The company will supply box lunches, upon request, and will also extend the $750 two-hour tours for an additional $150 an hour.
If you just can’t get enough of the adorable boats on an hourly basis, you can buy one for $54,995.
Reservations can be made only online. Visit www.palm-yachts.com for reservations and more information.