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Got a hot date with your loved one this weekend? If so, then start the evening with a romantic "sunset walk" by the bay, complete with a full-moon-rise over the twilight-bathed city and its scintillating lights. As the pumpkin-like moon silently launches itself over the east horizon, pause, place your lover in a spoon-like embrace facing east, make an "O" in the shape of the moon with your lips, and plant a warm, wet kiss on the back of his or her neck.

Moonrise from Coronado

Only a few spots around town really work well for this scenario. Your special spot should feature a low east horizon, plus a water surface spreading eastward so as to produce glimmers of reflected moonlight. In time these glimmers will multiply into a shimmering "glitter path" across the watery surface.

In North County try the nature trail along the north shore of Batiquitos Lagoon, starting at the end of Gabbiano Lane in Carlsbad. A few minutes' walk east takes you to a point very near the shoreline. At Mission Beach, the place to be is on the Bayside Walk (a sidewalk/bike path), just east of Mission Boulevard. Along San Diego Bay, you can stroll the bayfront sidewalks on Harbor Island or Shelter Island. From Shelter Island in particular, the late-summer full moon comes up right over San Diego's downtown skyline. At Coronado, try the new bayside footpath running from the Old Ferry Landing to Tidelands Park. Here's another idea: If the timing is right, catch a ride on one of the ferries or excursion boats that ply the waters of either San Diego Bay or Mission Bay.

When is the right time? On Saturday, September 5, the full moon will appear very low in the eastern sky around 7:05 p.m., a time nearly coincident with sunset. The next evening, Sunday, offers a more dramatic spectacle: at 7:45 p.m. the moon makes its debut in a sky colored deep purple by the advancing twilight. For each of these two evenings there's about a 50-50 chance of having low clouds over San Diego's coastline. If the coastal overcast spoils the show, try again during early October, when the odds of a cloud-free sky are somewhat better. On Sunday, October 4, the full moon rises near 6:15 p.m., just before sunset. On the next evening, Monday, the moon appears around 6:55 p.m., in deep twilight. The times of the moon's first appearance given here are rough. There may be delays of up to several minutes as a result of tall buildings or other obscuring features along the east horizon.

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