02 June 2009 | Kennedy Space Center
With the impressive Kennedy Space Center near our marina (Cape Marina), our visit to Cape Canaveral was marked by major events of the space shuttle program. From our marina's docks we saw the Atlantis space shuttle being carried atop of a 747 (piggy-back style) as it approached its landing strip at the Space Center the day we arrived. This was quite an awesome view of these two air/space crafts which had traveled for 2 days from California, making 2 stops to refuel as the quarter million pounds they weighed burned fuel at a fast rate. The morning before we departed for Charleston we sailed to the harbor in our sailing companion's boat, Beaudacious, to see the Atlantis shuttle launch. Unfortunately, the launch had been canceled in the middle of the night due to a fuel leak.
We stayed in Cape Canaveral for nearly 2 weeks while Kim went back to the US for some work meetings. With our friends Paul & Lynne from s/v Beaudacious Daniel and Maria visited the Kennedy Space Center one day and went to Disney World another day. Maria and Daniel also drove to Tampa to see their good friend Ampi who had quickly assembled a get together with some friends from the Rochester, NY area, now living in Tampa. Maria lived for 15 years in Rochester and met them all there. It was wonderful to see Ampi and the friends we had not seen in a while. Ampi's daughter and son also joined us with their respective families as well as Ampi's sister who also lives in Tampa.
Cape Marina was an interesting place. While a working marina with no frills, the wildlife we saw there was amazing. Dolphins swam around the boats, we saw a couple of turtles and, best of all, a family of 4-6 manatees seemed to live around the docks. One morning when we were leaving the marina we saw a mom and a child petting something and as we got close we realized it was a manatee drinking water out of a hose, with her body belly-up. We were able to pet it and it was so beautiful and gentle.
Cape Marina also had a group of interesting live-aboards. We were told that at one point in the '70s many hippies lived in their boats at this marina and there are still some who live there. There was a boat and a car painted the same way with peace signs all over. We took many pictures of this art work.
Soon after Kim returned and had a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center, we prepared to leave Charleston to Beaufort, NC, a 280 nautical mile passage.