Captains Log 201612.9

Two nights ago we were anchored in the Indian River near the JFK Space Center. Nearly 11 years ago when the wife and I got married we went for our honeymoon around the East Coast of the USA visiting people and sight seeing. One of the things we did was go to the JFK Space Center and did the ATX program. You get a guided tour of the facilities, the training center and the launch pads. There was meant to be a launch the day we went but it was postponed so we missed it. One of the things we were shown was yachts anchored in the Banana Lagoon right near the launch facilities. They go there to watch the rocket launches by the water. We both thought that was just something really cool do do at the time. We had no idea that just over a decade later we'd be on the water waiting for a launch.

It took us a while to find the best spot on the Indian river. We decided to skip the Banana Lagoon as it involved going through a Bascule bridge (draw bridge), the distance to it was about 10 miles and in the end we'd be no closer to the actual rocket itself. As it was we were about 10 miles from the launch site. After finding out which launch pad it was at and moving the boat to the nearest place, which is easy with a catamaran that draws about 2 feet of water, I started cooking our dinner. Aussie burgers with the lot. For the record, it's pronounced Auzzie. There is no "s" sound when saying it.

We opened a bottle of wine, I got the camera and we moved to the front of the boat as we were pointing right at the launch site. We couldn't actually see the rocket on the launch pad. It was about 7pm and this time of year the Sun sets about 5:20pm so we were looking at night. There were some trees blocking the view but there was the glow of some lights around so we were discussing where exactly we should be looking when the ground lit up a bright yellow. The launch was happening. I started taking pictures. It kept going p and got brighter for a while before dimming down to darkness. Then it lit up again as the second stage fired up. Not as bright as the first stage but still very bright. The noise came to us when the rocket was about a 30 degree angle from the horizon. So it took quite a while before we hear anything. I was expecting to hear the rockets fire up before we saw the launch as they fire up and hold the rocket down to confirm thrust for a few seconds. That just wasn't the case. It wasn't a loud roar either. We were 10 miles from the site so it was more like a hiss from a distant plane. The second stage burned for a while then it too stopped. A short pause later we saw a dim light again. Since there is no third stage (I checked) we're not sure what it was.

The rocket left a smoke trail in the sky that was visible for hours as the wind was very calm. We sat around chatting for a while and called it a night. The wind however wasn't happy being calm so it whipped up again giving us a very bouncy night. The next morning we found a public boat ramp close to a supermarket and we docked there. The girls went to do shopping while I kept the boat away from the dock. Getting into the spot was slow going. The water depth was about 2 feet in some spots and we have a 2 foot draft. At the dock the wind waves bounced us on the bottom and I kept pushing the boat out into deeper water as much as I could. The mil came back with the shopping in our little trolley but the wife stayed back as there was too much to carry. Due to a miscommunication I was told to look for her in the wrong part of the shopping center and couldn't find her. So I walked back to the boat and she wasn't there. So off I went again to look for her but she saw me walking away too late and was too far to call me. So she started walking back carrying the heavy loads of water with her.

After all that we realised we hadn't got everything so we went back again. Things are so much easier in a car. We've done a lot of walking since getting on the boat. We're all getting fitter and losing weight. Once that trip was done we had to find an anchorage and I plotted the course to it but we'd be getting there just after Sunset. We still got here in daylight but not much of it. The wind picked up to over 20 knots last night and even though we were in a small fetch area we still got bounced around a bit more than we wanted. Had we been at the spot where we were last night I'm sure we would have had a midnight sail to better areas.


Dinner before the launch.



Pretty sure everyone knows what this is.