Sunday, November 21, 2010

Titusville Municipal Marina – We see a space launch!

Fixed docks typical of the area
 We left the Rockhouse anchorage with the sun shining and warm winds. Shortly, however, the clouds gathered, the wind piped up to 15 to 20 kts on the nose and it started to spit rain. We first heard of a space launch on channel 16 as we approached the Haulover bridge which serves Cape Canaveral. The Coast Guard had sealed off portions of the Atlantic where the booster rockets were due to drop after use. We were then afraid it had been closed for a launch later today. We called VHF and found that the bridge was still opening on schedule with great relief. We zoomed through and the heavens opened up, a real deluge. We had intended to anchor our this evening but with the pouring rain and the prospect of getting Hoolie to shore in full wet gear (us, not Hoolie!) was not appealing. We called to the nearby marina and they had space for us so we came on in with the rain pouring down. After some minor miscommunication, we found our slip. Like most of the slips in the area, it was fixed, not floating. At least the pilings were of plain wood and didn’t mark the boat – we hit a few.

Fire from the rocket exhaust!
When things settled down, I got on the internet and found that NASA had a launch scheduled for 5:58 pm that evening! We followed the countdown over the internet and when it approached 5 minutes to go, we went outside to see the launch. It was cloudy in the southeast from the passing storms but as we watched the sky lit up with the glow from the launch! It was an impressive sight. We could see the fire from the exhaust of the rocket and shortly thereafter, the roar of the launch itself reached the marina. Wow, what a sight to see! We had never expected to see a NASA launch on our trip south. The launch was a “Delta Heavy”, one of the largest payloads they launch, in this case a spy satellite.

After that we had a wonderful dinner with stuffed pork chops, southern green beans and more. What a great day! I had always wanted to see a launch, great sight!