Tuesday may be Soylent Green day, but Wednesday was manatee day. For the first several hours, a large aggregation of them bobbed around us at manatee speed, which basically is the speed at which a manatee would struggle in a race against a sloth if sloths were aquatic. And yes, we looked it up. A group of manatees is called an aggregation. This one had a population of at least fifty, although they stretched out over miles. More manatees than we see in Arizona, that’s for sure.
The problem with manatees is that they barely break the surface—so photos are hard to come by—but right about here we were surrounded by dozens of them.
Dana did manage one decent photo out of significantly more than one try, however, which should be enough to prove we’re not making this up.
Although this time through Haulover Canal we didn’t see any alligators, in addition to photo-averse manatees there were lots of birds hanging about. And a collection of trees that are very vaguely reminiscent of the big W where Smiler Grogan buried his loot, although Dana mostly took the photo because they look cool.
Haulover Canal bisects NASA property, which explains the signs. That’s why they call this the “Space Coast.” Duh.
Speaking of NASA, we can’t pass through here without a photo of the Vehicle Assembly Building. That’d be like ignoring the Statue of Liberty. It’s just not done. Any building that can house a vertical Saturn V has to be one of the coolest buildings in the world, at least according to us.
While on the subject of NASA, how about VFL Josh Dobbs? Despite the fact that almost single-handedly he extended the abysmal Butch Jones experiment, that time he drove the Dobbnail boot into the lyin’, cheatin’ Georgia Bulldogs was historically awesome. Then last week the miserable Cardinals—who desperately want the opportunity to squander the first pick in the 2024 NFL draft—traded him because they can’t afford another win. Whereupon the NFL promptly named him the Offensive Player of the Week after the improbable Viking victory in Atlanta. That’s goosebump stuff right there.
After all that exciting wildlife and NASA stuff, we rolled up to Cocoa Village. Cocoa Village is a short scooter ride from Cocoa Beach, which would be very important information if (1) we had felt like scootering to the Ron Jon Surf Shop and (2) we hadn’t already used more than an acceptable number of I Dream of Jeannie references in prior posts.
Yesterday brought a glorious sunrise that the Hubert Humphrey Bridge mostly blocked, before we made the run down to Melbourne.
As we pulled in to Melbourne Harbor late yesterday afternoon, we learned that NASA was launching a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Center at 8:28. Well, well! This’ll be awesome! The dockhand said the rockets fly right overhead, and Tumbleweed’s bow would be an excellent vantage point. Let’s tie up, eat dinner, and get ready.
As the sun set, youthful sailors returned from sea, undoubtedly as excited as us to watch the early stages of the trip to resupply the International Space Station.
Meh. We set everything up for a fabulous photo. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. We watched the countdown and the launch on NASA’s website so we know it happened, but it damn sure didn’t happen over us. So here’s a photo of where the rocket was supposed to be, taken at precisely the time it would’ve been visible if the dockhand hadn’t brazenly lied to us. Or maybe there were clouds. Or maybe it went the other way.
Whatever. The rowers were out this morning even before we walked past the public art installation on our way to breakfast.
Now about planning. What the hell is the point of it? When we first headed towards Florida and the ship that’ll carry Tumbleweed to British Columbia, the loading date was about Thanksgiving. No worries, we’ll have the girls fly to Florida for a few days.
Then the shipping date moved to the first week of December. Grrrr. Okay, book plane tickets and a rental car and we’ll fly to Sacramento for Thanksgiving with the girls at Shannon’s house in Napa, then fly back to load the boat.
Then a couple of days ago, word arrived that we’re pushed out at least another week. Now we know why people abandon their boats in Florida. The point is, we had been slow-playing the trip down but who wants to sit around in Florida for a month when you can’t even see a flippin’ rocket launch? Nobody, that’s who. So luckily we found a spot in Fort Pierce and hustled down this afternoon. Cancel the plane tickets. We’ll drive a rental car across to Arizona, have Thanksgiving with the girls, then fly back when it’s time to meet the cargo ship.
But first, some more abandoned-boat porn.
Turns out, people even drag boats from other places to dump them in Florida. For example, here rests the sad remains of Ultim’Emotion 2. This quite-expensive racing trimaran was 160 miles from shore and leading a huge field in a race from Newport to Bermuda when her 102’ mast snapped off. Now her future is uncertain, because the guy who bought her failed to realize that (1) there’s no place along the Florida coast that can accept her beam and (2) the ICW bridges only have 65’ of clearance. Oops.
This guy hasn’t abandoned his boat, but slowly tacking back and forth across the narrow channel—with no radio—still makes him a jackass in our book. It wasn’t until later that we realized he basically was naked to boot.
So we’re tied up in Fort Pierce for the next month. We’ve schlepped stuff up to the minivan in anticipation of a morning departure. When we next post something, hopefully it’ll include a photo of Tumbleweed being hoisted for her journey to Victoria.