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Friday, July 8, 2011

Haulover Canal - The Last Launch


Cape Canaveral viewed from Haulover Canal


Brown Pelicans
Today took my family to see the end of an era. The Space Shuttle Atlantis did lift off for the last time and we witnessed history. My wife's sister and her family came to visit and see the launch. The only problem was  that I only have two kayaks and cannot seat 10 people. Spent most of the time out of the water helping my sister in law and her family to rent a kayak and, as a matter of fact, my wife and I never were together in the same boat. The only thing I have to say about this is that there are outfitters...and there are outfitters. We managed to get kayaks from the two of them on site today and, let me tell you, I will never ever use an outfitter again. To be fair one of the outfitters had snacks, water, and even hamburgers for their clients. They also were very open and let my wife be apart from the group. The others were control freaks, very professional and safety oriented(sort of), but control freaks anyways. Water under the bridge. Back to what it is important.

Launch Pad

On our way to Haulover Canal today saw a nasty accident on SR46. Three cars were involved. I heard later they closed SR46 for a while. We arrived at Haulover Canal around 8:30. The chances for it to go were only 30% but I have never being good playing the odds. Just hoping for the best. Not going to enter in the put in and take out details because this was not a normal day there. It was crazy and I expected that. For information about Put In/Take Out please check this post: Haulover Canal.

Crowd at Haulover Canal waiting for the launch

T - 30 seconds...

As you can imagine there were hundreds of people in kayaks waiting for the last launch of a space shuttle. But it was not a problem to find a spot to see the launch. We beached our kayaks in the same spot we did for the Endeavour launch. The big difference today? It was really hazy. Many kayakers were talking about the 70% chance for the launch to be scrubbed. But as the T minus zero approached the crowd became very optimistic and animated. There were people from England, Puerto Rico, California, Daytona and other parts of Florida. When I saw 11:25 in my clock asked wifey to be ready because it was going to happen at any moment. We did not wait too long. At 11:29 Space Shuttle Atlantis did lift off and this is how it looked from our kayak...


Lift off!!!!!
And there it goes!!!!

Atlantis leaves the launch pad for the last time

Up...Up...and away!!!!

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

And it keeps going

...and going

...and going

...and it is gone!!!!!!!!

A view between the clouds


After the Atlantis, and the sound, were gone, a sea of kayaks started the return back to their respective take outs. We let the crowd go ahead and took a detour where got some wildlife pics(sorry...could not help myself)...

Tri-Colored Heron

Great Egret

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Great Egret at Bair's Cove

Great Egret

NASA Helicopter
Took one of my wife's nieces to Bair's Cove to see manatees where we saw a couple. Did not have a chance to shoot pics at it. Left almost at 1:30 the canal area. The traffic at that time was light and had an easy trip back home. It is sweet and sour to know that there will be no more launches. I remember the first one, Columbia, went out to space when I was a high school senior ready to go to college. The Challenger tragedy happened my last year in college in 1986. The Columbia was destroyed during re-entry in 2003, when I was living in Chattanooga, TN. Today, July 8th 2011, saw the end of an era when the Atlantis left Cape Canaveral at 11:29AM. What is going to happen now with the space exploration? No one knows for sure so we can only enjoy the memories and the experiences the space shuttle program left. God Speed Atlantis...


More pics in our Photobucket album, Haulover Canal.

Thanks for reading and see you soon for another Views From Our Kayak.


A view from our kayak

2 comments:

  1. Great pictures and story. Thanks for sharing.

    Seldom Seen Slim in Lompoc, Ca soon to be living in Titusville

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing.

    csb

    ReplyDelete