USA Road Trip -Merritt Island and Jetty Park Florida
In order to visit Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and see the arrival and departure of the world’s largest Cruise Liner, the ‘Carnival Dream’, on Wednesday we just had stay another day and this again proved to be a great experience. On the way to Merritt WR we popped in at the Kennedy Space Centre to hear the announcement that the shuttle was docking with the space station somewhere over Australia. With the cost of $38 per person to go over Kennedy Space Center, we opted for a 7 mile drive in the wild life refuge on the same island as the space center and this proved to be our best days birding yet, with a list of perhaps 40 different species and the highlight being a group of Hooded Merganser in full breading plumage. The owner of this Florida real estate apparently donated this area it to the USA Space program on condition that the rest of the island be maintained as a nature reserve.
The town of Port Canaveron put out the red carpet for the Carnival Dream and her sister ship with a festival at Jetty Park and a ‘Light Show’ as the ship was leaving! We duly queued up and I put my name down in the luck draw for the big prize -a Caribbean Cruise for the winner and family in the owner’s “luxury suite” in one of the local cruise liners. The announcer, after first calling out her name a couple of times to the extreme delight/vexation of the waiting crowd, finally got serious and announced the winner – Johaan…., Johaan as the Americans normally pronounce my name and Audrey and I were already planning who we would invite when she finally got it out “I don’t have my glasses” she kept saying and the crowd listened in hushed anticipation – Johanna Lundstren it finally came out, with much cheering, specially from Jo-anna and her family and we realized that who to take was no longer our problem!
As we were waiting for the really big cruise liners to leave the harbor the announcer told everyone that one of the booster rockets for the Space Shuttle was arriving back and so Audrey ran off to get a photo. We had been there for the launch, heard the docking process at ground control at Kennedy and saw one of the booster rockets being towed into harbor by a USA Frigate – it doesn’t get much better than that for a space junkie!