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USA Road Trip -Merritt Island and Jetty Park Florida

Updated on November 17, 2012
Jetty Park Patrol -USA Coastgaurd
Jetty Park Patrol -USA Coastgaurd
Carnival Dream-at dock in Cape Canaveron
Carnival Dream-at dock in Cape Canaveron
Largest Cruise Ship in World -Carnival Dream leaving Cape Carnaveron
Largest Cruise Ship in World -Carnival Dream leaving Cape Carnaveron
Crowd at Jetty Park waiting for the launch of Space Shuttle
Crowd at Jetty Park waiting for the launch of Space Shuttle
USA Navy bringing the capsule back into harbour
USA Navy bringing the capsule back into harbour
Fishing the Jetty at Jetty Park
Fishing the Jetty at Jetty Park
Waders -on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge - a great birding place
Waders -on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge - a great birding place


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!


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    • Johan Smulders profile image
      Author

      Johan Smulders 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      A better option and cheaper.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I got to see the Space Center years ago when I went to Disneyworld. If I get there again, it is the wildlife refuges that will be top priority!

    • Johan Smulders profile image
      Author

      Johan Smulders 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the comment-a great place to visit.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Johan. Brings back great memories of our visit to the Space Coast. Great job.