After spending two enjoyable days and nights in St Augustine, we, and Michael aboard s/v Entitled, slipped our mooring ball lines. It was a crisp cool morning and there was a very slight breeze. The sun was shining and we were eager to head down to Cape Canaveral, a 20 hour sail.
If you missed our last article and video, Simon explained our passage plan from Amelia Island to St Augustine, our volunteer crew member Andrew gave an update regarding the race we had going between us and our sailing companion Michael aboard s/v Entitled. We entered the port at St Augustine and took a mooring ball for two nights.
We enjoyed the festive boat parade and millions of lights for the nights of lights. The five of us went to the Castillo de San Marcos and I provide a bit of history and we stop off at the Flager College to appreciate the architecture. Get the full scoop here Sailing to Florida St Augustine.
As we motored out of the harbor we all said our thank you’s to St Augustine for having us.
We went out through the Lions Bridge heading back into the Atlantic Ocean. The water was calm and the temperatures were finally rising.
Our seven-year-old daughter, Sienna, and I played in the cockpit for quite some time. First we played hair salon and then we played on the iPad. Previous to setting sail, Sienna and I completed her homeschooling.
We’re on week three of homeschooling and so far it’s really going good. I’m in the process of writing a full article on what I’m using for homeschooling (a variety of resources and tools), so I’ll share that with you when it’s finished. The whole concept of educating a child is overwhelming. I’ve been struggling for years with the concept alone but with some help from a friend and loads of research I’m definitely making progress.
Our passage into the night was non-eventful.
Simon and Andrew put a fishing line out but had no luck. The sunset was lovely but there wasn’t any wind. We motored until darkness set in and then a bit of wind finally appeared.
We sailed through most of the night. My husband, Simon, and Andrew, our volunteer crew member, did three hours on and three hours off doing night watches. During a night watch there’s not much to do or see. It’s usually pitch black helping to easily spot boats. If our AIS or boat positioning system is working we’ll see them on the plotter way before they appear by sight.
Aside from keeping an eye out for any lights, the person on watch ensures the sails are trimmed appropriately in addition to looking for potential squalls, or short storms. When a storm is approaching sails often need to be pulled in. For 95% of the time, however, a night watch consists of watching a movie on the iPad, playing a game or reading a book. It’s quite peaceful being in the cockpit alone in the dark. Many would think it was scary but it’s such a pleasant experience. For more on night sailing, read my article Sailing through the night – is it scary, exhilarating or boring?.
The sun eventually came up and the sea was flat calm.
I was able to join the boys up in the cockpit to excitedly talk about the Kennedy Space Center that we could see on the horizon. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to tour the Space Station. When I was a kid, if someone asked me to go to space without being able to return to Earth I would have gone. I love the moon, stars, and all the amazing photographs that the Hubble Space Telescope takes.
And to be able to share a visit with our daughter too! What a treat. I couldn’t wait for Sienna to actually see the rockets and shuttle that went up into space.
Entering the canal leading to the Cape Marina was easy.
We had to sail quite a bit more south and then come back on ourselves due to NASA restrictions and shoals. But once we were in the canal it was a straight motor to the Cape Marina. Along the canal we saw tankers, a variety of ships, boats, and pleasure crafts. There were industrial buildings, marine storage facilities, restaurants, casinos’s and bars. It was a hodgepodge of all sorts.
The marina was easy to spot and since our berth was on a t-junction, Simon simply used the tide and our bow thrusters to slowly and easily line us up to the jetty. Andrew and I fixed the warps and then we helped Michael, on Entitled, moor next to us.
Like little kids we all jumped up and down (err…Sienna and I jumped up and down) thinking that we’re one step closer to the Space Center.
Simon and I booked ourselves into the marina.
There’s a marina store filled with touristy clothes, trinkets and all sorts. We also found drinks, food and ice. We were pleasantly surprised at all the facilities the Cape Marina offered – ATM, security gate (locked at night), coin operated laundry room, picnic table area, BBQ grills, a lovely pool and a games room (air hockey, foosball, pool, TV, games console and tiny workout room).
The one thing to note about the marina, from a boaters perspective, is that the marina operates with a pylon system. When parking your boat you’ll need to tie the bow or stern to the jetty and the other side to two opposing pylons. If you’re not accustom to this type of set up it’s probably best to enter the marina when staff are on hand to assist. Getting lines from the boat to a pylon isn’t always easy.
Within walking distance from the marina there’s a handful of restaurants and bars. We opted for Millikens. Another boat that visited the marina just days before we did said that they had a fantastic Prime Rib special for $14. With Prime Rib on my mind, we all headed to dinner. The meal was fantastic.
After a good nights sleep we woke the following day excited to see the Space Center.
Using Uber, we got a taxi within five minutes. The cost was $30 for the twenty-five minute ride to the Space Center. We were dropped off at the front door and then spent the entire day going from one exhibition to the next.
The Kennedy Space Center was fabulous.
Just seeing the Saturn Five rocket that took Neil Armstrong and others to the Moon was awesome – and I’m using that word it’s truest form. And the Atlantis Shuttle making 26 voyages to space – we saw the actual shuttle!
What I loved most about the Space Center was that there was a consistent message, music and theme across the whole park. Every exhibition spoke loudly to me and what I learned/felt was that as humans we can do amazing things. We can work internationally to create something magnificent. It’s not just about America or Russia or China… it’s about all of us as humans. When we all work together we can move mountains or at least go to the moon.
The first exhibition we saw was about ‘Hero’s’.
It starts off with a slide show and video of kids, adults and astronauts talking about who their hero’s were. Some said my mom and dad, others named a super hero. The list went on and on. After the show we then walked into an area that had all these pods with a characteristic of a hero over the top. To name a few, there was tenacity, confidence, discipline. In each pod the characteristic was showcased with examples of that characteristic in action.
I couldn’t help but think that if every child had the opportunity to just see this one exhibition they’d be better off for it. After the pods we walked through the astronauts hall of fame. Sienna quickly noted that the pictures were all of men. I quickly said, ‘oh no…there’s loads of women that have gone to space.’ We then looked further down and saw the many women that have been a part of the space program.
When walking out of the exhibition I felt proud to be human, proud to be a woman…and proud to share the amazingness of Earth, space and life with my daughter. Amen! (Make sure to watch my video on Cape Canaveral to get just a small feel for the Space Center – press the play button on it below.)
After our tour, we returned to Cape Marina and shared our stories and experiences with Michael. He stayed back so to visit with his sister and brother-in-law.
It was nice to have someone to talk and share or excitement with.
All feeling very tried, we went to bed ready to make for West Palm Beach the following day. Simon was very excited as our plan was to motor down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). There’s one small part of the ICW that had the depth we needed to make the passage. For me, I was slightly nervous. I couldn’t help but wonder if running aground was in the cards.Don't miss Cape Canaveral when sailing Florida's coast. The Space Center is a must see.Click To Tweet
Stay tuned to find out how our West Palm Beach voyage goes and join us for our trip down the ICW. Subscribe to my newsletter and get a notification when I post a new article and video. Sign Up Here.
Sailing Florida – Cape Canaveral Video
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Resources on Cape Canaveral