Monday after Easter we moved the boat a very short distance to Cape Canaveral. The girls and I were desperate for a pool for a couple of days and it was perfect timing with my mom visiting. Cape Canaveral is a lovely area. Small, but lots going on. We pulled out of Cocoa Village in water that looked like glass. I can’t even remember the last time we had no wind. It’s been a long time and was a sight for sore eyes. It was a beautiful day. We left my mom’s rental car at the marina and she rode with us. Ben took an Uber back later to grab the car.
We did school underway. My mom loves to help with school which is a gift for me! She did school with me every single day. Maddy really takes to her and she worked pretty exclusively with her this time which freed me up to work with Molly.
We came through the Cape Canaveral lock…our first since Coffeeville way back in Alabama! I had to brush up my lock skills and then we found out that we would drop less than a foot. Basically they could have left the doors wide open. We pulled into the lock and Ben immediately noticed that there were two dolphins and a manatee in the lock with us along with many pelicans, as there were fish everywhere. My mom and the girls sat on the bow of the boat watching the dolphins. I was line handling so didn’t have much of a chance for good pictures but it was fun to watch the dolphins trying to get out. The girls were worried that they felt trapped as they were nose to the gate waiting for it to open. We wondered how often the dolphins ride through the lock.
The marina was great, the pool lovely and we had lots of fun. The girls took their new boogie boards to the pool to play with. And Madelyn got to try out her mermaid tail! She loves it, although she got a taste of how it’s a bit scary if she has it on where she can’t touch. Thankfully she does a very good and strong dolphin kick (learned back home in swim lessons!) and had Molly in the pool and her boogie board. The pool was nice and shallow so she and Molly were both able to take turns with the tail in the shallow end where they could just put their feet down. They loved it.
The girls both got Skip Its for Easter as well. Some of you may remember these from when we were kids. I certainly did and Molly spotted one in Annie’s Toy Chest in Cocoa Village and mentioned that Pulaski had them at recess last year. Molly has quickly mastered the Skip It. I can’t seem to upload videos in the blog but got a couple of good ones of her! Madelyn is doing pretty well but tends to fling hers across the ground after a couple rounds. It is a very compact fun way to get energy out while living on a boat! It takes up no space and is easy to carry to shore!
Tuesday morning we were treated to a rocket launch! We made the decision not to go to Kennedy Space Center. As our friends with kids on the loop mentioned after they also decided to skip it, it’s terribly expensive. We had the advantage of already taking the girls to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL last October. So, we really have seen a lot of it already. So, we decided to skip the very long, very expensive day and watch the launch from the marina. Ben took pictures with his good camera and with the long zoom was able to get the fire ball shooting out of the rocket. Maybe he’ll type up a blog and post! But I just got the giant smoke tail. It was really cool. We could see the rocket. Then the smoke. And then we could hear and feel it. It shook the dock we were standing on. We could feel it vibrating inside of us. It’s truly amazing how far that sound stretches and how loud it is! After the rocket launch Ben and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale for the day to look at the boat we are still quite interested in. My mom stayed with the girls and enjoyed another pool day and a nice evening with them. We are still on the fence on the boat!
Wednesday we moved to Titusville, FL. We mainly moved so that we’d be a quick drive for my mom this morning. She had to leave about 5:15 AM for the airport and would have had to leave earlier if we had stayed in Cape Canaveral. My mom’s good friend’s brother and sister in law live in Titusville. They wanted to see the boat so we arranged with them that we’d see the boat, have lunch and then they would drive us back to get her rental car. I was thrilled she wanted to ride on the boat again! We didn’t have much wind and the ICW through here is pretty. We had a nice ride and pulled into Titusville by lunchtime. We spotted a HUGE manatee in our marina. We had a great lunch with Gene and Carol and then they so generously drove Ben and I back to get the car. Grandma again had the girls (theme of the week!) while we got the car, stopped to buy some fresh shrimp for dinner and did a quick grocery run before she (and the car) left! The shrimp were fantastic! YUM! Shrimp and a bottle of wine and we had a lovely last evening before my mom had to pack up. As I mentioned she had to leave very early this morning. The girls were crushed and talked all day about how much they missed her. The week flew by!
We changed up our schedule a bit this morning. We are anchored tonight which means no getting off the boat. So, we got the kids out and active this morning. We took a walk to Space View Park. This was close to the marina and is a memorial to many NASA astronauts, employees, etc. The girls ran ahead because Carol had told us about astronaut handprints they would find. Ben and I stopped and remembered the Challenger. We, and likely every person our age or close, remembers that fateful day. I got choked up describing it to the girls. The giant TV wheeled into my 4th grade classroom. What an incredible event to watch the first teacher go into space. So many young eyes watching…only to see complete tragedy. I remember it clearly. And I can’t imagine what every teacher in America watching that happen had going through his or her mind. I don’t remember anything about how my teacher handled the situation. But I wanted to explain it to our girls and what an effect it clearly had on us since we both remember it so vividly.
We went on to pay respects to the memorial for fallen employees and firefighters who have died working for NASA in various accidents. And then onto the handprints. Molly remembered Neil Armstrong from the US Space and Rocket Center but couldn’t remember what he did. So many things that are ingrained in Ben and my memories that they don’t yet know. We reminded her and the girls put their hands in his handprints and many others to try them out. They loved the men’s handprints that were wearing rings and had ring prints in their hand print. Makes me a little sad that I didn’t see any woman hand prints. Hopefully that will be added soon!
After Space View Park we walked into the historic downtown part of Titusville and went to Sunrise Bread Bakery. I’d read about it and heard it was good. And boy was it! Muffins were incredible. Cookies were amazing. Ben liked the iced coffee because they make their ice cubes for the coffee out of frozen coffee so it doesn’t get watered down. What a great treat!
We stopped at the playground on the way back to the marina. While we were sitting on a bench in the shade staring at our phones while the girls played, another mom approached me and asked if we were homeschooling or on vacation. Both! I explained what we were doing. She was there with their homeschool group. She commented that she wanted to come ask because our girls were playing so well with their kids. We went and talked with them for a bit and explained our trip and what we are doing. Their homeschool group has 13 families and this was their park playdate. Only a handful were there today but it was great to meet them and talk and share ideas for a bit. They seemed intrigued by what we are doing and I was thrilled to talk to them. I told her that it was so wonderful that she came over. We move around a lot. When we’re in a marina for awhile we absolutely talk and befriend others but not usually when we are stopped somewhere for one day and make a trip to the park. So for her to reach out and introduce herself and chat with us for a few minutes was wonderful.
After the playground we headed back to the boat and on north. We traveled up to New Smyrna and anchored for the night. It was a lovely stretch of the ICW with cute little canals and pretty houses. We spotted our first alligator! We looked for DAYS on the rivers for an alligator and never saw one. Ben spotted this one!
We also got our first look at the damage from Hurricane Matthew last fall. Private docks that are just not yet rebuilt. Boats that have been blown into land and left there. As we continue north we will see more and more of this.
We plan to spend a couple of days here in New Smyrna. Then maybe check out Daytona Beach and then we will be in St. Augustine on Tuesday awaiting Ben’s parents’ visit on Thursday!
Get off the fence. Get the boat. You need it for return trip to the Bahamas.