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Discovery’s Final Launch and Cocoa Village’s Mardi Gras

I’m feeling well enough to take a four hour boat trip to Cape Canaveral, so we left this morning and motor-sailed just north of NASA Causeway bridge and anchored a few miles off Cape Canaveral.

Discovery's Final Launch at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral 2-24-11

We arrived one hour and twenty minutes before Discovery’s historic final launch. It was a beautiful day for the lift-off and we had a great view from the water. We listened to what was going on at the NASA headquarters via radio while the count-down continued. There were problems with one of their computers that wasn’t resolved until the very last minute; making a tense situation for all concerned, even for those of us listening, watching, and waiting to see if the lift-off was going to happen.

The successful lift-off was applauded by all, and many boaters blew their air horns in celebration. We watched the fire ball of the launch in awe as we heard the rumble from the engines reach us minutes later. We watched the vapor trail as it disappeared into the clouds, taking the astronauts safely into orbit. WOW, what an experience!

The next day, we motored south, the short distance back to Cocoa Village. We took the dinghy to shore and tied up at Coco Village’s lovely boardwalk, so we could walk into town to buy our tickets for tomorrow’s Mardi Gras celebration. By the time we got back to White Swan, Ed, Cheryl and Molly had arrived aboard Lady Bug. The original plan of going to watch the launch and then the Mardi Gras was Ed’s; and when their plans changed due to unexpected circumstances, we decided to go ahead to watch the launch and we are thrilled we did. Glad they made the journey to join us for Mardi Gras, we joined them on Lady Bug to make our plans for the following day.

Mardi Gras at Cocoa Village

The Mardi Gras parade didn’t start the next evening until 9:00 PM, so we delayed going into Cocoa Village until 6:00 PM. Cheryl and I chose to eat aboard our own boats, since we both have intestinal issues, but Gary and Ed were excited to partake of the Cajun cuisine offered at the food vendor’s booths. Gary enjoyed the spicy gumbo until the hot sausage burned all the way to his gut. The Cajun seafood wrap of “etouffee” set better with him. (I’m sure I would have met my demise if I’d had a bite of either.) A lady shared her “beignets” with us, and according to Ed and Cheryl, they were not anything like the delicious puffy pastries of New Orleans.

Men on stilts entertaining the Mardi Gras crowd

Gary nor I have experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but according to our limited knowledge from what we’ve read and/or seen via the media, Cocoa Village’s attempt to present a Mardi Gras atmosphere was nicely done but on a much smaller scale. Masked and costumed visitors to the affair enjoyed three different venues of music and dancing, various food vendors, games for the children, and of course the Mardi Gras parade with an endless array of beads being thrown to the uplifted hands of the viewers lining the parade route.

The celebration continued until midnight without the four of us, because after the parade, we chose to go back to our boats. It was a fun night for all of us.

The next morning, we motored back to our marina, and tied White Swan securely into her boat slip until I’m well enough to try once again to go to the Bahamas. The gastroenterologist gave us strict orders that we are not to leave until I am well. “People have died of this (c. diff.).”, he said. I checked that out on the internet and found out his statement was a scare tactic, as approximately 300 people a year are known to die of c. diff., not a large percentage; so I think my odds are pretty good of staying on the “right side of the dirt”. However, we’ll be cautious with any plan to leave home for an extended period of time.

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