After some negotiation, Hinckley finally agreed to release the boat to us, and mid-afternoon we were able to launch the boat into the water. We immediately left and went to a different marina in Stuart where we planned to stay for the next week to assess the full situation in the boat and complete the most important unfinished and messed-up projects that we would need in order to fully operate Highwind. Top of the list would be identifying and fixing the error message on the new fridge, wiring up the windlass so that we would be able to anchor, confirming that we still have a washdown up front that works (to spray mud off the anchor as we pull it up), and adjusting David’s desk to fit in the remaining office space due to the new fridge box being built too big.
While we were gone, we had also received the repaired watermaker from Spectra and new blinds, both of which needed to be installed so that we could get rid of large boxes taking up most of the living room before David’s parents arrived to visit!
We had a bit of a busy week with work during the days and full evenings of boat projects to complete.
It was pretty stressful, but we managed to finish everything in time to head out of Stuart on Friday and head to Ft. Pierce where we celebrated with a sushi boat.
On Saturday, Mark and Robin arrived about 15 minutes after we had finished stowing away all the tools, tidying up, and vacuuming! Mark’s birthday was on Sunday and we celebrated by visiting a local brewery and then a cider brewery.
We capped off the evening with some delicious Thai food.
For the beginning of the week, we headed to Melbourne, where Mark and Robin explored while David and I worked. We had been checking out the launch schedule at the Kennedy Space Center and a rocket launch was scheduled for mid-day on Wednesday. We decided to adjust our plans slightly and head to Cocoa for a good view. As it happens, the launch was postponed to Friday, but regardless we arrived mid-week in Cocoa. David managed to find some VIP launch viewing tickets, so we prepared to take Friday morning off for the experience.
We arrived a couple of hours before launch and were shepherded onto a a bus where we were driven to the Saturn center for our prime viewing. We had no previous knowledge of what was launching, but it turned out to be the first mission of Axiom Space, a manned mission aboard a Space-X Dragon with the first all-private civilian astronaut crew heading to the ISS for a 10 day mission.
We had a fantastic view from 3 miles away from the launch pad.
Sadly the rocket was actually behind the structure that you can see in the picture, so we were not able to see it while we were watching the count down, but we were able to see when the crew boarding arm moved away to the side.
We watched some promotional videos from Axiom on a live-stream, and also there was a live-speaker at the bleachers providing us with information regarding the launch.
Finally the clock reached the 5…4…3…2…1 and the rocket lifted off. A few seconds later the sound rumble rushed through us and we could feel the vibration in our chests.
It was an incredible experience! I did record on my phone, but was looking at the ship with my eyes (the light from the engines is blinding!).
I hopped on and off calls for the afternoon while David and his parents visited the museum, though I did get to see the full Atlantis exhibit.
On Sunday we did a kayaking tour through the mangroves. We hoped to see some manatees, but unfortunately we did not. We did get to kayak through very narrow tunnels made by the mangroves where I tried unsuccessfully to steer the kayak and David tried successfully to ram our kayak into his parents’.
It was lovely to have them on the boat with us and we had a great visit!