Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cocoa Beach

Long Point Campground was a Brevard County Park in the very southern end of the county.  Manatee Hammock is another Brevard County Park – in the very northern part of the county and (SPFB) is right across the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center.  The campground is older, fairly crowded and is well stocked with folks from Michigan – Jackson, Chelsea and Cheboygan!   Across the way, behind us was a couple from Manistee who even brought their flock of plastic flamingos!  At Christmas time, the pink creatures even “pulled” a sleigh with Santa in it.  What a vision that must have been?

We revisited old “historic” Cocoa Village and a must stop was the Travis Hardware Store that has been in business since 1885.  We think some of the items stacked and stored on the high dusty shelves have been there ever since then!  A true “hardware” store!    In and out of the eclectic boutiques and antique malls proved an adventure in itself. 
Between the mainland of Cocoa and the barrier island, which hosts Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral is Merritt Island.  All 3 are connected by high arching bridges and beach lined causeways, which are dotted with fishermen, sunbathers and on some days even adventurous kite boarders.  H spotted the bright colored kites sailing up over the mangroves and pulled into one of the parking areas so we could watch.   The fella with the bright red one was zipping back and forth along the edge and putting on quite a good show with his spraying wake and high flipping jumps!  The guys with the blue and green kites must have been beginners since their kites were in the water more than in the sky.
Our stay in this area MUST always include a walk on the popular Cocoa Beach.  We usually get to stop and visit with dear friends from home – Lois and Dave who winter in a condo –RIGHT on the beach but they were unexpectedly called back home so that fun part was missing.    Instead we parked down the road at the Lori Wilson Park and walked 2 1/2 miles, past their cluster of condos to the very populated fishing pier in the busiest part of this beach town.  Since it was a warm sunny Sunday afternoon – the beach and water were full of families with throngs of kids.   The multitude of children were either happily digging in the sand or gaily dancing in and out of the foamy waves.   H even had to dodge the waves like one of those tiny darting shore birds as the wet froth advanced and then receded!

At the northern tip of Cocoa Beach is the busy Port Canaveral with cruise ship terminals, pleasure vessel harbors and commercial docks. Up and over the drawbridge that crosses the channel that leads thru a set of locks you can see east towards the ocean and view the busy water highway.  Look on the right of the water and you can see one of the 7 story cruise ships that is secured and waiting for her passengers to board.  Compare her size to the black ocean freighter that is moored on the left of the channel!  Just over the low white building is the top of the Exploration Tower that we “explored” last year!   This time there were 4 mammoth cruise ships in port – including the very popular Disney ship, complete with an oversized Pluto suspended aft.  He was painting the Disney logo on the back of the vessel and was doing a splendid job of it, it seemed. 
Our week in port has come to an end and it’s time to say good-bye to the ocean and move inland.  This time we are heading west to Moss Park – between St Cloud and Orlando.   It’ll be a long drive – 50 miles!