Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kennedy Space Center and scrubbed ARES Rocket Launch O' dark thirty (2:00am EST) we got up for the 2 hour drive from Tampa to Cape Canaveral. We had to be at KSC (Kennedy Space Center) by 5:30am to get in for the rocket launch scheduled for sometime between 8am and noon. Still haven't figured out why as the place was a ghost town until around 8am. It was cool and empty however so we could wander about and see many of the exhibits before the normal crowds arrived.

Seemed like we were a hundred miles from the launch pad. We later found out that during experimental launches they don't allow anyone on the causeways. You can only get tickets for that location for shuttle launches. So we all wandered about the shuttle demo and other exhibits until the first countdown around 9am. First round was stopped at T minus 4 minutes for weather. An hour later it was restarted and abruptly canceled because some moron cargo ship had wandered into the splashdown area. This postponed the launch restart for another 30 minutes. By 10am Nick and I were in nap mode as you can see...haha

They started and stopped the countdown 3 more times for a "weather window". The winds were at 2o knots which was too high for a launch :( Finally at 11:30am they scrubbed the launch for the day....there were a lot of people that were bummed (including us). We watched from the airport the next day as the rocket finally launched!

At noon we boarded the bus for the tour of the Apollo Launch Center and walked under the massive Saturn V rocket. It brought back a lot of childhood memories having experienced much of the Apollo missions growing up! We also toured the assembly and staging building for all Space Station cargo. It was pretty awesome seeing all the stuff we're blasting up there! Overall the trip was lots of fun, but a VERY LONG day after driving 2 hours back to Tampa and straight to bed.

Thus ended our 10 days of fun on the Caribbean Seas and central Florida, both west and east coasts!!!! Hope you all enjoyed viewing the trip as much as we did doing it.......

St. Petersburg & Tarpon Springs Florida

Monday morning, after we rested up from the cruise we got the rental car...and of course, it was a HUMMER! Same color as our Honda Element so Barb allowed me to "upgrade"!

Only in Florida do you see Boat Condos!

We did the St. Petersburg Pier and a fun small Greek fishing village, Tarpon Springs. Hey you gotta love Belly Dancing, $3 margaritas, and 2 for 1 booze everyday! I'm sure our Tucson buddy, Virgil wishes he was with us...haha

Western Caribbean Cruise Final Day

Absolutely calm seas our final day of the cruise. The Captain tells us this will give us an early arrival back in Tampa. Should be there around 2am. We've had a blast these past 6 days and have already started shopping our next cruise!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Western Caribbean Cruise Day #6

Awoke in our last port, Isla Roatan Honduras. Without a doubt our favorite port! Wooded hills and sandy beaches, not to mention the true blue of the Caribbean Sea :)

Barb couldn't wait to board the Jolly Roger catamaran and don the snorkel gear! The water was crystal clear and she saw many of the colorful fishies that one sees in a salt water aquarium. Also brought up a genuine conque shell :)She was the LAST one out of the water. They almost had to net her to get her aboard!! I stayed on the boat, took pictures, and drank rum (of course). I didn't want anyone mistaking me for Shamu and spearing me....haha

After the snorkeling adventure we walked through Gumbalinda Park, a developed "natural" rainforest filled with monkeys, iguana, birds, and tons of other wild critters. While exploring the caves we stumbled across a Conquistador and a pirate looking over his shoulder !!

We walked across a genuine rope bridge with crocodiles anxiously waiting for us to stumble and fall into the river.

The monkeys love snatching glasses and hats from the wandering humans below and will hop on your shoulders without warning. The parrots are also pretty tame.

Back on the ship for our last day at sea!

OH LOOK!!!! Barb brought a monkey back to our stateroom!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Western Caribbean Cruise Day #5

Today we're in Belize City. For a large Central American city, there are no high rises, just a cluster of small, old buildings. We were told by Tucson buddy Virgil Haugen to avoid the city proper so we opted for the Wallce River and Mayan Ruins tours. Great choice! We first boarded a small boat for a 5 mile journey up the Wallace River. Lots of jungle critters and crocodiles, iguanas, and birds. After the river, we boarded a bus to tour the Altun Ha Mayan Ruin Site. While not as dramatic as Chichen Itsa in Mexico, these ruins were pretty awesome! We climbed the steps of the main temple for a spectacular view. Barb leaned against the sacrifical out for the blood!!!!! Quick bus trip back to the port and we're off to next stop. Barb can't wait to snorkle in Honduras!!!

Western Caribbean Cruise Day #4

Next stop was Cozumel Mexico. Weather is improving the further south we travel :) AT the pier was a "commercialized" Mexican village that caters specifically to the cruise ships. Having experience with Mexican goodies, we found the prices reasonable :) Didn't venture far beyond the gates of the village as once we did, it was a typical Mexican town. The beach resorts are located on the other side of the island, so we just stayed in our little faux Mexican village !