Alaska! My Goal......
I eagerly joined the United States Air Force, which had offered up the "suggestion" that I would get assigned to my goal the great wilderness of Alaska.
However upon completing Technical School in Texas & opening my orders; I stared with uncomprehending eyes.
The orders stated "Florida" and the assignment came with a brochure that showed rows and rows of launch pads along the ocean. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, also known as Cape Kennedy. Where the first humans has launched towards the moon.
Not Anchorage or the Bering Sea.......
Florida??? Photo of "Rocket Row"
The USAF with infinite wisdom had assigned me to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station CCAFS. Home to the 45th Space Wing and a shared border with NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
I was assigned to the 2179th E&I Squadron; my duty station was CCAFS, and my barracks (sleep location) was Patrick Air Force Base on the coastal barrier Island between the somewhat famous communities of Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach. Much of the work took us to the far flung USAF Eastern Test Range islands.
I soon had girlfriends in the somewhat infamous contaminated areas of South Patrick Shores.
A ULA pre dawn launch of an Atlas Rocket over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Banana River.
Forgive the Ancient History.....
My time in the Air Force at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is ancient history like the Ais Indian mounds that dot the base.
Other old news was my years as a Pan Am diver, our headquarters and equipment staging area was Complex 11 on CCAFS. Serendipity...?
Out of the United States Air Force and hired on with the Pan Am World Service Divers.
Photo: Our headquarters at Complex 11, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
"Inspection" by a Florida gentle giant, the Indigo snake. Largest snake indigenous snake in North America. Released unharmed of course.
CCAFS today. Pull over for the rocket traffic!
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today is the most active launch center in North American and perhaps the world (However I cannot back that up with facts)
Roughly every three weeks a rocket blasts off from CCAFS.
SpaceX has a launch pad on CCAFS and on NASA's KSC.
The new Blue Origin launch pad has been under construction for nearly two years on CCAFS.
The wild contagious beaches of CCAFS, Kennedy Space Center & Canaveral National Seashore have seen stunning success in bringing sea turtles back from the brink of extinction.
It is comforting to know the turtles will always have a place to lay their eggs.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as seen from NASA causeway and the always welcome sight: Fishing Area Open
Thankfully-in a world of rocket espionage and trade secrets (Blue Origins vs SpaceX vs ULA) shhhhhh...
One of the best kept secrets is that the area of the Banana River next to CCAFS is still the best fishing on the east coast of Florida!
The 10,000 acre "No Motor Zone", No gas powered or eclectic engines allowed. "Sore arms only"
Well perhaps the NMZ is not really a secret however the four hour paddle to reach NASA Causeway turns most people away or they only do the NMZ ONCE because the wind and weather is so unpredictable in the Banana River.
High noon on NASA Causeway as a Florida Storm turn day into night on the Banana River No Motor Zone.
In the background: The manatee infested islands of CCAFS. Kayaks and canoes beware!
Rain storm sweeping the Banana River.
A hazard to canoes and kayaks.
Fishing the most restricted spaces on special guest days. (Or catch and release a world record fish)
One of the coveted "CATCH AND RELEASE" Fishing passes in the restricted areas. The goal is for four and half hours of fishing the amazing waters of CCAFS!
(Pass allows fishing in locations normally locked up tighter than Area 51)
These are very rare events and with the booming launch schedule getting nearly impossible to organize.
In fact: This may have been the last outing ever.
CCAFS Canoe launch!
A special canoe/kayak launch location that places you directly around the islands of the No Motor Zone and to the deep channel that was once used to bring in the space shuttle rockets retrieved from the Atlantic.
Forget a long paddle. A few strokes from the CCAFS launch and you are instantly in the world famous No Motor Zone
Life on a rocket base. "Yield to the big stuff"
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