Rocket Launch

2/21 Thursday, 80’s/60’s, sunny, S10-15 - I stepped out of bed to the leavings of a sick dog. Occasionally, Murphy’s stomach rebels against a tiny table scrap (in this case pork loin) and he’s laid low for a couple days. I cleaned up the floor and Dobbs took him for a walk. At 8:45am, Kristen, from the Tayana 37 Tatiana, drove me to the West Marine in Cocoa to pick up parts. Dobbs stayed on Grace, splicing all the lines he could in preparation for our projects on the Island Packet 350 Planet Express. I enjoyed the drive with Kristen (I wasn’t sure I would - I haven’t been in a vehicle since Hilton Head, and I thought I might get car sick). We conversed the whole way down and back, never running out of things to talk about and I felt relaxed in her easy-going company. I also felt the “miracle” of traveling by automobile - it’s so easy. In half an hour, we can be somewhere it takes half a day to reach by sailboat. On the way home, Kristen stopped at the post office for me so I could buy money orders to pay our suppliers for the parts we’ve purchased. I was back to Grace around 11am. Dobbs was just finishing up with the splicing. We shared some peaches I canned last summer, washed the dishes, and ate lunch.

After lunch, we went over to Planet Express to work: replacing the topping lift pendant, re-positioning the halyard restrainer, replacing the VHF antenna, and tuning the rigging. For the rig tune, Carl worked with Dobbs to learn the process and I returned to Grace to write up the final invoice for the Columbia 8.7. I sure miss my QuickBooks, which is installed only on our office computer at home. Dobbs came home around 5pm. The Taylors gifted us each an ice cold Stella Artois, which we savored with some cheese, crackers, and carrots in Grace’s cockpit.

We washed and dried a load of laundry and I made Sicilian zucchini pasta for dinner. As we were finishing our meal, Chris from Drakkar came by to deliver payment. At our offering, he joined us for a glass of wine. Later, Kristen and James stopped in. We shared dessert (the wonder of Tastycakes) with them. There was a rocket launch this evening and we’d made plans to walk together up to the bridge for a clear view. Although we’ve been near Cape Canaveral several times over the last twenty years, Dobbs and I have never caught a space shot. Tonight’s launch exceeded my expectations.

The awe I felt as the massive fireball at ignition lit up the horizon was so human, as was quietly standing there in the whistling breeze, side-by-side with at least a hundred others experiencing the same wonder. To watch a vehicle leave our planet behind, the glow of its engine winking out as it hurtles away from us - it’s something. Amazingly, we were able to see the returning first stage re-entry burn, even though it would be landing several hundred miles off the coast. In the video, you can see it to the right and above the rising full moon.

We walked home together through heavy traffic - just like 4th of July. We bade Kristen and James good-night and went about our pre-bedtime showers and dog walk. Murphy is not doing better just yet, and may be a bit worse. I gave him a teaspoon of Mylanta before bed.