A Day of Watching

Saturday April 6th 2019

Today was a sunny warm to hot day in Florida. The temperature got close to ninety with a decidedly summer weather pattern. Strong thunderstorms developed in the core of the peninsular late in the day and moved toward the coast. The worst of the storms passed to the north of my location. The pattern is forecast to repeat tomorrow with a couple of degrees added to the temperature reading.

Great Blue Heron balanced on a log in the shade.

I had busy day of watching today. I watched the wildlife at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the people enjoying water sports in the Banana River and the Cruise ships departing Port Canaveral. Most of my wildlife watching was along the Haulover canal which connects the main Indian River with Mosquito Lagoon closer to the coast and part of the north branch of the Indian River. The canal is popular for fishing and home to a number of Manatees. I only saw a couple manatees today, but lots of weekend fishermen.

Some of the action on the Banana River.

The second part of my day of watching was on the other side of Titusville in the Port Canaveral area. I wanted to watch the cruise ships depart. The schedule I found on the internet indicated they would be departing at 4PM and 5PM, so I stopped at Kelly Park on the Banana River on Merritt Island to eat up some time. Today the people enjoying the wind and river were having more success than yesterday. There were half a dozen windsurfers on the river moving at a good pace. Along with the expected pleasure boats there were a few kayaks and personal water craft. The most entertaining use of the water was a kite surfer.

Four cruise ships were in port today at Port Canaveral.
Carnival Breeze starting on its way out of the port.

I got to Port Canaveral in plenty of time to watch the cruise ships depart. There was a lot of action in the Cove restaurant and entertainment part of the port. The charter fishing boats were returning from their day fishing in the Atlantic. People and Pelicans were gathered around to see the catch and watch the fish get cleaned. A few lucky pelicans got an easy supper out of the deal. The main channel of the port was busy with returning pleasure boats and the far side was busy unloading big cargo ships. The four cruise ships in port were patiently waiting to depart. In face so patiently that only one ship departed a little after 4PM. The Carnival Breeze got escorted out of port by the harbor police and the Coast Guard. The other Carnival ship, the Norwegian EPIC and the Disney ship showed no sign of moving. I got suspicious and checked the Marine traffic web site from my phone. The other three weren’t leaving until after 6PM. The Disney ship was scheduled to leave closer to 8PM. I chose not to wait.

Blossom of the day.
A pair of pelicans waiting for hand outs from the fish cleaning on the dock above.

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