Whenever we are on a cruise, the sails in and out of ports are especially thrilling. Often locals gather to watch and wave. And we watch and wave right back. When we sailed into Port Canaveral last fall, we looked down on a campground from our balcony. We've known about Jetty Park and tried to get a site here a number of times over the years to no avail. The campground is not large and sitting on your lawn chair watching the cruise ships sail in and out appeals to many. In the past we looked for site vacancies where we could get water and electric hook-ups, but when we saw a vacancy in the boondocking section, we snatched it up. We can easily live for three nights without hook-ups and the non-utility section is right on the water. We are thrilled to finally be here and look forward to monitoring the boat traffic both large and small from our lawn chairs, glass of wine in hand.
Port Canaveral has a long history with many different identities over the years. It's a naturally deep port and was used by farmers to export their wares. In the early 1950's New York City's orange juice came through here. In the 1960's the port was enlarged and deepened as the supplies needed to build the facility and rockets for the space program at Cape Kennedy floated in. These days the locals earn their salaries from the cruise companies. There are ten berths to dock here and many tourists combine a cruise with a visit to Disney World less than an hour away. We have never seen more than four ships here at once, but there's nothing wrong with having room to grow. A casino boat is a regular here and offers trip both day and night. The cruise ships mix with a steady parade of fishermen, both pleasure and commercial.
We went to to Canaveral Lock, the largest navigation lock in Florida. Located between Port Canaveral's West turning basin and the Banana River, Canaveral Lock was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1965 to secure safe passage of vessels from the Banana River to Port Canaveral and the Atlantic Ocean. The lock reduces tidal-current velocities in Canaveral Harbor, prevents entry of hurricane tides into the Banana River and prevents salt water intrusion. This lock was built larger than originally planned to allow passage of the Saturn rocket's first stage, used to put Apollo rockets into space. Today only fishing boats were using the lock. They were stalked by pelicans which took advantage of the stirred up water as the lock opened and closed and disoriented fish twirled around in the water. It's great when dinner swims right into your mouth.