We've been at Tom's Cove Campground in Chincoteague for the last several days. Our site faces the waters of Tom's Cove and the Asseteague Island Lighthouse. The island is about a mile or so away and you can see a herd of the famous Chncoteague ponies grazing in the salt marsh. I got up early yesterday to catch a sunrise for a change. It was cold but beautiful morning. I thought I might catch the Milky Way, but I got out a little too late.
Later we drove over to Asseteague Island to see if we could see some ponies unfortunately we only saw 2 from a great distance and lots of piles of droppings. Instead of watching horses, we drove around the wildlife drive and watched waterfowl. The swans and big birds are gone. Didn't see any eagles or ospreys either, but there were quite a few different wading birds in the shallows and a pair of Canada geese nesting.
Wednesday was launch day for Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket which was carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station. The rocket wasn't scheduled to launch until 4:46PM, but I headed for the visitors Center about 11:30 to find a place to set up for pictures. I'm glad i did because when I got there cars were lined up on both sides of the road and the parking lot wasn't open yet. It was time for Plan B. I had identified on Google maps what looked like it could be a good location that was only a couple of miles from the launch pad. I found my way to an old, abandoned ferry landing on Arbuckle Creek near Assawoman, VA. A couple hundred others thought it was a good spot also. A lot of the ideal shooting locations were taken, but I managed to find a spot that had a decent vantage point. I set up my chair, camera, and tripod and then only had 3 hours to wait for the launch time. As the time approached, people started to stand on a dock between me and the rocket. I finally had to walk over and ask them to leave a space so as not to block my shot. Everyone was accommodating. Someone in the crowd was calling out the time until launch. when they called out 2 minutes, I turned on the video on my iPhone and got ready to start shooting with my camera. About 10 seconds later the rocket began to lift off the pad. That was the quickest 2 minutes I;ve ever seen. If you've ever witnessed a rocket launch the thing that impresses you most is the sound. Even though you are several miles away, it's loud and it shakes the ground. It was all over in about 3 minutes as the Antares rocket moved out of sight on it's way to the Space Station.
We'll be heading home in the morning so we can be home for Easter.