Jetty Park – Cocoa Beach, Florida – 10/20/12

I took a quick sunrise trip to Jetty Park yesterday morning with fellow Photography Interest Group member Keith H.

The sky was pretty cloudy when I first went out, but by the time we arrived it was starting to clear up.  There was still enough color left to get a few good photos.  In this one, I like the way the light on the walk draws my eye to the bottom left and then the rail and the jetty lead to the sun rays coming up from below the horizon.

Pre-dawn Jetty
Pre-dawn Jetty

A little later, I noticed this boat speeding around the inlet, sometimes with flashing lights and a siren and wondered what was going on.

The Coast Guard patrols
The Coast Guard patrols: This small Coast Guard patrol boat was very active.

I should have realized what was happening before I saw this next boat coming out of the inlet:

On the way out
On the way out:  Close up of a ballistic missile submarine leaving Port Canaveral, Florida.  The presence of bow planes instead of sail planes show that this is a British boat, the HMS Vigilant.

This was pretty exciting for me.  Many years ago, after college, I was in the Navy and served aboard a sub like this one.  Just before I got out, I was stationed at the Naval Ordinance Test Unit at Cape Canaveral.  After submarines go through refit, the Navy sends them down to NOTU for a missile test. They load a special dummy warhead missile and then test fire it down range from the Atlantic off the Cape.  The tall mast behind the sail is added to transmit instrumentation data during launch while the sub is submerged.

We watched the boat turn south after leaving the inlet, and rushed to set up our cameras for a photo as it sailed under the sun.

Submarine sunrise

 Submarine sunrise: This is a unique Florida sunrise scene: The British Trident ballistic missile submarine HMS Vigilant leaves Port Canaveral, Florida just after dawn. 

We hung around for a while after this to photograph shorebirds including Brown Pelicans, Gulls, Black Skimmers, Terns, and others. But the highlight of the trip for me was the sub.  As a former submariner, it brought back a lot of memories and I really enjoyed the show.  Quite a bonus for getting up early!

10/31/12 update:  The HMS Vigilant successfully launched a Trident II D5 missile on 23 October.  Read more here (sorry, no longer available).

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Jetty Park – Cocoa Beach, Florida – 10/20/12

  1. As usual a really interesting read, with great illustrations, and this time with a different twist! Apart from being the best ad ever for Florida, you’re also king promoter of the early start!

    1. Thank you once again, Rhona. Sometimes the early start works out and sometimes it doesn’t. This time I was really glad I got up!

      And I’ve done a bit more research. I think this is one of your ships. UK missile subs have bow planes and US ones do not.

  2. Hi Ed,
    Great shots! That sunrise image with the jetty and pier as leading lines was particularly inspired. I was lucky to get some shots of the USS New Mexico last year when I was at Jetty Park at a Boy Scout overnight campout. Out of curiousity, were you able to drive all the way into the park before sunrise or did you have to park at the gate and hike it in?

    Take care…and I still owe you that beer!

    1. Thanks, Jeff.

      I think they normally open the gate around 7am. We were able to drive right in that morning, since sunrise wasn’t until about 7:30.


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