• Captain John Tarr

Rockets and Nature

Yesterday was one of those opportunities I often take for granted, then realize just how special days like it are. I was going to spend the day with Flip Pallot, filming a little tribute movie and fishing. Yes, one of those days of work that I still sit back and think, "I get paid to do this?!" It just so happened that a rocket launch had been postponed and we were going to be filming the same day as the launch.


If you have never observed a rocket launch in person, it is definitely one of those things to put on the bucket list. Traveling to the boat ramp, there was an electricity in the air that you can only feel if you are in town for the launch. Thousands of people travel to Titusville, Florida (Spaceport USA) to witness these launches. They find parking along US1, don their photography gear, and wait. There is an excitement in everyone that comes to witness this event.


Amazingly, the boat ramp was empty. I met Flip and our camera guys. We launched the skiffs and made a 15 minute run to the area we wanted to be at. We had the entire flat to ourselves. There is a lot that goes into making shows and trying to get the perfect photograph; much more than the average person realizes. We spent an hour trying to get into the perfect position. During this time, you second guess your every decision; 50 feet one way or the other means the difference between a successful shot or a blown opportunity. We kept an eye on the countdown and the sky. Finally, the rocket lifted off. This one was not nearly as spectacular as the old shuttle launch or the Atlas V rocket, but it was still cool. Like a giant flaming bottle rocket, it raced toward the heavens. We shot the video and the pictures. I tried to take a few discreet photos, using my cell phone, which fail to do justice to the experience. A few moments later, the rumble approached. First you hear it, growing louder as it approaches. Then you start to feel it. It begins as a slight tremble through the boat hull, vibrating from the shoreline, into the water, and up through the carbon fiber. The feeling begins to swell until at its strongest, you can feel the rumble in your gut. It passes just as quick as it arrives and silence resumes.


We left, making our way back to our next filming location. While running, the sky suddenly filled with thousands upon thousands of ducks. I took the time to stop the boat, grab the camera, and take a few shots of this incredible sight. Again, I forget that we have travelers from all over the world that come here to witness the migratory birds. Hundreds of different birds migrate here every year, from all parts of Canada, the US, and other locations. They gather here for various purposes, taking up residence in the lands surrounding the space program. Here, nature and man co-exist and some of the most stunning sights can be observed.


The day ended with a quiet canoe paddle, through a small lake, fishing for largemouth bass. We finished "work" and started packing up. The cameraman wanted some close-up video and pictures of Flip, in the canoe. He took my spot and I was standing on the bank. I decided to take a few photos, for my own memory. During that time, I got to reflect on the day. We started by running some of the most technically advanced fishing skiffs to watch cutting edge technology launching to the stars. We finished the day paddling a canoe and throwing flies to largemouth bass; one extreme to the other.


This is the type of day you can enjoy too! I offer trips to watch rocket launches and we can get as close as the law allows. From this vantage point, you will observe the launch unlike most. The sight, the feel, and the experience cannot be surpassed; unless you know someone that can get you inside NASA. It's hard to beat a day of nature watching, fishing, and rocket launches! Call or email if you want to book a trip; CLICK HERE!


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