Rodney S. Ketcham Park
a/k/a Ports End Park
990 Mullet Rd
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Port Canaveral has the largest navigation lock in Florida and the only one that locks space vehicles. The US Army Corp of Engineers constructed the lock in 1965 to secure safe passage of vessels from the Banana River to Port Canaveral and the Atlantic Ocean.
Formerly known as Port's End Park, it was dedicated as Rodney S. Ketcham Park on November 19, 2008 in honor of the late commissioner who passed away unexpectedly in February 2008 while serving as Vice Chairman of the Port Authority Board.
This park is located at the west end of the harbor and is one of three at Port Canaveral (Freddie Patrick Park is centrally located in the port and Jetty Park is at the entrance of the harbor). It features an observation tower for watching wildlife and ships in the harbor. There are picnic tables, free boat launch ramps, double-length parking, and public restroom facilities.
As you can see from the aerial (first image in this collection), I paddled from the west end of the port all the way to the farthest east end, passing Jetty Park, made my way around the rocks, and headed toward the beach. Successfully rode several waves in when I was suddenly powered sideways. Next thing I know, I'm rolling! It was awesome!!
Fortunately, I had bungeed nearly all my stuff to the boat (had a small coffee can with sundries and towel/shirts/shoes that were loose - retrieved all but my eyeglasses) so as I pulled the yak in, I just had to turn it over and put everything in it. A very nice passerby gathered my shoes that were floating and made the wise suggestion that I not go back out the way in which I came. Zip-lock bags and other dry storage saved everything. My little waterproof point-n-shoot made it possible to snap the very last photo once on land.
It was such a divine experience - not only was the fin I saw while riding the wave a porpoise and not a shark, a friend of mine (who lived/worked in Cocoa) came to my rescue after I called her from the beach (dry box kept my phone safe). Within half an hour, I had dragged the yak and all my stuff through the dunes and just as I was getting to the parking lot at Jetty Park, she was there with her Blazer. A short drive and much gratitude later, I was returned to my car.
Remarkable day - truly exceptional, every bit of it. I'm still reeling with awe.
© April L. Gustetter