Our 2021 Florida Trip Report continues with another day at Cocoa Beach. But things did not quite go as we had planned…
Thursday, June 10
We had decided to make a return trip to Cocoa Beach on this day, because we had enjoyed ourselves there on our Monday visit. So we got up, ate breakfast on the porch, loaded up the car, and headed east.
There really was not much different from our earlier drive to Cocoa Beach. They were still working on the high-speed railway. We still saw a Disney Cruise Line bus, even though the cruise ships still were not running. And we saw the same cruise ships in the Port Canaveral docks. The only difference was that this time around we did not need to stop by the grocery store, because we had gotten our lunch supplies at Target the night before. But we did drive by the site of a hotel project I had been working on, just to see where it would be.
The parking lot was not even half full when we arrived, but I knew people would be circling for spaces later on in the day, as they do most every day in the summer there. We were happy to have our spot, and we started getting our stuff out for our walk to the beach.
Once we crossed over the dunes and could see the beach and the Disney Cruise Line ships still anchored out in the distance, we saw something that I don’t believe we have ever seen at Lori Wilson Park before. Two red flags were flying at the lifeguard hut. That meant that the beach was closed. What?
Back at the beach. Wait, what’s that?
Two red flags?
We went ahead and set our stuff up, and then we tried to figure out what was going on. I went over to the lifeguard hut to see what I could find out. There was nothing written on the chalkboard on the back of the hut that indicated a closure, just the usual conditions and tide times. I overheard someone talking to one of the lifeguards and saying something about, “Yes, I have seen that from time to time,” but I missed what they were talking about.
When I walked back to where Laura and Jaylin were, they had talked to a man who told them that the beach was closed because of a shark. Sharks at the beach!
I think Laura was ready to leave at that point. But we had come all that way, and it was a beautiful day out, so I thought we might as well wait around for at least a little while to see what happened. We had seen a large black mass moving through the water, a large school of fish. Had the shark been following that? We never did find out for sure.
A rare (for us) view of the beach with no one in the water.
We finished setting everything up, and those who had not already applied sunscreen did so under the shade of our umbrellas. After around 30 minutes had passed, the lifeguards blew their whistles and the flags were changed to the normal yellow flag. People started getting back in the water, but we still waited around a bit, just to be sure. While we waited, we decided to go ahead and eat our lunch since we were already sitting there and dry.
Just sitting around waiting.
Once our lunch had settled, I took a walk with my camera. You can never have too many beach photos, after all.
Yes, I have lots of photos like this. No, I do not intend to stop taking them.
A view of the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy anchored out at sea, this time with a barge in between them that was there on our previous visit.
It was matching blue day at the beach for Laura and me
We decided to give the water a try. We took our bodyboard with us out to the water, and Laura caught a few waves while Jaylin and I stood near where the waves were breaking. It was a beautiful day, the beach was not too crowded, and all was going well.
It was starting to look like a normal day at the beach, including the return of the yellow flag at the lifeguard hut.
But then, as Laura came back to catch another wave, she saw it, right there in the water. A shark! I then saw it, too, and so did Jaylin. I could have reached out and touched the shark because it was so close! It was probably only around two feet long, so it was not all that big. But a shark is a shark, no matter the size! Laura quickly started making her way to the shore, with Jaylin and me close behind her. Laura went and told the lifeguards what we saw, and they asked her where she was when she saw it. I looked out toward where we had been, and I saw a couple of guys pointing at the water, so I’m sure they saw it, too. But for whatever reason, the beach was not closed. I am guessing that is because the lifeguards did not see it for themselves, but I don’t know the protocols for that sort of thing to be sure.
Regardless of whether the beach was closed, that was pretty much it for us. We sat in our beach chairs under our umbrellas for a bit to dry off and to calm down a little, but we decided not to stay around any longer. I took a few more photos, but that was about it. Maybe some other day, but that was enough of a close call for us on this day. We went to the car to put our stuff in, and then we went to the restroom building to change clothes.
Ocean waves, except that we were looking at them from the shore this time.
Those people in the water might be braver than they realize.
The edge of a wave rolls onto the sand
One more view of the waves and the Disney ships at sea before leaving Cocoa Beach.
My original plan was for us to stay around and eat supper at Rock the Guac, one of our favorite Cocoa Beach restaurants, but it was too early for supper and too soon after we had eaten lunch. Plus, we had already bought plenty of stuff at Ron Jon, so we did not necessarily need to go back there. So we drove back toward Orlando, deciding to go to the outlet mall on International Drive. Once we got there, we had to look a little for a parking space as we always do, but it was not too bad.
Our trip turned up some more treasures at this version of the Character Warehouse. However, it is always a little sad to see how small they cut down this space compared to how big it used to be.
From there, we drove to another shopping place, driving down International Drive until it ended and then cutting over to 535 to the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. We did not find all that much there, as has been the case on our last few visits there. So we left there and drove down 535 to US 192, and we stopped at a couple of the souvenir shops that we like to visit around the condo. It was a little strange that we had not been to those shops already on this trip. But then that just added to the somewhat unusualness of this trip compared to some of our past trips.
For something different for supper, we got burritos from Chipotle and took them back to our condo to eat there. It was relatively late for supper, but I don’t think that bothered any of us too much because we were all happy to eat. We watched some television before heading off to bed, hoping not to dream about sharks.
Check back soon for more from our 2021 Florida Trip!