The first thing I saw climbing the wooden steps to cross the dunes was a squadron of brown pelicans gliding in stately formation overhead. Before the glint of sun on waves, before the rainbow beach umbrellas, before the red flag at the lifeguard's chair, those prehistoric-looking birds.
From anywhere along the beaches you can see the launch platforms - sometimes painfully bright and hard-edged in the sun, sometimes nearly lost in a gray haze, but always There.
I always check launch schedules before I head to Florida, and I checked the schedules the week before. There was nothing planned until the week after I would be there, so I didn't bother checking again.
The launch scheduled for the following week was moved UP, and I MISSED IT. Ugh.
So I've learned my lesson. Always, always ALWAYS check the launch schedules!