| I. "Monster Sounds" on Big Tom Creek Anchorage Explained
OK, here's a story that EVERYONE who has ever spent the night swinging on the hook will want to savor. Don't miss this one!
Back on 4/14/12, we posted a story on the Cruisers' Net from Captain Max Miller about anchoring overnight on the protected waters of Georgia's Big Tom Creek. This stream intersects the AICW's eastern flank, just north of Kilkenny Creek.
Anyway, Captain Miller reported hearing, "Unnerving 'monster sounds" from shore in the middle of the night." Naturally, he wondered about the source of these worrisome noises.
That mystery has now been solved by Captain Will. To discover the answer to this riddle, run, don't walk, to:
II. Report on the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, AICW Alternate Route
This past Tuesday, May 22, we were grateful to receive a communication from Captain Jeffrey Siegel of ActiveCaptain.com, informing us that his site had recently received reports of two trees that had fallen across the AICW Dismal Swamp Canal (Alternate Route). As those of you who are Waterway veterans already know, south of Norfolk, VA the AICW divides, and there are two passages that southbound cruisers can choose from to journey from Virginia to North Carolina waters. The AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Route is the more historically and ecologically interesting of the two choices, though there are usually more navigational challenges along this passage than those encountered on the North Carolina - Virginia Cut (a. k. a. the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal).
Anyway, we soon heard directly from our good friend, Donna Stewart, Director of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, via direct transmission to the SSECN of a copy of the message which she sent to Captain Siegel. Donna had contacted the US Army Corps of Engineers office in Norfolk, VA, and learned the USACOE already had a crane on-site, and the trees would be removed shortly. Actually, it turned out there was only one tree, albeit a large oak, that had fallen directly across the canal. The other reported tree was leaning ominously.
So, by the time we were able to post a notice on this matter Tuesday evening, the entire problem had been put to rest.
Today, Director Stewart submitted to the Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net, a lengthier, far more newsy account, describing the current state of navigational conditions on the Dismal Swamp Canal, and what procedure cruisers should follow if they spot a problem along this route. This account is "must reading" for any who plan on "Doing the Dismal" during the remainder of 2012.
Check out Donna's note at:
III. Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Anchorages (Key West)
Florida Keys Cruisers' familiar with Key West will tell you that many boats regularly anchorage east and northwest of an island within dinghy distance of Key West Bight, which the charts name, Wisteria Island. All the locals refer to it as Christmas Tree Island.
Earlier this week, we copied a newsy posting from the Cruisers' Forum (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/) about what it was like to drop the hook in these waters. Well, that posting has engendered an original response here on the Cruisers' Net.
So, if the idea of anchoring within dinghy distance of Key West Bight harbor, without having to pay for a mooring east of Fleming Key, is an idea you would like to explore further, please visit:
| IV. Beaufort SC to Install Mooring Field and Upgrade Downtown Marina Docks, AICW Statute Mile 536.5|GOOD NEWS! The SSECN received definite word this week that the docks at long-time SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR, Downtown Marina of Beaufort are about to enjoy a major renovation project. And, if that's not enough good news for you, the city of Beaufort, SC is also slated to install a mooring field, just off the marina.
Congratulations to our good friends Mandy and Rick Griffin, long-time operators of Downtown Marina of Beaufort. This "dynamic duo" have always had a warm and knowledgeable welcome for the cruising community. With the new additions and renovations, it's another case of the best just getting better.
Full details, including a complete story on this subject reprinted from the "Beaufort Tribune" can be found at:
| V. Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net Fuel Prices Updated 5/23/12|During the week of May 14, our long suffering Fuel Price Editor, Captain Kaye Adams, took a much deserved vacation. Well, you would have thought the sky was falling.
As those of you who follow our fuel price service regularly already know, we do NOT depend on marinas to call or e-mail their fuel prices to us. Captain Kaye actually telephones all the fuel outlets for which we report prices most ever Wednesday, year round.
By 3:00 pm this past Wednesday, with Kaye off enjoying surf and sand, the phone started ringing. Both cruisers and marinas alike were calling to find out why they had not heard from Kaye. We assured one and all that things would return to normal this week.
And, so they have. On 5/23/12, Kaye spent another marathon day on the telephone, and all our fuel prices have now been updated once again. Follow the links below to check out this new data:
St. Johns River Fuel Prices:
| VI. Hazard: Sunken Vessel, AICW Statute Mile 828, Ormond Beach, FL|Less than 48 hours ago, SSECN Senior Editor, Captain Larry Dorminy, cherry picked an article from the USCG's "Local Notice to Mariners" which details a sunken sailcraft hard by the path of the AICW, just north of Daytona Beach, Florida. Cruisers bound along this section of the Eastern Florida AICW anytime over the next several months, will want to discover the full details on this potential navigational hazard at:
| VII. May, 2012 Report from Hell Gate, AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 602|
The AICW follows a narrow, man-made canal, known as Hell Gate, between the Vernon and Ogeechee Rivers, south of Savannah and Isle of Hope, Georgia. These waters have been an "AICW Problem Stretch" for years. Fortunately, dredging during the summer of 2009 kept depths decent for about a year, when reports of new shoaling began to appear on the Cruisers' Net.
Now, based on a just published report from Captain Michael J. Horowitz, cruising aboard ARGUS research vessel, "ALTAIR," there is more reason than ever to suspect that shoaling is once again a pressing concern along this perennial AICW Problem Stretch.
Full details at:
| VIII. Marathon Dining Recommendations (Florida Keys)|
This week, we posted a copied article from the Cruisers' Forum (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/), authored by Captain Brian, which outlined several dining recommendations for those fortunate cruisers who choose the Florida Keys community of Marathon as a port of call. Unfortunately, this article was a bit short on naming specifics.
Within the last 48 hours, several regular SSECN contributors have chimed in to supplement Captain Brian's information. Another perfect example of how the SSECN is the embodiment of our motto, "Cruisers Helping Cruisers!"
So, those of you who want to find out some really good spots to slake a healthy appetite in Marathon, don't pass go, don't collect $200.00, go directly to:
| IX. Isabel S. Holmes Bridge Unable to Lift from June 1 to June 4, 2012, Cape Fear River - Southeastern North Carolina|The Isabel Holmes Bridge (Hwy133) lies north of the northernmost Wilmington, North Carolina Turning Basin, in the northeast Cape Fear River, and has a closed vertical clearance of 40ft. Wilmington, NC, off the AICW, is a popular side trip for many Waterway cruisers.
Note that vessels seeking access to SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR, Bennett Brothers Yachts/Cape Fear Marina, must pass under this span. With a 40 foot closed vertical clearance, most powercraft will not have a problem, but it looks like between June 1 and June 4, 2012, sailcraft will not be able to enter or leave this fine facility!!!!!
Full details at:
| X. Great Words For Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina (Western Shores of Tampa Bay, in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida)
The Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina is found in the northernmost of the three downtown St. Petersburg dockage basins, hard by the vibrant downtown St. Petersburg dining and shopping district. I have always been VERY IMPRESSED with this facility and was pleased to hear earlier this week, in a just published posting, that Captain Block had a very good experience here as well.
Of course, cruisers should also consider the adjacent St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR, and, quite simply, one of the largest and best managed city owned and operated marinas it has been my pleasure to review in my 30+ years as a cruising guide author!
Please read Captain Block's full message by visiting:
| XI. Detailed Report on AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 515)|The AICW uses the southerly portion of the short canal known as the Ashepoo - Coosaw Cutoff, to connect Rock Creek and wide Coosaw River. The southwesterly mouth of this canal, hard by its entrance into Coosaw River, has been one of the SSECN"s "AICW Problem Stretches" for years.
Just this week, we are pleased to have published a detailed report on these waters, authored by Captain Michael J. Horowitz, cruising aboard ARGUS research craft, ALTAIR.
This article is a must-read for any who plan to traverse this problem plagued stretch of the Waterway for the remainder of 2012!
If this sounds at all interesting, please go to:
That's all for now, Good luck and good cruising to all!
Claiborne S. Young