| I. An Open Letter to the Cruising Community
Have you wondered why a Salty Southeast Cruisers' Alert has not appeared in your in-box since 11/16/12? Please allow me to share the reason for this gap with the entire cruising community.
As many of you already know, my first-rate, first-mate, Karen Ann, has been a "never smoker lung cancer patient" for the last four years. In late November, a decision was made to start her on yet another course of daily radiation and chemotherapy. And, as if that weren't enough, in the interim, Karen has also had a chest catheter inserted, and she is now on periodic oxygen. It has been a trying couple of weeks tearing up and down the highway every morning to Duke Hospital. Next Thursday, 12/22/12, is her final treatment of this regimen! Hooray!
Fortunately, SSECN Senior Editor, Captain Larry Dorminy, and our Fuel Price Editor, Captain Kaye Adams, have done a magnificent job of keeping a flood of fresh information posted daily on our site. And, thanks to the excellent Wi-Fi system at Duke Hospital, I've been able to edit and put up some other postings between appointments, and while Karen has been receiving treatment.
Well, enough about all of that. I don't mean to dump all our troubles on fellow cruisers, but I felt some explanation was in order.
Good luck, good cruising and Happy Holidays to all!!!!!
| Eastern Florida
II. Controversial Martin County (Stuart, Florida) Anchorage Restrictions Approved by the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife (FWC)
On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved, with several modifications (follow link below), a set of proposed anchorage regulations for Martin County and Stuart, Florida. This is one of the five sites previously approved to take part in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. As any of you familiar with this long, drawn-out process already know, the approved sites are given the right to regulate anchorage in their waters, IF AND ONLY IF THE REGULATIONS ARE APPROVED BY THE FWC!
It is not stretching the truth at all to report that this particular set of regulations is the most controversial of the five sites participating in the pilot program, with the possible exception of St. Augustine's 30-day anchoring limit, which was ultimately shot down by the FWC. The Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net has published several previous articles on the proposed Martin County regulations (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=100456).
Now, with some FORTUNATE modification inserted by the FWC, these regulations have been approved, and will almost certainly go into effect shortly. ALL CRUISERS WHO EVER PLAN ON ANCHORING IN THE STUART, JENSEN BEACH REGION WILL WANT TO FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW, AND LEARN ALL THERE IS TO KNOW!
| North Carolina
III. New Downtown Wilmington, NC Marina Under Construction, Off the AICW on Cape Fear River
Port City Marina is currently under construction with a Grand Opening scheduled for summer 2013. This facility will be a WONDERFUL addition to the cruising scene, and will furnish more reason than ever for captains to leave the comfortable confines of the AICW, and journey upstream on the Cape Fear River to downtown Wilmington!
Get the full story at:
IV. Marineland Marina Announces December, 2012 and January, 2013 Dockage/Tour Deals (Statute Mile 796)
Check out these great DEALS from SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR, Marineland Marina. This superb facility flanks the eastern banks of the AICW, south of St. Augustine, Florida!
Please go to:
V. TONS AND TONS of Western Florida Cruising News
I simply cannot remember a time when we've had so much recently posted news concerning the western coastline of the Sunshine State. There is sooo much, I'm going to just list quick blurbs below, and let everyone follow the links to the stories they find of particular interest. ALL are well worth reading if you plan to cruise this winter season anywhere from Everglades City to Dunedin, Florida (north of Clearwater).
A. Shallow Depths Encountered at Field Yacht Club (Sarasota, FL - Statute Mile 71) - this fine yacht club is the southernmost of the three FCYC yacht clubs in Sarasota, Florida. I've spoken here several times over the years, and have always been very impressed, Now, though, looks like some dredging might be in order. Please check out:
B. Missing Aid to Navigation on Marco Island to Naples Unofficial Waterway, near Capri Pass - Marco Island, FL - check out the full story on this missing marker which denotes the channel west of Marco Island, a short hop south of Capri Pass:
C. Punta Gorda to Seek Grants for Pump-out Boat (Western Florida, Charlotte Harbor) - SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR, Punta Gorda, Florida is trying to improve services for visiting cruisers by providing a pump-out vessel. While not all local politicians are supporting this initiative, we did just publish a political analysis of this situation from Captain Steve Johnson, an important Punta Gorda cruising leader. Check out:
D. Damaged Daybeacon at Statute Mile 01, Western Florida ICW - the damaged marker reported in the article linked below lies along the so-called "Miserable Mile" section of the Western Florida ICW, just west of the Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway and Fort Myers. Please visit:
E. Good Words About the Downtown Fort Myers Waterfront (Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway) - We have always found our visits to the downtown Fort Myers area to be absolutely delightful. With two quality marinas (BOTH Legacy Harbour Marina and City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin are SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSORS!), a host of nearby dining attractions and a beautifully landscaped waterfront, what's not to like! Now, thanks to Captain Alan Lloyd, learn lots more about this quality cruising destination:
F. Cruising the Western Florida Coastline With a 6-foot Draft - The initial portion of the discussion linked below originally appeared on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, which, by the way, is a nautical list WELL WORTH joining! Since its publication, fellow cruisers have added even more good info to this string of messages. So, deep draft captains, please visit:
G. Report from Caledesi Island State Park Marina (north of Dunedin) - This Florida State Park and Marina flanks the western side of the ICW, north of Clearwater and Dunedin. Entrance is made from Hurricane Pass and can be a trick proposition for first timers. On the other hand, this park provides a wonderfully sheltered dockage basin, and great shoreside "get away from it all" natural attractions. Learn more at:
H. Pelican Bay Anchorages (hard by Cayo Costa Island/State Park), Western Florida ICW Statute Mile 25 - we just love anchoring in Pelican Bay,and then dinghying ashore to unspoiled Cayo Costa. Thanks to its being a Florida state park, this barrier island remains almost entirely in its natural state. Hiking across to the ocean side, particularly at sunset, is one of the greatest experiences the western coastline of the Sunshine State has to offer.
Unfortunately, the rub is that there is an entrance bar, which, at low tide, carries only about 4 1/2 feet of water. Some local cruisers have told me they have found a deeper route, which will hold 5 feet at MLW.
And, in this regard, linked below is a GREAT You-Tube video giving SOLID ADVICE about entering Pelican Bay. Other cruisers have chimed in with additional advice and sources of info. So, if you plan on dropping the hook in Pelican Bay anytime soon, run, don't walk to:
VI. Two Florida Keys Articles of Interest
We have recently published not one, but two article so interest to Florida Keys Cruisers. Check out both if your vessel is anywhere near these sun-kissed waters.
A. Missing Marker, Card Bank, Florida Keys Inside Route, AICW Statute Mile 1125 - there is a missing aid to navigation, and a resulting steel pile hazard (see article linked below), flanking the western side of the Florida Keys Inside Route's dredged cut through Card Bank, near its southern tip. This section of the inside passage lies between Miami and Jewfish Creek at Statute Mile 1125.
Full details at:
B. Sunken Vessel in Newfound Harbor Channel, near Big Pine Key, off Hawk Channel Between Marathon and Key West - Newfound Harbor provides the best collection of anchorages off Hawk Channel between Marathon and Key West. The channels are well marked, and any cruiser with a chart plotter and/or good DR navigation can find a host of good spots to drop the hook.
Yikes, check out the report linked below, cherry picked from the Local Notice to Mariners! A semi-sunken Sea Ray! Wow, striking this derelict with your underwater hardware could really ruin your whole day on the water!
VII. Higher than Normal Tides Lower Vertical Clearance at Hwy 802/McTeer Bridge, Beaufort, SC, AICW Statute Mile 540
The moon and higher than normal tides this year have been causing problems for our tall masted friends. There are tide gauges missing from a number of bridges in NC and SC. The Coast Guard Chief of Operations of Bridge is aware of the missing boards and hopefully, they will be replaced and/or corrected soon!
In the meantime, keep an eye on the tide tables for the particular area and proceed with caution at mid-tide through all the fixed height bridges.
Check out what one cruising duo recently learned about vertical clearance at the McTeer Bridge, crossing the AICW just south of Beaufort, SC:http://cruisersnet.net/?p=103244
VIII. Northeastern Florida Cruising News
Here are two articles of interest, both centered around the charming community of Fernandina Beach, Eastern Florida's northernmost port of call.
A. 4-Foot Vertical Clearance REDUCTION at AICW/Twin Highway Amelia Island Bridges (SR A1A), south of Fernandina, FL, Statute Mile 721 - This Local Notice to Mariners Update, concerning ongoing construction at the Twin Highway Amelia Island Bridges (SRA1A) south of Fernandina, was first published in the SSECN in March of this year. Since that time we've received no complaints from cruisers about safety issues there, but as Capt. Kremski warns and explains in the article linked below, that has DEFINITELY CHANGED. Capt. Kremski has notified the Chief of Operations of 7th District Bridge Branch whose response is also linked below. Until corrections are made by the contractor, please use caution at the SR A1A bridge. ALL CRUISERS who will be operating their vessels on the northeastern Florida portion of the AICW SHOULD READ WITHOUT DELAY:http://cruisersnet.net/?p=103223
B. Saturday Farmer's Market in Fernandina Beach, FL (Statute Mile 716.5) - on a much happier note, we have just published an article about Fernandina Beach's weekly downtown farmer's market, within easy walking distance of the city docks. This one really sounds YUMMY! Check out:http://cruisersnet.net/?p=86154
| Eastern Florida
IX. Marker #4 Back on Station in St. Agustine Inlet, near AICW Statute Mile 778
We received a report in November that marker #4 in the St. Augustine Inlet channel was missing, prompting the posting of a Navigation Alert for the inlet. According to a web link sent to us by Captain Chris (follow link below) and confirmed today by a telephone call to TowboatUS in St. Augustine, the marker is now back on station.
The channel markers in St. Augustine Inlet have been in a state of flux for some time now, due to dredging and to Mother Nature and are still subject to careful scrutiny.
Get the full story at:
| North Carolina
X. North Carolina Bridge News
We have just published not one, not two but three articles of interest concerning bridges which cross the North Carolina portion of the AICW. PLEASE pay PARTICULAR attention to the first story below about groundings just north of the Wrightsville Beach bascule bridge. This is a follow-up and expansion of a story which first came to light in the last SSECN Alert.
A. More Groundings at Wrightsville Beach/SR 74 Bridge, Statute Mile 283.1 - With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, and a very restrictive opening schedule, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125. This is one of the most irksome spans on the entire North Carolina section of the AICW, and now we cruisers are going to have to contend with adjoining shallows north of the span!
Full details at:
B. Vertical Clearance Gauge Corrected at Topsail Island Bridge, AICW Statute Mile 252.3 - The vertical height gauge was indeed incorrect at this span, as reported earlier on the SSECN, but that problem has now been corrected! We are proud that the Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net was able to assist in getting the problem addressed! Find out how at:
C. Update on Snows Cut Bridge Repairs, Carolina Beach, NC, AICW Statute Mile 295.7 - Snows Cut Bridge crosses the canal of the same name, that connects the Waterway between Masonoboro Sound and the Cape Fear River, at Statute Mile 295.5, west-southwest of marker #161. The article linked below has two parts, the first quoted from the Island Gazette, Caroline Beach, NC, and the second was cherry picked from the Local Notice to Mariners.
XI. "Sailorman" Highly Recommended, Ft. Lauderdale, FL"
As many of you already know, the "Sailorman" marine nautical flea market, in Fort Lauderdale, is a fascinating place to visit - a great way to spend a rainy afternoon! Learn LOTS more at:
XII. Peck Lake Anchorage (Statute Mile 992)
I can tell you from extensive, personal experience, Peck Lake Anchorage is wonderful, IF you can clear the shallow bar that lies between the AICW channel and the deeper waters to the east. The best spot to transit the bar varies, but we have held as much as 6 feet MLW, and at other times, these soundings have shrunk to 4 feet at low tide.
Once you get the hook down, dinghy ashore and walk the short distance to the totally unspoiled beach. This is a wonderful place to while away a warm, lazy afternoon!!!!
Learn lots more about this anchor down spot from Captain SusieQ at: