Shared Photo: State Bird at Sunset, Province of Key West, FL
Our thanks to Tony Pozun for this unusual sunset photo.
Our thanks to Tony Pozun for this unusual sunset photo.
Future environmental concerns, such as possible sonic oil exploration, off-shore drilling, the impact of dredging, water levels in Lake Okeechobee and rising sea levels in general, all remain for our coastal waters after this past year of ecological and economic disasters of red tide and sargassum blooms in Florida.
5/25/19 Non-toxic blue-green algae lingers
The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper
5/24/19 Water a winner during legislative session
Florida Keys Weekly
5/22/19 Brown algae interrupts environmental respite
The Anna Maria Islander
5/22/19 Florida’s toxic algae crisis: Brain toxins produced by blue-green algae concern researchers
FOX 13 News, Tampa Bay
5/19/19 Red tide, blue-green algae persist in local waters
The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper
5/18/19 Editorial: Algae blooms, and restoration of public trust
5/15/19 Florida’s New Blue-Green Algae Task Force
5/14/19 Algae bloom sparks health concerns among residents
4/30/19 Francis Rooney wants Congress implementing sunscreen ban
Florida Politics (blog)
4/28/19 Florida to spend nearly $20 million on red tide research
KPVI News 6
4/18/19 Stewart: We need to save land to save water | Commentary
4/24/19 Another Opinion: Florida must reduce water pollution
4/24/19 Feds Urged to Speed Up Fix of Lake Okeechobee Toxic Discharges
Center for Biological Diversity (press release)
4/24/19 ‘It is not alarmist to say that the people of Florida are being slowly poisoned by the water’ | Opinion
4/18/19 Ocean circulation likely to blame for severity of 2018 red tide around Florida
4/18/19 Freshwater alternatives slimmer by the day
4/16/19 Florida’s least wanted: 10 invasive animal species that are wrecking native ecosystems
4/16/19 Your Guide to Reef Friendly Sunscreens
4/13/19 Sarasota’s hunt for red tide solutions takes many forms
4/12/19 7 things you can do to help mitigate red tide
4/12/19 Hunt for red tide solutions examines many possibilities
4/7/19 Florida Department of Health emails show agency struggled to manage algae crisis
4/6/19 Red tide life cycle hits four stages
4/5/19 A deeper look at Sarasota’s red tide outbreak: What do we really know?
3/30/19 A mysterious disease is ravaging Florida’s coral, and now it might be spreading elsewhere
3/30/19 Red tide detected off Manatee County coast
The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper
3/30/19 Dolphins “Alzheimer’s” Illness could signal human risk on the coast
3/28/19 Beached dolphins could be suffering from Alzheimer’s caused by toxins from algae blooms
The London Economic
3/22/19 Savannah: Rep. Carter meets with marine businesses
Savannah Morning News
3/20/19 Red tide report spells out town’s financial response
3/16/19 Humans are making oceans more acidic, NOAA warns. It could make red tide even worse
3/7/19 Florida waters remain free of red tide, except for this one county
3/6/19 Florida considers ban on certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs
WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando
3/6/19 One of Florida’s Worst Red Tides Finally Clears
3/6/19 Humans are making red tide blooms much worse. There’s one way to stop it, professor says
3/6/19 Deformed fish in Florida waters stirs questions about human effects on marine life
3/6/19 Red tide out of sight, but not out of Florida lawmakers’ minds
3/1/19 Can devastation from red tide be mitigated? Legislators look to Mote Marine for answers
Click the link below to get the latest Cruisers Net Weekly Newsletter:
This Week’s News, May 24, 2019
Highlights from This Week’s News include:
The full newsletter also contains a wealth of additional recent information including:
As manatees return to their summer haunts along the coast, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists are reminding residents and visitors to be particularly alert while boating and to report sightings of these gentle giants online.
LOOK OUT FOR MANATEES AS THEY RETURN TO COASTAL WATERS
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (May 24, 2019) — As manatees return to their summer haunts along the coast, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists are reminding residents and visitors to be particularly alert while boating and to report sightings of these gentle giants online.Manatees, or sea cows, are large marine mammals that reach around 10 feet in length and weigh up to a ton. They’re warm-weather visitors to South Carolina, typically arriving in May and leaving by November, when water temperatures drop below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the difficulty of counting them in murky waters, South Carolina’s manatee population is currently unknown – but it’s a small fraction of the United States’ estimated 6,600 animals, most of which remain in Florida. Due to federal and state protections, it’s illegal to hunt, play with or harass manatees, which includes touching, providing water to or attempting to feed them.
Biologists with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute are tagging rescued animals in an effort to study their migration habits outside the state of Florida. A number of manatees, some familiar to South Carolina’s waters, have already begun to make their way north out of Florida, including ones bearing satellite transmitters. Tagged manatees wear a “belt” around the base of their tails and trail a floating satellite transmitter that collects and sends information about the animal’s location (see photo). The tags are harmless to the animal and designed to break free in case of entanglement. Officials ask that members of the public do not pull or tamper with these tags – they’re providing valuable information to help wildlife researchers better understand and protect these mammals.
There are a number of ways members of the public can help South Carolina’s manatees. SCDNR staff encourage anyone to report sightings and provide photographs (if possible) of live manatees online. Photographs of scars on manatees’ backs and tails are particularly useful, because they can often be used to identify previously known individuals. However, manatees should never be approached by boat to obtain pictures.
Collisions between boaters and manatees are more likely to occur in shallow waters, particularly around docks and at the edge of marshes where manatees feed. Staying alert, following safe boating practices and maintaining lower speeds in these areas can reduce the risk of a collision. Boaters should also watch for manatee backs, tails, snouts and “footprints” – a series of round swirls on the surface caused by a swimming manatee’s tail.
Injured or dead manatees should be reported immediately to the SCDNR wildlife hotline at 1-800-922-5431. If a boat accidentally collides with a manatee, SCDNR biologists ask that the boater stand by and immediately contact SCDNR or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. Doing so provides biologists the best chance to help the animal and gather valuable scientific data.
In addition to reporting sightings, coastal residents and visitors can help manatees by staying alert while on the water and avoiding harmful interactions with the animals.
“Feeding and watering manatees encourages the animals to spend time at docks and marinas, making them more susceptible to boat strikes,” said USFWS biologist Melanie Olds. “In addition to being one of the main causes of mortality for manatees, it is also illegal.” The manatee is protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which makes it illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal. Conviction at the federal level is punishable by fine of up to $50,000 and/or one year in prison.
For 44 years, the Florida manatee was protected as “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act. In March of 2017, as a result of increasing numbers and improving habitat, USFWS reclassified their status as “threatened.” Manatees are still protected under federal and South Carolina law and face a number of threats on their continued path to recovery. The greatest dangers to the species include boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and harmful algal blooms known as red tides.
Tips for being manatee friendly in South Carolina:
There is always plenty to do around Charlotte Harbor, especially in the Spring. Whether you are moored in Punta Gorda’s mooring field or berthed at Fishermen’s Village Marina, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, you will enjoy your visit to beautiful Charlotte Harbor, where Punta Gorda, also A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, lies on Western Florida’s Charlotte Harbor/Peace River.
NEXT WEEK’S HAPPENINGS
Our thanks to Steve and Jane, and others – see comments below- for these kind words posted on AGLCA’s Forum for one of our longtime CRUISERS NET SPONSORS, Dowry Creek Marina. The marina is under new management and ownership by the Zeltner family who want to roll out the red carpet to transients, doing whatever you might need during your visit to this highly praised and transient friendly marina lying off the AICW/Pungo River north of Belhaven, NC.
Our thanks to Jeff Irwin (see comments below) for the two photos from Dowry Creek.
Just left Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC, this am. Had a great visit and wanted to let everyone know. It’s well run, has brand new docks, free laundry, courtesy car, pool, and protected water. Jeff does a great job and we will definitely be back.
Steve and Jane McKinney
Users of Bogue Inlet are very accustomed to difficulties with these uncharted buoys and the shifting channel. Cruisers Net recommends recent local knowledge before navigating Bogue Inlet. This uncharted inlet buoy was offshore on the eastern side of the inlet entrance channel.
1. THE FOLLOWING AID TO NAVIGATION HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
A. BOGUE INLET BUOY 2 (LLNR 29500) HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
Experienced cruiser and frequent Cruisers Net contributor Jim Healy shares his observations on the two route choices south of Norfolk. The Virginia Cut is part of the main AICW route via Great Bridge Lock and the Dismal Swamp Canal is the alternate route departing northeast Albemarle Sound northbound via Pasquatank River, Elizabeth City and South Mills Lock. The Canal rejoins the AICW at statute mile 7.1.
There are so many considerations… To say nothing of personal preferences…
The two routes are the “Virginia Cut” and the “Dismal Swamp.” There is no significant difference in the distances of the two routes, but the Dismal takes longer. The Virginia Cut can be done in one day. The Dismal Swamp route can be done in one day, but more usually will take two or more. It depends on what you want to see and do.
The Virginia Cut is a salt-water route suited to fast boats and boaters who are “in a hurry.” It is the eastern route, the “main” ICW, runs through Coinjock, where there are marinas, is used by go fast boats with big wakes and inconsiderate operators, and has a couple of bridges that can bring the pace to a prolonged stop. There is one lock at Great Bridge in Chesapeake, VA, that has about an 18″ lift. That bridge operates on the hour. It’s tidal north of Great Bridge.
What’s good about the route?
3. Southern 1/4 of the route is beautiful.
The Dismal is a fresh water route through a cypress swamp with some old growth deciduous trees. It is the western route, suited to slow boats and boaters who are very comfortable taking their time. There are two locks, one at South Mills, NC, and on at Deep Creek, VA. Lift is about 8′, depending on Lake Drummond datum and tide on the north end. The locks operate 4 times a day, at 8h30, 11h00, 13h30 and 15h30. It’s 22 StM from South Mills to Deep Creek. If you clear into the system at 08h30, you have 5 hours to make the 22 miles to Deep Creek, which is less that 5 mph. There is a 6 mph speed limit on the canal. No wakes.
We are an 8 MPH boat. We depart Elizabeth City at 06h00 to clear into the system at South Mills at 08h30. People (usually sailboats) also anchor in the channel at the South Mills Lock if they can’t get going by 06h00. Anchoring in the channel is legal in the overnight when the locks are closed, but you must not interfere with traffic during the day.
The Dismal control depth is 6-1/2 ft. The usable width of the Canal is probably 70 feet. The crown of the forest does overhang the canal, and sailboats – all boats, really – will take their half out of the middle. There are some submerged logs. The trick is to stay 3/4 mile behind the boat in front of you – if there is a boat in front of you – so that anything that boat lifts off the bottom will settle back to the bottom before you get to that spot. No boat in front of you, just go slow. Many people complain of bumping something in the dismal. Many of them are “tailgating” boats in front of them. How to I know? I’ve see it over and over again.
What’s in the water in the dismal?
2. Visible dead heads ranging in size from twigs to logs
3. Submerged larger stuff
4. Wildlife and sea monsters
We prefer the Dismal. We take our time. We enjoy the peace and quiet. We rarely hit anything, and we never hit anything at speeds above idle.
What’s better about the route?
1. Elizabeth City
2. No wakes, boater courtesy
3. NC Visitors Center and Nature Center
4. Ample free docking (albeit w/o services)
5. Robert Peek
6. The magnificent scenery and wildlife of the Pasquatank River
If you draw 5′ or less, you won’t have a problem. If you are patient, you won’t have a problem. If you stay well behind the boat in front of you, you won’t have a problem.
Yes, this has all been discussed many times. It’s a natural and inevitable part of the AGLCA spring ritual.
Jim and Peg Healy
Monk 36 Hull #132
CRUISERS NET SPONSOR IN VIRGINIA CUT ROUTE
Click Here To View the VA to NC Cruisers Net Marina Directory Listing For Atlantic Yacht Basin
CRUISERS NET SPONSOR IN DISMAL SWAMP CANAL
Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers Nets Marina Directory Listing For the Camden TDA/Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center
The Spoleto Festival USA is one the most renowned music, theatre and dance celebrations in the country. If your Spring migration includes a stop in Charleston, then Spoleto and its many performances should be part of your agenda. Concurrently is Piccolo Spoleto with even more entertainment opportunities, especially in visual arts. Most venues are only a short distance from Charleston marinas.
Click here for Spoleto USA
Click here for Piccolo Spoleto
CHARLESTON AREA SPONSORING MARINAS!
Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers Net Marina Directory Listing For Charleston City Marina
These Local Notices of storm warning information are posted each year prior to hurricane season and, although anyone living near a coast is familiar with the warning names, it is prudent to review the specific meanings before the storm arrives.
The hurricane season extends from June 1st through November 30th. Hurricanes can cause excessive damage to vessels and loss of life. To minimize these dangers, the following precautions should be taken by all mariners before getting underway during the hurricane season:
(a) Instruction of crew and passengers in location of emergency equipment and emergency procedures;
(b) Pre-sailing check of vessel, machinery, and equipment for seaworthiness;
(c) Installation of strong ground tackle;
(d) Review of storm center evasion procedures;
(e) Knowledge of nearest hurricane shelter or port; and
(f) Constant radio watches on channel 16 VHF-FM and frequent monitoring of weather broadcasts.
The civilian hurricane warning service for the North Atlantic is provided by the National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida. The center collates ship, aircraft, radar, and satellite data to produce and issue tropical cyclone warnings and forecasts for the North Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Cyclone Public Advisory (TCP) is issued every six hours, with intermediate bulletins provided as needed. For tropical storms and hurricanes threatening to cross the coast of the U.S., coastal warnings are issued to the public so that precautionary actions, including evacuation, can be initiated to minimize damage and loss of life.
Four alerts are issued:
(a) TROPICAL STORM WATCH – An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.
b) TROPICAL STORM WARNING – An announcement that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.
(c) HURRICANE WATCH – An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
d) HURRICANE WARNING – An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
Additional information of interest to mariners is included in the Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory (TCM) and the Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities (PWS) products. The TCM provides current and forecast storm positions, intensities, and wind fields out to 120 hours. The PWS provides probabilities of sustained wind speeds equal to or exceeding 34-, 50-, and 64-kt wind speed thresholds for select coastal and offshore locations.
Mariners are reminded that aids to navigation, particularly lighted and unlighted buoys, may be moved from charted position, damaged, destroyed, extinguished, or otherwise deemed discrepant as a result of hurricanes and storms. Mariners should not rely solely upon the position or operation of an aid to navigation, but also employ such other methods of determining position as may be available. Port Hurricane Conditions are set up by the COTP and will change as the threat of severe weather increases, or as a storm approaches a specific COTP Area of Responsibility. For COTP-specific Port Hurricane Conditions, you should review information provided under the Port Directory tab of
Condition 4 – Hurricane Seasonal Alert. 01 June–30 November; port status: open.
Condition Whiskey – Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 72 hours; port status: open.
Condition X-Ray – Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 48 hours; port status: open.
Condition Yankee – Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 24 hours; port status: restricted; vessel/facility control measures in effect.
Condition Zulu – Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 12 hours; port status: closed to all vessel traffic and waterside activities except for activities approved by the COTP.
Drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures. Drawbridges are authorized to remain closed upon approach of Gale Force winds of 34 knots or greater. Extended closure periods may be authorized up to 8 hours prior to arrival of Gale Force winds to facilitate evacuation of land traffic. Due to the uncertainty of hurricane movements and bridge closures, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of Gale Force winds.