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    • Praise for Georgia Waterway and Report from Hell Gate, AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 602

      The AICW follows the narrow, man-made canal known as Hell Gate between the Vernon and Ogeechee Rivers. These waters have been an “AICW Problem Stretch” for years.

      Captains Glen and Jill Moore provide an excellent picture of and approach to this long-time trouble spot where depths can change quickly due to the narrow channel. And we heartily agree that these miles of undeveloped and unspoiled Waterway in Georgia are well worth the necessary planning and navigational care.

      We traveled through Hell Gate on 11/9/12. The shallowest spot observed on our path was 8′ MLW south of floating R90. Using the large Georgia tides to your advantage, Hell Gate depths provide a good margin of error on your course through this narrow stretch of the ICW.
      Some cruisers avoid the Georgia ICW due to stories of shallow water. They miss one of the best cruising areas of the southeast coast. Those on a delivery schedule, just trying to get south or north as quickly as possible, can save much time by going outside. It is about 115 sm from Hilton Head, SC to the St. Marys River entrance at the Florida line, while traveling between the same destinations following the ICW is a curving course of 150 sm. But, for cruisers searching for memorable experiences, it is 150 miles of natural beauty, 100’s of anchorages, and many interesting places to visit.
      The term ‘Problem Stretches’ may be part of the problem, adding to a level of fear causing cruisers to avoid Georgia. Yes, there are areas that require attention and planning, all of which are documented on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net website. So, there should be no surprises. The site’s new feature of recently sounded and recorded depths by ARGUS research vessels, detailed directly on NOAA charts, provides accurate and easy-to-understand information on depths. Spending a little time researching the waterway on SSECN, annotating information directly on your charts, will provide a valuable guide to safely cruising Georgia’s section of the AICW. Navigation of these waters is a bit more challenging, but the challenge of navigation should be one of the experiences enjoyed in cruising ‘” a n endeavor rewarded by the outstanding cruising experiences these waters can provide.
      The narrow, and sometimes shallow, Georgia passages should be viewed as `Areas of Concern,’ requiring increased levels of attention and planning. Often in life, the greatest of rewards require higher effort to achieve.
      PBS created a documentary of the Georgia barrier islands which provides a visual and narrative description of the history and beauty of one aspect of this area:
      Glen and Jill Moore
      DeFever 40 Last Dance

      Very good to hear positive comments about the Georgia ICW.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Hell Gate

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

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    • BLAST OFF! Florida’s Indian River Anchorage – Captains Mark and Diana Report (Statute Mile 882)

      On the Water GuidebooksLike Captains Diana and Mark, over the years, we have swung on the hook in the below described Indian River anchorage and watched all sorts of spacecraft being launched, including the now defunct space shuttle. All of these sights are of the “never fogotten” variety.
      As Mark and Diana note, there is NO protection on these wide waters, so be sure there is a good forecast in the offing before committing to a stay on these waters. Otherwise, GO for it whenever a lunch is due!

      Hi Claiborne,
      An anchorage in the middle of nowhere … What’s the big deal?
      Yep, Indian River Anchorage is a nondescript stopover with no protection and no shore access ‘” but with the memories of a lifetime!
      All you have to do is time your overnight stay with a rocket launch from nearby Kennedy Space Center.
      There may be no nearby shore access or services, but you’re talking front row seats for the Cape Canaveral launches!
      Fortunately, rocket launches only proceed with perfectly calm conditions, the same conditions you’ll want in order to stay at this unprotected anchorage along the Indian River at STM 882.2.
      Located a full two statute miles off the ICW, there is a pocket of 7-foot depths in the middle of the incredibly wide Indian River (see the sample page from our AnchorGuide series below).
      We’ll never see another shuttle launch like the one pictured here but there are three more launches currently scheduled for this year, two of them Atlas rockets!
      Plan ahead by checking KSC’s rocket launch schedule at:
      On November 13th an Atlas V rocket will launch the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, a U.S. military prototype spaceplane.
      On December 6th an Atlas V rocket will launch a NASA communications satellite.
      On December 15 a Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Dragon spacecraft on a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station.
      Pretty exciting stuff for a “boring” anchorage in the middle of the Indian River!
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      We have had the same great view for the last four launches from our slip at the Cocoa Village Marina. Which usually
      includes a launch party at the beautiful Club house.
      Capt Bob Onboard ALLEZ!

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Indian River Spaceport Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Indian River Spaceport Anchorage

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    • IMPORTANT – ARGUS Data Now Being Updated Continuously By Two Research Craft Heading South Down the AICW

      Back on 10/11/12, we brought to the attention of the cruising community BIG news about the updating of our “ARGUS” data layer (on our site’s “Chart View” module). Once again, the strategic partnership between the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, Survice Engineering’s ARGUS Project and EarthNC (Earth Nautical Charts), was yielding BIG dividends!

      NOW, THERE IS EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS ON THIS FRONT! And, as always, this superb service is being made available to the cruising community at NO CHARGE. You don’t have to buy anything, join any organization, nor even provide a user name or a password! How’s that for an “offer you can’t refuse!”

      First, let’s hear directly from ARGUS’s creator, Captain John Hersey, of Survice Engineering:

      The new ARGUS ICW solution set that you posted in the article about on your website (see /argus-solution-sets-updated-just-in-time-for-the-fall-2012-cruising-season/) reflected all new data gathered through September of 2012. Since then, as the two ARGUS research vessels, Altair and Chez Nous, have been moving south, we’ve been updating this ICW solution set daily to reflect their incoming soundings. This test of near-real-time updates provide Chez Nous (the follower in this case) with the benefit of Altair’s observations from the day before, as well as your other readers with the same updated look at current conditions as both vessels travel south.

      OK, please allow me to translate. Where before, updated ARGUS data was being fed into our EarthNC produced “Chart View” pages on a more or less quarterly basis, now, this data is being updated DAILY as the two research vessels, Alair and Chez Nous, work their way south down the AICW.

      As usual, an example is worth another thousand words, so let’s look at a real instance of how this new data has been integrated into the existing ARGUS sounding information.

      Please follow this link, which will open a Chart View page centered on the AICW, just south of Fernandina Beach, Florida:


      First, be advised that I have set this link to automatically open the ARGUS layer, but if you were just going to any of our Chart View pages, it would be necessary to find the “ARGUS (MLLW)” check box just above the chart image, in the second (moving left to right) vertical row of check boxes. After clicking the “ARGUS (MLLW)” checkbox, the ARGUS legend will appear, as well as the color coded sounding circles, indicating MLW adjusted depths gathered by the ARGUS research craft.

      Take a look at the voluminous sounding data recorded on this section of the Waterway, NOW FRESHLY UPDATED BY THE JUST GATHERED SOUNDINGS SUBMITTED BY ALAIR AND CHEZ NOUS!


      One question we are often asked is how our users can easily get to our Chart View pages. Well, of course, by clicking on ANY of the chartlets in our various marina or anchorage directory listings, you will be taken to a Chart View page automatically centered on and zoomed to the marina or anchorage in question. You can then drag the chart in any direction, and for any distance you need to reveal your waters of interest. HOWEVER THERE IS ANOTHER, VERY USEFUL WAY TO FIND YOUR WAY TO OUR CHART VIEW SERVICE!

      Locate the red, vertically stacked stacked menus on the right side of all Cruisers’ Net pages, and then select your coastline of interest, “South Carolina” for example. Click on “South Carolina” and a drop down menu will appear. Now, locate “SC Chartview” and click on this menu item. A sub-sub drop down menu will appear, with a list of South Carolina’s ports of a call. To continue this example, click on “Georgetown, SC.” A Chart View page will open, centered on Georgetown. Activate the “ARGUS” layer by clicking the ARGUS checkbox, and look at all the good, just updated sounding data on the Sampit River, bordering the downtown Georgetown waterfront. Again, you can then drag the chart in any direction, and for any distance you need to reveal other waters of interest.

      This feature works in exactly the same fashion for all our coastlines. not just South Carolina. Take a few moments to give it a try.

      We know the cruising community will find this updated ARGUS data to be very useful. Please join with me in thanking Survice Engineering as well as EarthNC for making this service possible, partnered with the Salty Southeast Cruiser’ Net. OK, go to our site and check those latest soundings. Good luck and good cruising to all!

      Cruising News:
      Just wanted to say that we just used the argus readings from Fernandina to Cocoa and they were extremely accurate and very helpful..Thanks for the good took some of the stress of the ICW away..We have a 61/2 four draft and the ICW can be very interesting..

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    • Anchorage with Shoreside Access in Ft. Lauderdale: Middle River (St. M. 1063.4) – Captains Mark and Diana Report

      On the Water GuidebooksThe Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is very pleased to publish the latest in the superb series of articles authored by our good friends, and strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water Chartguides.” This story centers on a body of water, Middle River, which provides excellent anchorage. This stream lies off the AICW’s western shores a few miles north of Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Bridge.
      I know this area well, as my parents used to rent a winter home which fronted onto Middle River. As a boy of ten our so, you could find me almost daily piloting either my sailfish or our 16-foot Boston Whaler around these waters. Those were truly golden, broad days.
      But, now, back to the present. Let’s hear what Diana and Mark have to tell us!

      Hi Claiborne,
      South Florida’s AICW is a bit like a “Tour of Homes” as you motor by impressive and varied waterfront lots.

      We love gawking at the mega-mansions with million-dollar poolside landscaping and the pink bungalows with flocks of plastic flamingos.

      But the downside of wall-to-wall canal-front real estate is that shoreside access is much harder to come by. Shore is all private property, often within private developments that prohibit any dinghy dockage. That’s why Middle River anchorage, with shore access at Fort Lauderdale’s George English Park, is so special.

      Middle River, at STM 1063.4, is a deep and relatively quiet (by South Florida standards!) anchorage, convenient to the AICW, in a no-wake-zone river lined with homes and park land.

      Exit the ICW southeast of G3 and proceed northwesterly up charted Middle River, north of the large east-west canal home island. Anchor in the river’s wide spot, with the fixed bridge (vertical clearance 5 feet) to the north. Middle River is substantially deeper than charted: we surveyed depths of 15-26 feet (at 2.3′ above MLLW).

      Shore access is at the George English Park boat ramp to the north, upriver just past the low-clearance fixed bridge. The park is 20 acres, with a recreation center, tennis courts, and a walking/jogging trail. Many restaurants and Galleria Fort Lauderdale are nearby, including a supermarket across the bridge to the west.

      I’ve included a photo of the anchorage as well as a sample page from our new AnchorGuide series showing the anchorage location, the actual versus charted depths in the Middle River, and the location of the park boat ramp.

      Unfortunately, for all the park’s excellent amenities and access, the park does not allow dogs.

      Best and see you On the Water,

      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Middle River Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Middle River

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    • North Mouth of Alligator River AICW Problem Stretch – Captains Mark and Diana Report (St. M. 81)

      On the Water GuidebooksBelow, our strategic partners Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of On The Water ChartGuides, give a concise and accurate report of the current situation at the northern mouth of the Alligator River, where the AICW flows south from Albemarle Sound into this body of water. Note that Diana and Mark confirm our earlier posting here on the SSECN (see /?p=98565), that the infamous “magenta line” is charted on the WRONG side of marker #8A. Be SURE to pass this marker to its EASTERLY side!

      Hi Claiborne,
      Diana and I crossed the Albemarle Sound southbound last week and re-surveyed the known Alligator River Entrance ICW trouble spot … with its westward shoal and mis-charted Magenta Line.
      As you can see from the attached screenshot, the depths are fine if you follow the navaids, NOT necessarily the Magenta Line.
      Southbound, you would honor R6 and the G7-R8 pair, then (importantly) depart the charted Magenta Line, honoring floating navaid Red 8A, to stay off encroaching Long Shoal Point, finally re-joing the ICW and the charted Magenta Line at G9.
      I’ll re-survey the other known ICW trouble spots as we continue southbound and share these with your SSECN readers.
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      Cruised through the northern Alligator River dog leg. No problem. Follow the marks.
      Raymond W. Smith

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the North Mouth of Alligator River

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

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    • Praise for Tarpon Springs and Turtle Cove Marina, off the Anclote River, Gulf Coast

      Turtle Cove Marina - Click for Chartview

      Turtle Cove Marina is located off the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs channel, west of Marker #50. Detailed channel instructions are found in our Western Florida Marina Directory listing for this facility, linked below.

      Tarpon Springs is one of our favorite stops on the Loop, lots of great food, music, marina life, fresh sea food and a good place to rest up after a long crossing. Last year we stayed at Turtle Cove Marina for a week (good weekly rate) and found it to be close to everything. To read more and see photo’s of Tarpon Springs, the farmers market and more you can click on the following link:
      Jim & Lisa Favors

      Fish Market

      Sponge Docks

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Turtle Cove Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Tarpon Springs and Spring Bayou

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    • “The Crab Shack” on Sixmile Creek (off the St. Johns River, south of Green Cove Springs)

      There was a recent discussion on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list about the famous Crab Shack Restaurant, just off the St. Johns River, south of Green Cove Springs. Over the years, we’ve had many postings here on the Cruisers’ Net about this WONDERFUL place to slake a healthy appetite. From time to time, though, it’s good to recall this St. Johns River dining attraction!
      To access this facility, cruise into Palmo Cove, along the eastern banks of the St. Johns River, well east – southeast of river marker #22. Be sure to avoid the long tongue of shoal water which stretches out from this cove’s northside entrance point.
      Sixmile Creek stretches out from the southeastern corner of Palmo Cove. Be advised that you may have to cruise through some 4 1/2 foot soundings to reach the stream’s mouth, and again as you approach the restaurant’s docks.
      If you can stand these depths, the effort is well worthwhile!

      The Crab Shack is on 6 Mile Creek, off the St. Johns eastern shore, south of Green Cove Springs. It has a long, long dock capable of hosting many boats. While I have not stepped it off, it is close to 1000 feet. On weekends, many runabouts cruise there for lunch or dinner. There is a shoal entering 6 Mile Creek. Food at the restaurant was at one time outstanding, but currently would rate at good. It is well worth a stop, in our opinion.
      Glen Moore
      DeFever 40 Last Dance

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Palmo Cove and Six Miles Creek

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, In Satellite Photo (“Hybrid”) Mode, Zoomed To the Location of the Crab Shack on Six Mile Creek

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    • “Shakedown” at Green Cove Springs City Dock ?, Green Cove Springs, FL

      Green Cove Springs City Dock is on the St. Johns River between Jacksonville and Palatka. This facility should NOT be confused with Green Cove Springs Marina, which sits a bit farther upstream, in the heart of the old Navy Base.
      As for Capt. Hoskins’ experience described below, we can’t be really sure this is a shakedown or a miscommunication, since Green Cove Spring’s municipal website, as well as a confirming phone call made by the SSECN to City Hall, lists charges only for overnight stays. See below. Accordingly, Capt. Hoskins should NOT have been charged for daytime use without electric or water.

      This is an excerpt from the Green Cove Springs website which clearly states that: “There is no fee if a boat stays all day and uses no electric and/or water”.

      The City Pier provides a gateway to the City of Green Cove Springs by way of the St. Johns River. The pier provides a centrally located covered pavillion with handrails that are handicap accessible. The 12 floating finger boat slips allow visitors to dock and explore the City of Green Cove Springs.
      Boat Slip Information:

      $10.00 – Overnight Stay
      $10.00 – Use of Electric and/or Water

      Maximum stay is 48 hours. If a boat stays overnight and uses no electric and/or water the fee will be $10.00 per day. If a boat stays overnight and also uses the electric and/or water the fee is $20.00 per day. There is no fee if a boat stays all day and uses no electric and/or water. Overnight fees are based upon use from after dusk and until dawn. Go to “Parks and Recreation”, then to “City Pier”

      Cruising News:
      Chief of police in Green Cove Springs,Fl. and his officers are demanding 10.00 daily dock fee for dinghy or boat if they think you are a live aboard even though signs are posted for overnight and utility usage only. Today I complained to city manager and am awaiting news of actual statute or “resolution” pertaining to this now old shakedown tactic for money that is not posted on any sign at the dock. It happens that the police station is in Spring Park right near the docks so they keep an eye out for potential “victims”. Beware…
      Alan Hoskins

      It seems that I am caught up in a discriminatory battle between the city of Green Cove Springs and its corporate statute enforcers and the live-aboards who have remained at anchor off the city in the St. Johns River in the quaint cove to the south of the city public docks for a period deemed `too long’ by the powers that claim to be. I have been denied use of a public dock for the reason stated above unless I pay a fee that is not required by the general public and that is designed to force me to comply or leave the area which feels and seems to be the case. This is clearly a case of the NIMBY syndrome (not in my backyard) that is causing Fl. to enforce statutes that are not even on the books. We as a species are devolving not evolving and are acting as territorial baboons fighting for existence! Folks when you buy a box on the waterfront and hook it up to the grid and dull your mind in front of the boob tube, try to remember that you only bought the box, you did not buy the view out of your window because I am in it and I am not for sale! Best Regards’¦../)’¦’¦
      Alan Hoskins

      Click Here To Read More Information about Green Cove Springs City Docks

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Green Cove Springs City Dock

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. David Burnham -  November 27, 2016 - 12:23 pm

        Damage to the floating docks on the Green Cove Springs City Dock has closed this access to the city until further notice. At least until repairs have returned the floating docks to a useable condition. There is no date specified when work will commence or be completed. However, NO TRESSPASSING signs ARE posted. There is a locked gate across the middle of the pier preventing access to the shore from the floating docks.

        Reply to David
    • An Enthusiastic Thumbs Up for Hinkley Yacht Services, Thunderbolt, Georgia (just outside Savannah, GA, St. M. 583)

      Having just returned from a personal research visit to Hinkley Yacht Services on 11/2/12, I agree with Captain Day’s description. This truly seems like a quality operation!
      The Savannah/Thunderbort version of the venerable Hinkley Yacht Services overlooks the Waterways’ western banks, immediately north of the Thunderbolt high-rise bridge.

      In September 2011 we hauled our 34 year old, 44FT. Thompson Trawler, LILY MARIA at the Chesapeake Marine Railway, Deltaville, VA { Contact:J. Farinholt. {804}776 8833 } for serious bottom work.High pressure water utilizing a special nozzle removed old paint.Voids and dings filled, sanded and two coats of West Marine Premium Gold ablative anti fouling applied. This was our second visit to Chesapeake Marine Railway and have always been pleased with there work and consideration to customer needs. Good people!.
      In May 2012 we short hauled for an insurance survey and seemingly the overly enthusiastic pressure wash removed most of the still active ablative paint.Four months in Georgias fast flowing, nutrient rich rivers found LILY MARIAs bottom reminiscent of a tropical rain forest, with abundant slime, weed and small barnacles. A marine biologists delight , a skippers horror show!!.
      What to do?.Haul in Geogia or wait until we returned to Marathon for the winter?. Greatly reduced speed, slugish manouvering and no doubt increased fuel consumption favored Georgia.
      By telephone we contacted 7 reputable boat yards including 2 in Florida where we had hauled in prevous years for quotations. For a fair comparison we reduced each quote to a $ per foot cost. The quotation from Hinkley Yacht Services in Thunderbolt GA came right in the middle of our tabulation. After several discussions with Gebel Seese , Hinkley Service Manager, {Contact: {912} 629 2400 } it became apparent to us that Hinkley offerred the best possible value consistent with top quality materials and skilled labor.
      We found the Sea Hawk web site informative and following Gebel Seese advise we specified Sea Hawk, Tropikote, based on proven longevity and effectiveness of anti fouling properties. Further, via Sea Hawks appointed applicators a written guarrantee is issued which appealed to Jean and I.
      Haul out day saw LILY MARIA in the slings for a full 8 hours while she was scraped,pressure washed and lightly sanded. Of special note,the running gear and scoops were restored to bare metal by the addition of a small amount of silicone sand added to the pressure wash water.This coupled with the extensive work undertaken the prevous year at the Chesapeake Marine Railway has restored the bottom of LILY MARIA to a clean fair surface. As one interested bystander said “Your 35 year old boat now has the bottom of a 4 year old”. We especially appreciated the care and hard work in prepping the bottom on which the finished job would depend.
      Metal primed, 2 coats of Tropikote applied with 3 on the waterline and LILY MARIA was ready to be launched within 5 working days.
      Durring the haul out we lived aboard with minimal inconveience. Hinkley provides good clean shoreside facilities adjascent to the work area. The work areas are tidy, well organized and the work scheduled so the job progresses without interruption.
      The labor force,many of whom worked at the old Palmer Johnson yard, are experienced, skilled craftsmen and proud to carry on the the quality work that Hinkley is renowned for. This full service yard maintains many boats that are not Hinkley built and despite there insistance on customer service and quality there priceing is most competitive.Hinkley is not a do it your self yard.
      We are extremly satisfied with our Hinkley experience which was beyond our expectations. The job was completed on time, within budget and to a high standard. On the run south we have noted at least a 1.25 increse in speed at cruising RPM plus resultant fuel savings.
      Jean sums it up best of all by saying “the only problem I see with Hinkley is that we now have no choice but to return for all future haul outs!!
      Colin Day
      Jean Henderson

      Click Here To View the Georgia Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Hinkley Yacht Services

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Hinkley Yacht Services

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    • AICW Shoaling Reported North of St. Augustine, Statute Mile 774

      Shoaling at Marker #54 - Click for Chartview

      Back on 8/28/12, we posted a “Navigation Alert” message about shoaling north of St. Augustine, 1.5 nautical miles north of the Vilano Beach Bridge, and hard by marker #54 (see /?p=95521). Now, in the message below, cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, we have confirmation of this shallow water.
      ALL CRUISERS should be sure to take extra care as they pass marker #54, and LET US HEAR FROM YOU about your experiences along this stretch of the Waterway. Send us e-mail directly at, or click the “Contribute Cruising News” link/button, found at the top of this all (except) Chart View SSECN pages!

      The Coast Guard received a report of shoaling near Tolomato River Light 54 (LLNR 38830 [29°56.5933N / 081°18.6912W, 29.943221 / -81.311520]) north of St Augustine Inlet forming adjacent to the channel. Mariners are advised to exercise caution while transiting the area. Chart 11485

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Lighted Marker #54

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