NOAA’s network of 37 educational interactive touch screen kiosks now includes four in the North Carolina and Virginia area. The kiosks explain the cultural and natural marine resources of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary that protects the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. They also provide real-time information about local weather and ocean conditions. The kiosks can be found at Janette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina; North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, North Carolina; Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, North Carolina; and Bass Pro Shop in Hampton, Virginia. sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/kiosk/kiosk.html
In February and March, calves and juveniles of North Atlantic Right Whale females migrate north along the Southeastern Seaboard. Vessel strikes and harassment from boats approaching too closely cause them stress, which consequently affects their reproduction and survival. The North American office of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) asks mariners to think of whales as privileged vessels who always have right of way and to adopt the following cruising guidelines with respect to whales: Don’t get closer than 100 feet; never approach one head on; drop your sails and use the auxiliary; and always keep a sharp lookout. nero.noaa.gov/protected/mmp/viewing
New NC bridge
In Beaufort, North Carolina, the 56-year-old Grayden Paul drawbridge is being replaced with a new fixed-span bridge with a 65-foot vertical clearance. Marine services on Core Creek were concerned that the new bridge would hinder taller-masted vessels’ access to their services, but a North Carolina DOT study showed that the new bridge would handle 99.1 percent of vessels that now pass through the existing bridge. Standard vertical clearance on the ICW is 65 feet. Although the bridge is not on the ICW, vessels do pass under a 65-foot ICW bridge prior to arrival in the bridge’s vicinity. Scheduled bridge completion is September 2015.