St. Augustine, Florida, is about to get plundered just like it did four centuries ago! Join the annual historic reenactment of the sacking and burning of the town on Saturday, March 5th. The event is a recreation of Captain Robert Searle’s and his privateers’ raid in 1668 and begins at 4:30PM in the old city starting at the Plaza de la Constitución and ending at the Old City Gates, where the English brigade will battle the pirates. (Searle and crew sailed from Jamaica to loot the silver ingots held in the royal coffers.) During the day from 10AM to 4PM, the Fountain of Youth Park will host drills, demonstrations and living history interpretations. The event is free and new recruits are welcome.

Cocoa water tower gets recognition

The Cocoa water tower, a famous ICW landmark that guides mariners into Cocoa, Florida, was named 2015 Tank of the Year. The 156-foot tower is the cover photo on the 2016 Water Tank Calendar. Its freshly painted 25-foot-high American Flag must have wowed judges.

Free dockage & services

•  Oriental, North Carolina: A free, town-maintained pump-out station is available. New restrooms for maritime guests were opened early December at Town Dock #2.

•  Thunderbolt, Georgia: Just outside of Savannah on Country Club Creek, make way to The Wyld Dock Bar, where patrons can dock for free. Gypsy Jazz Music and a $20 all-you-can-eat oyster roast beckon for a stop over.

•  Little Sisters Creek, Florida: At the junction of the St. John’s River and the ICW, Jim King Park offers free dockage. The park boasts a new ramp and is a prime spot for offshore and inshore fishing.

Changes to anchorage area

Two separate anchorages have been proposed to protect coral and its habitat in the Port of Miami area by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI). After eight years of study, SEFCRI, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Anchorage Working Group propose a western anchorage and a larger eastern anchorage. Damage to coral from anchoring not only affects coral survival but also the marine ecosystem as a whole. The Coast Guard oversees anchoring for both recreational and commercial vessels and has in the past established anchorages in the Atlantic Ocean east of Miami Beach. All agencies involved are reviewing comments.

Single-leaf operations

Repairs are underway on the Dania Beach Boulevard Bridge in Broward County, Florida, located across the ICW at mile 1069.4. The bascule bridge is on one-leaf operation with a four-hour notice for a double-leaf opening through March 30th. For double-leaf opening call Quinn Construction at (941) 722-7722.

Caffeinated beaches 

In December, coffee lovers’ dreams came true when hundreds of Cuban coffee cans and vacuum-sealed bricks washed ashore on Indialantic Beach, Florida. Delighted beachcombers scooped them into trash bags. The inadvertent presents were cargo from about 25 containers that fell off a large Puerto Rico-bound barge somewhere between Cape Canaveral and Palm Beach. Other lost cargo included cell batteries, ramen noodles, dog food, bird seed, and bags of wine. After the spill, mariners dodged wayward containers in the Gulf Stream.

By Nancy E. Spraker, Southern Boating Magazine March 2015

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