There are three more reasons to cruise the Albemarle Loop Route in East Carolina’s historic Albemarle Sound—new marinas. This year’s latest additions are Manteo Waterfront Marina, Everett Marine at Cypress Cove Marina and The Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. Nine marinas now offer free dockage, pump-outs, two nights’ free dockage, and several amenities including swimming pools, shopping, museums, tennis, and restaurants on the Sound. albemarleloop.com/Marinas.html
According to North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones, continuous poor navigation conditions at the Hatteras and Oregon inlets in North Carolina may close both inlets to vessel traffic if additional dredging isn’t performed. Jones is calling for increased funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge those Outer Banks waterways. “I will do everything I can to fight for that cause,” Jones said, “[…] fishermen, recreational boaters and the Coast Guard must have reliable access through the inlets.” The Waterway Guide steers cruisers away from both inlets due to constant shoaling and shifting.
Party time in South Carolina
For a one-of-a-kind cultural experience in South Carolina’s low country, visit Beaufort, South Carolina’s Original Gullah Festival May 27-29. Festival tickets are only $5 on Friday to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Arts, crafts, a Caribbean Dance Party, African drumming, jazz, rhythm & blues, gospel, reggae, storytelling, and local delicacies await your arrival. For more information and ticket prices visit theoriginalgullahfestival.org
Sea cows’ center
South Florida manatees have yet another place to call home: West Palm Beach’s Manatee Lagoon—An FPL Eco-Discovery Center. The 16,000-square-foot educational center that opened on February 6th features hands-on exhibits that teach visitors about these unique endangered creatures and their Lake Worth Lagoon home. With free admission and parking, the center is open 9AM to 4PM Tuesday through Sunday. Due to improvements in its population, manatee’s status may be downlisted from endangered to threatened by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. visitmanateelagoon.com
U.S. travelers may soon be able to visit the island of Cuba by sea. Overnight ferries from the Port of Miami, Florida, to Cuba are set to begin late this year or early 2017—that is, if the Castro regime picks up the pace. Although a ferry terminal is needed at PortMiami, officials are looking at temporary solutions to get things started. The Italian Grimaldi shipping line proposes a 220-foot ferry and Miami’s Baja Ferry plans to carry 2,500 passengers per week on its 623-foot vessel. Both lines foresee daily runs. United Caribbean, Carnival and other operators were also issued Cuba-ferry licenses by the Obama administration. Last winter, 55 sailboats raced from Key West to Havana’s Hemingway Marina in the Conch Republic Cup after responding to an invitation from the Commodore of Club Náutico Internaciónal Hemingway de la Habana. While it wasn’t the first Key West to Cuba race, it was the first one sanctioned by the U.S. government.
— By Nancy E. Spraker, Southern Boating Magazine May 2016