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Annual Redfish Spot Fishing Tournament September 19th

Press release by Dickie Anderson – The Amelia Island Guides Association (AIGA) and Amelia Island Marina (formerly Amelia Island Yacht Basin) will co-host the 2nd Annual Redfish Spot Fishing Tournament on September 17, 2016 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Folds of Honor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is committed to the families of the armed services who have been wounded or killed while serving our great nation and to ensure no military family is left behind or forgotten. Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 10,000 scholarships to children of fallen or disabled military men and women in all 50 states. You may make a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation directly on their web site at www.foldsofhonor.org.

The tournament is open to all anglers fishing from powered boats, sail boats, kayak, canoe, the shore, bridges, piers, etc., with 100% of the entry fees paid out in prize money. The Captains Meeting will be held on Friday, September 16, 2016.

The public is invited to listen to live music and watch the anglers present their fish to spot counting beginning at 2:00 pm.

Additional information can be found on the AIGA website at www.ameliaislandguidesassociation.com. If you would like to donate to the raffle or silent auction or have a booth at the event, please contact Capt. Scott Thompson at 904-430-6014.

The Amelia Island Marina, formerly Amelia Island Yacht Basin, is located at 251 Creekside Drive, at the foot of the Shave Bridge.

2014 Blessing of the Fleet and Decorated Boat Parade

2014 Blessing of the Fleet and Decorated Boat ParadeThe Blessing of the Fleet and Decorated Boat Parade will take place at 1:30 pm on the Amelia River, Sunday May 4th, during the 51st Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival that runs May 2 – 4, 2014.

Home to the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry, Fernandina Beach holds this annual festival to celebrate our shrimp fleet and show other communities that we support wild caught shrimp.

Do you want to bring your boat to Fernandina Beach for this exciting water parade? Visit ShrimpFestival.com and fill out your application today.

The Blessing of the Fleet takes place around the world with each port praying for a bountiful season. In Maryland, they celebrate to open the oyster harvesting season, here on Amelia Island, we seek blessings for plentiful shrimp. The Priest says a prayer and asks for a safe and productive travel as shrimp boats, commercial vessels, recreational and pleasure crafts line up to be blessed with a sprinkling of Holy Water. This traditional ceremony came to Amelia Island with the immigrants that settled here from Mediterranean fishing communities.

Prizes will be awarded to the Best Decorated Shrimp Boat and all participating boats are invited to be in the Boat Parade and the Blessing of the Fleet.

Even if you don’t have a boat, you will still want to make it to the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival for shrimp, fun, arts, crafts, antiques, entertainment and scores of pirates!

There is NO admission fee to attend!

Festival hours are Friday, May 2, 6:00 to 10:30 pm; Saturday, May 3, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; and on Sunday the festival is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information about entertainment, contests and where to “Park and Ride” please visit ShrimpFestival.com.

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HMS Bounty Comes to St. Augustine

HMS Bounty Comes to St. AugustineSt. Augustine, FL — The tale of the H.M.S. Bounty is perhaps one of the most infamous tales of mutiny on the high seas. And pirates in St. Augustine have become the stuff of legend.

This month, the two join forces for Pirates on the Bounty, an action-packed weekend of pirates and privateers in the Nation’s Oldest City, presented April 28 through 29 in conjunction with the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration.

A joint and discounted ticket to tour the H.M.S. Bounty and The Pirate Museum will be available at The Pirate Museum and on the museum website: www.thepiratemuseum.com. The ship will be open for tours on April 27 through 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the museum is open throughout the weekend from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

ADULTS: $18.99 ($22.99 value)
CHILDREN 5-12 YEARS OLD: $9.99 ($11.99 value)
CHILDREN UNDER 5: FREE

Known for the storied 1789 mutiny in Tahiti aboard the historic vessel, the current Bounty replica scheduled to sail into St. Augustine for the first time in history was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando, and has appeared in documentaries and films like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

“This city is so rich in history,” said Tracie Simonin, director of the H.M.S. Bounty. “The Bounty has never been to St Augustine before and I like to bring the ship to new and interesting cities.”

The H.M.S. Bounty sails the country offering dockside tours on the history of sailing vessels from a lost and romanticized period in maritime history. And it will lend its towering presence to Pirates on the Bounty.

“This is a great opportunity to provide the community with a first-time, hands-on historic experience that ties in with its rich maritime and pirate history,” said Dana Ste. Claire, St. Augustine’s director of heritage tourism and historic preservation, and director of development for the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration.

Tours of the world-famous tall ship will kick off at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina at 111 Avenida Menendez. The Pirate Museum is located within short walking distance from the marina at 12 S. Castillo Drive, just opposite the Castillo de San Marcos.

“Mutineers and pirates are the perfect combination, especially for St. Augustine where centuries ago tall ships sailed in and pirates pillaged,” said Pat Croce, celebrity founder of The Pirate Museum and renowned pirate historian.

Opened in December 2010, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum features one of the world’s largest collections of authentic pirate artifacts, Florida shipwreck treasures and interactive fun, including the world’s only pirate treasure chest and Disney Imagineer-designed audio show. It was named a top national attraction by Budget Travel magazine.

“We’re excited to be a part of such an amazing weekend of pirates,” said museum executive director Cindy Stavely.

For more information about the H.M.S. Bounty, visit www.tallshipbounty.org or call (631) 584-7900. For more information on the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, call (904) 825-1053.

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Video of Theodore the Tugboat in Fernandina Beach

Theodore Too in Fernandina BeachTheodore Too, the tugboat, lives at Murphy’s Cable Wharf, but she was docked in Fernandina Beach, Florida this morning, after traveling a solid 94 hours.

Theodore Too is on his way to Winterfest Family Day in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Theodore Tugboat’s creator, Andrew Cochran, came up with the idea one afternoon after seeing two tugboats and a container ship positioned so they appeared to be having a conversation. He began telling his son bedtime stories of the tugboats in the harbour.

These bedtime stories soon became a children’s television show on the CBC network. As the show grew in popularity, so did the requests for more Theodore. This lead to the development of a life-sized replica of the friendly tug who spends much of his time touring the Eastern Seaboard visiting friends and fans.

Theodore Too on Amelia IslandTheodore loved to visit his fans but began to long for Halifax and a permanent home. At first it seemed that no one would be able to care for Theodore Too, and he began to worry that he would never have a home.

When Murphy’s Cable Wharf heard about Theodore’s troubles, they stepped in. With the help of their friends and sponsors, they offered him a home and a job with their company. Theodore Too was delighted.

Here is a quick video of his stay on at Amelia Island.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld5x11pjkvU

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An update on the Vandenberg

Artificial Reef

Artificial Reef

The 523’ 17,120 ton General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk off the coast of Key West on May 27, 2009 in 140’ of water. In an effort to relieve fishing and diving pressure on the natural reefs more and more mothballed and retired government ships are being transformed into instant artificial reefs. The Vandenberg has proved to be just that. The ship has attracted many fish and sea life in its short period of time on the ocean floor and has become a Mecca for sport divers and spear fishermen alike. With all the good a structure such as the Vandenberg provides for marine life one would question why more of these decommissioned vessels aren’t used for this purpose, the facts below may answer that question.

The final numbers from concept to completion for the Vandenberg project have just been released. Total cost of the project $8.6 million; nearly 4 times greater than the original estimates in 2001. Over 80,000 man hours were spent on the cleanup required before her sinking removing 1 million gallons of oily water, 184 55-gallon drums of paint chips, 46 tons of debris, 180 cubic yards of marine growth, 100 gallons of hydrocarbons, 385,529 pounds of PCB’s, 81 cubic yards of asbestos, 300 pounds of mercury and over 800,000 feet of wiring. The sanitation alone took 85% of the total budget for the Vandenberg and was by far the most time consuming. In addition to the absorbent cost associated with the project, thousands of man hours and all the pollutants that had to be removed, 19 government agencies had to come together in perfect concert to police and permit before the ship could be sunk; a total of 8 years to see it through to completion.

I’m glad to see new life being given to a few of these mighty ships of the past, but like everything else I only wish it didn’t cost so much.

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Sinking of the Spike

spikeYears of planning, talks over coffee and countless telephone calls the retired Coast Guard buoy tender Spike is finally and permanently berthed offshore Jacksonville, Florida. Located about 6 nautical miles offshore at GPS coordinates 30’22.489/ 80’53.692 resting in 65’ of water, she is ready to both dive and fish and promises to be a huge addition to the local fisheries of N. E. Florida.

On Wednesday July 15th 2009 @ 4 AM just as scheduled the Spike was towed to its final berth and anchored in the exact spot chosen by Federal and local agencies. Once properly anchored and secure valves were opened and temporary patches removed to allow sea water to fill the 75 ton vessel.

True to her heritage the Spike didn’t go down without a fight; several times the sinking came to a stand still defying this final event. The Jacksonville Fire Rescue marine division was also on hand and took full advantage of the situation to use their fire pumps as training while adding sea water to the hull. The Spike laden with tons of raw sea water listed hard to Starboard as the hull sunk lower and lower in the water.

A flotilla of 15 boats gathered the witness this historic event and at 11:30 AM she slipped quietly below the surface. Divers the same afternoon made the first trip to the ocean floor to inspect the condition of the Spike and although she went down on her starboard side she righted herself keel down upright facing west. The divers also reported spade fish, sea bass and starfish gathering around the Spike finding it a perfect home as an artificial reef.

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Speed Limit on Intracoastal Waterway

speed-limit-for-boatsThe Nassau County Board of County Commissioners and the Ocean Highway & Port Authority are holding an interesting joint special meeting in Yulee, Florida. On Wednesday, July 15, at 1:00 in the afternoon, these two groups are meeting to discuss a unified strategy to establish a speed limit on the Intracoastal Waterway.

This meeting is open to the public so come on out to the Commission Chambers at the James S. Page Governmental Complex at 96135 Nassau Place in Yulee, Florida.

Many rivers and waterways have posted no wake zones and speed limits established in other parts of Florida. We share the water with endangered species, like the Florida manatee and boating speed limits will make the water safer for all creatures, including humans.

Goffinsville Park Opens Soon in Nassauville

goffinsville-park
Nassau County’s newest public access to the river, Goffinsville Park, is scheduled to open on the 22nd of July. Located off of 107 in Nassauville, this new park is handicap accessible and features restroom facilities, a concession stand, a playground for children and the young at heart, a fishing pier, kayak launch, a nice boat ramp and deep truck and trailer parking spaces. The area is currently closed as they are laying sod and putting the finishing touches on this exciting new waterfront park. The Grand Opening will be held on July 22, 2009, at 10:00 AM at 95001 Goffinsville Road in Nassauville.

google-map

Welcome Kingfish Tournament Anglers

judie-35-pound-kingfishThere are plenty of trucks pulling boat trailers heading to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island for the 27th Annual Tournament of Champions Kingfish Tournament. This is a Southern Kingfish Association sanctioned event and brings some of the most experience anglers to our community for a weekend of great fishing and fabulous prizes. So, far 35 boats have pre-registered, taking advantage of the discounted registration fee, though most of the boats will register on-site, for $400.00, at the Captains Meeting that is held from 5 to 7:00 PM on Thursday night, at the Fernandina Harbor.

I have fished in this exciting tournament quite a few times and it is one of the areas most anticipated fishing tournaments. There will be a handful of vendors on hand as well as a Budweiser booth to keep you cool and refreshed. The fishing begins on Friday morning and you can check out from Fernandina Beach, Mayport or St. Augustine, Florida, but if you have fish to weigh in, you have to get your boat back to Fernandina Beach between 2 and 5:00 PM on Friday, or on Saturday the weigh in is open from 1 to 4:00 PM, with a public fish fry that runs from 4 to 7:30 PM with live entertainment until the awards are handed out at 7:30 on Saturday evening.

kingfish-tournament-prizes
*Prizes based on 200 entries.

Nassau Sport Fishing Association Kingfish Tournament

nsfaJune 17th, 2009 to June 19th, 2009 is the Nassau Sport Fishing Association’s (NSFA) Tournament of Champions in Fernandina Beach, Florida. This is one of the largest events on the Southern Kingfish Association tournament trail, annually attracting the world’s best kingfish anglers to Amelia Island in the northeastern tip of Florida. The three-day event includes a Saturday fish fry, award ceremony and other festivities. To register, or for Tournament information: (904) 607-4224.

The USS Vandenberg Becomes an Artificial Reef for Florida

sinking_the_vandenberg-cropOn May 27, 2009 at 10:21 AM charges were detonated onboard the USS Vandenberg sending her, in one minute and 44 seconds, to the ocean floor off Key West Florida. She is now noted as the second largest ship ever intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef. At 523’ in length she is lying in 140’ of crystal clear Florida Keys water upright and as majestic as ever.

The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg will measure ten stories high in the water column with the keel nestled in at the max depth of 140’. The Vandenberg was best noted as a tracking ship and was very instrumental in following space fights especially the 1960’s pre-lunar landing phases. This new reef site is sure to become a hot spot for recreational divers and sport fisherman alike as the creatures of the sea find it to be a great new place to call home. This site came soon after the May 17th, 2006 sinking of the 911’ aircraft carrier Oriskany some 24 miles off the shores of Pensacola Florida. The Might O, as sailors affectionately referred to her, served her country proudly from 1945-1976, including WWII, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Like the Vandenberg these huge floating post war time machines have a life expectancy and regardless of how much tax payer dollars you throw at them they will all succumb to being mothballed and rendered useless. As an avid diver and fisherman I am elated that opportunities such as artificial reefs are available for these old gals that stood for our country’ freedom and protected us from the evils of the world for so long; instead of being cut to pieces in some third world “bone yard” these mighty ships continue to serve their country on another level.

I have had the chance on several occasions to dive an intentional wreck such as these also located in the Florida Keys. The ships name is the Thunderbolt, a pre WWII experimental floating lightening rod; the boat spent the bulk of her life chasing thunderstorms in an attempt to get struck by lightening for research purposes. She now rest off the city of Marathon in 115’ of water and has rested comfortably there since March 1986. The fish life living on this boat is overwhelming. Every species you can think of in Florida calls the Thunderbolt home including 2 huge resident Jew fish that are well over 1000LB each. Last year my daughter and I made the yearly dive on the ship and were greeted by one of these goliath fish hanging around the wheel house which incidentally has one way in and one way out. Shannon and I were right in the way of the only exit. The fish, which is literally the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, allowed us ample time to remove ourselves from the exit and a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim right next to her for several seconds; a memory neither of us will ever forget.

With our Navy’s fleet aging quickly I am left to wonder what it would take for Amelia Island to secure one of these ships to use as a natural reef off of our shores. A question that has many answers I’m sure peppered with politicians and bureaucracy that could circle the globe twice, but if successful, what a cool thing that does so much good for the marine world we would have.

Calling all Shrimpers and Boaters!

shrimp-fest-logo-2009

Fernandina Beach, FL: Calling All Shrimpers and Boaters! The Committee of the 46th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Presented by Publix, invites you to participate in the Blessing of the Fleet and Best Decorated Boat Contest. Participation is open to all Shrimp Boats, Recreational Motor Boats, Sailboats and Commercial/Charter Boats. Continue reading

Important Safety News for Offshore Cruisers

Here is some safety news for boaters who regularly or occasionally cruise offshore beyond the 20 mile markers. The US Coastguard has announced that as of February 1st, they will no longer monitor the 121 Mhz radio frequency for distress signals.

About nine years ago the international satellite based search and rescue organization COSPAS?SARSAT introduced the new technology 406 Mhz EPIRB’s (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons) as the new standard for Offshore distress signaling, because of their accuracy and efficiency. Offshore cruisers and fishing vessels are advice to either purchase or rent (if only occasionally used) this new equipment.

The cost of purchase runs about $500 per unit and for a weekly rental program ($40), boaters may contact 888-66 EPIRB or check out the website http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb