Sailing Anna Maria Island And Tampa Bay

Sailing out of Anna Maria Island waterfront properties could not be easier. Anything north of Manatee Ave Highway 64 has direct access to Tampa Bay without passing under a bridge. The channel between Anna Maria City and Key Royale, Holmes Beach, is maintained to allow access by large yachts to Galati marina, and the sheltered canals and most boat slips lining Bimini Bay offer depths of at least six feet.

Once out into Tampa Bay, a large body of water is accessible to all keelboats, with only a few shallow spots or dredge spoil banks to beware. To the east, under the Skyway Bridge, the bay stretches up to Saint Petersburg and Tampa. To the west, leaving Tampa Bay for the Gulf of Mexico is right around the corner of Bean Point, or via the deep shipping channel north of Egmont Key.

The Intracoastal Waterway tracks south inside the barrier islands, but can be too narrow to maintain sailing angles, and is interrupted by several scheduled bridge openings. To the north the ICW continues at Pass-A-Grille.

Down the coast, the next large sailing area is Charlotte Harbor, then Florida Keys.

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2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

The 2014 hurricane season has arrived and the extended range summer analysis forecasts below-average activity and landfall strike possibility.

“We continue to foresee a below-average 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. The tropical Atlantic remains slightly cooler than normal, while El Niño is in the process of developing. However, the transition to El Niño has slowed some in recent weeks, and the tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed, causing us to increase our forecast slightly. We are still calling for a below-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.”

Drs Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, Colorado State University, June 2, 2014

Atlantic Hurricane Season  June 2014 forecast Average
Named storms (>35mph winds)  10
12
Hurricanes (>72mph winds)   4  6.5
Major hurricanes (>111mph winds)   1   2
US landfall likelihood 40% 52%
Gulf Coast landfall probability 23% 30%
Manatee County hurricane landfall probability 0.5% 0.7%
Manatee County tropical storm probability 12.3% 17.1%
Manatee County >75mph wind gusts probability 3.5% 5.0%

Information obtained through May 2014 indicates that the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity than the median 1981-2010 season. The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 80 percent of the long-period average. An anticipated below-average Atlantic basin hurricane season is due to the likelihood of El Niño development along with a slighter cooler than normal tropical Atlantic.

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Robinson Preserve Bike Rides

Holmes Beach to Robinson's Preserve area map

Holmes Beach to Robinson’s Preserve area map

Robinson Preserve has become a popular site for Anna Maria Island and Bradenton residents, along with island and area visitors. The multi-use trails and waterways are a great escape from the congestion and traffic of the beaches and shops.

One way to enjoy the preserve is to bike around the designated trails and take a few side spurs to the less-frequented views and outlooks. The main path is paved and smooth for walking and cycling, and are busier on weekends, but the unpaved paths are more interesting and quieter.

Starting from Holmes Beach, heading along Manatee Ave to the south entrance, and taking most of the available trails in the preserve, I measured a 15-mile  round trip. There are several ways to shorten or lengthen ride choices depending on your start point, and by repeating circuits or side spurs.

Foot and bike path on the Anna Maria Island Bridge

Foot and bike path on the Anna Maria Island Bridge

Robinson Preserve south entrance on Manatee Ave, Hwy 64.

Robinson Preserve south entrance on Manatee Ave, Hwy 64.

Robinson Preserve Bike Trails

Robinson Preserve Bike Trails

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Mining Anna Maria Island Sand

Offshore dredge pumps sand onshore

Offshore dredge pumps sand onshore

Large machinery, tugs, and pipelines, floating off the beaches of Anna Maria Island, provide eery sights, with powerful engines and pumps sending sand from the sea bottom to the shoreline while dredging operations continue over several weeks.

Federal, State, and County taxpayers are providing Great Lakes Dredge and Dock $13 million  to move sand from offshore to onshore in order to widen the beach, beginning at 79th Street, Holmes Beach, and moving south 4.7 miles to 38th Street, Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Beach is not included in this project because the coastal properties are considered adequately protected from erosion.

An additional subsequent contract of $3 million extends the beach widening further south along Coquina Beach Park.

The Holmes Beach – Bradenton Beach contract began December 20th and scheduled for completion within 60 days, by February 18th. The Coquina Beach Park work continues through end of April.

The sand mining halted on a number of occasions when high winds endangered pipelines and equipment. While the large dredge scours out the sand offshore, the pipeline outlet onshore gushes the slurry for bulldozers and excavators to spread out along the shoreline. Up to 1000 feet of beachfront accretion per day is possible before equipment is repositioned to the next section.

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2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Review

2013 Atlantic Storm Tracks

2013 Atlantic Storm Tracks

Summary:

  • The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active season so far this century, and
    the quietest on record since 1950.
  • No effects on Anna Maria Island.
  • 1 storm made US landfall in NW Florida (T.S. Andrea).
  • 2 hurricanes barely reached Cat 1 (Humberto, Ingrid).
  • Season’s latest recorded hurricane since 1960 (Humberto, September 11th).
  • Fewest hurricanes per named storms in historical records.
  • No “major hurricanes” (Cat 3 or higher).
  • Lowest Accumulated Cyclone Energy since 1983.
Atlantic Hurricane Season  June 2013 forecast  2013 Actual
Named storms (>35mph)  18  13
Hurricanes (>72mph)  8  2
Major hurricanes (>111mph)  3  0
US landfall likelihood  72%  7%
Gulf Coast landfall  47%  7%

The Named Storms

Andrea – Tropical Storm,  June 5-7, 55kn wind, landfall ‘Big Bend’ of Florida.

Barry – Tropical Storm,  June 17-19, 40kn wind, landfall Belize; then Veracruz, Mexico.

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