Take Brac into consideration

It is quite correct to observe that the Brac lacks a harbour, particularly one on the north side that is accessible in the winter (peak tourism seasons).

The technical team should review the docking history of the weekly supply barge (and supply ship before that) to verify what I say.

Similarly, I trust that the team is also smart enough to realize that in order to shelter behind a breakwater, the smaller cruise ship must be shorter than said breakwater.

Is the Brac really ready to build an 800-foot breakwater, considering how this will affect the island’s longitudinal currents?

One can already see how much stuff has built up in the lee of the small breakwaters, such as at the ramp in Stake Bay (Radar Reef).

It is also clear that the Scott Pier’s expansion is into the vicinity of the protected Marine Park, which I find puzzling; is this action legal?

After all, dropped gravel has already destroyed part of one shallow reef in the area, and this pier-building has already effectively eliminated access to the Kissammee wreck dive site.

It seems absurd that Mr. Clifford and Mr. Tibbets would be trying to promote diving on the Brac for cruise visitors while simultaneously permitting actions that are destroying already developed dive sites (and in particular, one of only three permanently moored wreck sites).

But a concrete breakwater has already been planned and poured, so regardless of what the technical team’s findings actually are, the business decision has already been made to proceed regardless of their recommendations: it is already a done deal.

In terms of its business wisdom, we should recall that cruise ships came to the Brac in 1997-1998.

Perhaps the technical team will know enough to ask about the rescue of cruise ship passengers being lightered when the boat failed to navigate the inlet into Dick Sessenger’s Bay; an accident partially attributable to typical winter weather conditions.

Personally, I do not mind if small cruise ships come into the Brac; I think it would be beneficial.

However, I do have a disagreement in terminology for what the word small means. Regardless of what Princess and other lines claim, the small ship class today are vessels such as the Spirit of Nantucket (102 guests; 207ft OAL), which is currently being run by an upscale company whose passengers are more interested in where they go (and more affluent too). A ship that carries 800 passengers is hardly small, and would most likely be an old ship that can no longer compete with the new megaliners.

Even though its only 800 passengers by the megaliner standards, they still exceed the entire adult population of the Brac, which can hardly be considered a benign, minimal impact on the island.

I would hope that the regulations can set a firm limit now, of a maximum of 200 guests and 100m OAL, for anything larger would simply be too big for the Brac and would cause more harm than any possible good in several ways.

H. Huntz

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