Regina Wreck Sugar Barge – Anna Maria Island

The Regina Wreck is a great spot for those looking to snorkel or scuba dive around Anna Maria Island. While close to shore, this sunken ship is easy to access and great for any skill level.

Regina Wreck State Underwater Archaeological Preserve

The Regina Wreck became part of the national register of historical places in 2005. Also know as the sugar barge or molasses barge, the Regina is a great Anna Maria Island attraction. You’ll find the wreck about 75 yards off shore in no more than 20 feet of water. This site is great for snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving. You can charter a dive with Sea Kat Divers in Bradenton Beach.

Once in the water you’ll find a variety of tropical fish, conchs, sea urchins, sand dollars and native marine life. Because this is a State Preserve; collection, excavation or disturbance of the site is illegal. Those diving with a Florida Fishing license may collect up to two species of live shells. However, restrictions apply to some native species all together. Manatee County has more rigid shell collection regulations than other parts of Florida. Please read the link here for additional information.

The Regina sunk in 1940. The wreck has been beaten with tides, sand and storms over the years. Therefore, you may not see it until right over top depending on visibility. Today,  a great deal of sand covers the Regina. You will only see parts of the over 200 foot long ship remains.

Regina Wreck Sugar Barge
Sugar Barge remains map.

How the Regina Sunk

The Regina was built in 1904 for the Cuban Molasses Transportation Company based out of Havana. On March 5th in 1940 She left Havana bound for New Orleans under the tow from the tugboat Minima. The Regina carried 350,000 gallons of molasses. Two days into it’s trip, a cold front swept through the Gulf of Mexico bringing 8-12 foot waves. The boats were pushed closer and closer to shore despite effort to correct course. Looking for shelter, the Minima headed for Tampa Bay.

Near Egmont Key, north of Anna Maria Island, the Minima’s tow lines broke. This left the Molasses caring ship to drift helplessly down the gulf coast toward Anna Maria Island. Eventually the Regina hit a sandbar off Bradenton Beach where it became stranded in the storm. The ship began to break apart as rough winds and waves smashed into it.

The Rescue begins

On March 8th a Bradenton Beach local spotted the stranded ship, and notified the St. Petersburg Coast Guard. The ship was about 200 yards off shore, but the eight crew members couldn’t abandon ship due to the high waves. The crew huddled in the flooded broken ship. Locals built fires on the beach in an effort to let the crew know help was on the way. Coast Guard rescue craft, the Nemesis, tried unsuccessfully to rescue the crew. Next, a line throwing gun was transferred to the Nemesis. Several attempts were made, but the line fell short. At day break a sea plane dropped life jackets to the crew, but they only washed ashore.

Spectators gathered on the beach. One of the crew members and his dog jumped off the boat while a man from the mainland swam toward him with a lifeline. Unfortunately this crew mate never made it to shore.

A yachting dingy made it to the ship with life preservers, and was able to take one member from the ship. The dingy capsized close to shore, and locals made a human chain to assist the two back to safety. Locals increased efforts with the dingy to finish the rescue.

Read more about the rescue of the Regina Crew here.

With an interesting history, the Sugar Barge is a unique Anna Maria Island experience. If you are looking for a great place to see fish and history, this underwater preserve is a must.

 

Anna Maria Island Beach Activities

Hey friends! Tami Turtle here! Anna Maria Island is full of fun things to do, but all of my favorite activities take place on the beach and in the water! What’s my favorite thing to do? Go for a swim of course! But there’s also surfing, paddle boarding, sun tanning, building sand castles, playing frisbee, snorkeling, playing volleyball, having a picnic and so much more! What is your favorite activity on the beach? Shells and kisses, Tami TurtleTami beach activity

Stay Fit While Visiting Anna Maria Island!

Vibrant Produce

Why throw away your fitness goals and healthy eating while on vacation? Here on Anna Maria Island it is far less difficult than you may think to keep that healthy lifestyle while enjoying the beaches and the sunsets.

During your stay, visit the Island Fresh Market, located at 5604 Marina Drive. Here, you will find fresh, local produce, fresh fish, and even healthy prepared meals. You can continue your clean eating habits by shopping for the freshest ingredients at this locally owned market. You can spice up your meals by visiting the Olive Oil Outpost, at 401 Pine Avenue, where you will find fresh sauces and oils as well as new recipe ideas!

During your stay on fabulous Anna Maria Island, stay active by riding a bike to the beach rather than driving. You can rent a comfy beach cruiser bike from Beach Bums on Pine Avenue, or from Fun & More.  There are even more great ways to stay active while here on the Island; Stand up paddle boarding is a physical activity, yet is quite relaxing at the same time. It requires balance and tones your muscles while you take in the sites and enjoy the local marine habitat – you may even spot a few manatees or dolphins while on the water! You can paddle board on the beautiful gulf of Mexico with AMI Paddle Boarding, or paddle through the serene mangrove tunnels in Robinson Preserve (highly recommended for beginners) with the  Surfer Bus.

If you prefer to stay active while indoors, Yoga could be perfect for you! A fantastic post to visit is our top ten fitness things to do on Anna Maria Island written by a vacation rental specialist at Island Real Estate.

Stay fit, maintain your clean diet, and you can afford to splurge on a few island treats. Perhaps a morning bite at the Donut Experiment on Pine Avenue, or an ice cream cone at Dips on Gulf Drive. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of the small treats – just enjoy them in correct portions and with moderation.

 

G.T. Bray Public Pool and Splash Park minutes from Anna Maria

G.T. Bray Recreation Center is a fantastic place to cool off anytime of the year if you are staying on Anna Maria Island or in Western Bradenton, Fl.  The G.T. Bray Public pool and splash park is large with plenty of facilities for the fitness enthusiast.  GT Bray is just 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach.  Drive along State Route 64, Manatee Avenue.  See the link below for a map.

G.T. Bray Recreation Center –
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl 34209
(941) 742-5923

Splash Park
Outdoor Splash Park – GT Bray

SWIMMING – AQUATIC PARK
G.T. Bray has a 50 (6) lane Meter Pool, 18 X 18 yard dive pool equipped with a 1 and 3 meter diving board, 12 foot three flume water slide, a 2 foot wading-kiddie pool and a 4,000 square foot Splash water park.  So there is tons of water activities to do for the entire family.  Summer hours are extended as compared to other seasons and the Summer is considered Mid-June to Mid August.  The Pool park is open Monday through Saturday from around 11 AM to 5 PM.  Access to the recreation facility is not free but inexpensive.  As of Summer 2012 the fee ranges from $4.00 to $6.00 depending on age for a daily pass.  The pass provides access to all their facilities for the day.  Gymnasium, fitness center, teen/game room, racquetball and hard tennis courts.  GT Bray offers monthly rates and normally in the Summer offers a quarterly reduce rate.  The rate ranges from $35 to $80 for a month.  Here are some frequently asked questions that hopefully help with your potential visit to the aquatic center.  By the way, planning a party between April and September?  You can rent part of the GT Bray aquatic center on weekends!

G. T. Bray Park is a large park in Bradenton, Fl

GT Bray Park
GT Bray Park

G.T. Bray Park located in Bradenton, Fl has something for everyone.  You can walk tree rimmed paths, swing on the swing in one of the three playgrounds, swim and play in the water fountains or take your dog to the very safe enclosed dog park.

If you are looking to have a larger event while visiting Bradenton or Anna Maria Island then G.T. Bray Park could be your perfect ticket.  The Bradenton park has seven pavilions (Picnic Shelters.)  Of course sizes vary.  If you refer to the map below the numbers here correlate to those on the GT Bray park map.  (1)Cedar Hammock (2) Oak Knoll (3) Hickory Hollow (4) Meadow View (5) Woodland Grove (6) Whispering Pine (7) Bright Outlook – located adjacent to the Activity Center.  For information on availability of the picnic pavilions call (941) 742-5974.

The dog park is called happy tails and is a perfect treat for pet visitors to Anna Maria Island.  Happy Tails Canine Park is a fenced in, 3-acre off leash dog park located at the North East corner of G.T. Bray Bradenton park.  Happy Tails is just off 51st Street West. Amenities at the dog park includes one drinking fountain and free waste bags and a enclosed separate area exclusively for small, fragile, or elderly dogs.

GT Bray Dog Park
GT Bray Dog Park

This Bradenton park is a great place to relax or play soccer, softball or football in one of their many open fields.  Tennis and racquetball  courts are available year round.  There is a weight room available for a fee.  Skate and hockey court is also just one of the great amenities the Bradenton park has to offer.  The skate park is located at G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl, 34209.

Depending on the time of year you are visiting the beaches of Anna Maria Island, you can find many family friendly events for children all  year long.  The Christmas party is a must see, Santa Claus flies in on a helicopter with Batman to give the children their opportunity to tell him what they want for Christmas and have their photos taken.  The holiday celebration is perfect for families of all ages, face painting, bounce houses, games, crafts, etc.  Easter is when they have the largest Easter egg hunt I have ever seen!  The G.T. Park staff fill and lay out thousands of eggs.  Imagine three baseball outfields covered in plastic Easter

Covered pavilion and Playground
Covered pavilion and Playground

eggs!  These are just a few holiday events that the G.T. Bray park has to offer.

G.T. Bray Park
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West
Bradenton, Florida
(941) 742-5923

G.T. Bray Park Map
G.T. Bray Park Map
G.T. Park Bray Christmas
G.T. Park Bray Christmas