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Museum Acquires New Cuban Raft for Exhibit
Any day is a good day when your boss suddenly says, "Get ready, we're going to the beach!" We went to the beach to examine the latest Cuban refugee raft to wash ashore on the local coastline. Knowing that we collect and exhibit these rafts, Volusia County Beach Safety telephoned the museum early on September 7, 2016 to let us know about this raft that had washed ashore not far from the Lighthouse.

Following the Beach Safety officer's directions, we soon made our way to the beach at Wilbur-by-the-Sea.

We discovered a Cuban refugee raft in the style of a catamaran with two equal-sized 'hulls' held together with metal framing which was covered by a net that had several small items attached to it including two plastic bottles, a rubber hose, and a rain slicker. No motor or sails were found with the raft. It appears that the raft had been adrift for some time, and it is possible that a motor or sails were lost during this time.

The raft had washed ashore empty, and similarly to the last Cuban raft we collected, the US Coast Guard's "OK" is on it. In this case, the orange "OK" had been spray painted several times on both sides of the raft by the Coast Guard when they first encountered it. We assume that the raft drifted north in the Gulf Stream for some time, until it was washed ashore by local currents.

Once the raft was delivered to us, we soon placed it on display with the other Cuban rafts on exhibit here on the grounds of the Light Station. Five rafts are now on display, ranging in date from the late 1980s to this most recent addition.

Thank you to Volusia County Beach Safety for making this latest Cuban raft acquisition possible! We really appreciate their time and effort in assisting us to collect and preserve this piece of local and international history. We hope everyone will soon have a chance to visit the Light Station to learn more about this raft and all of the rafts on exhibit. See you soon!



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