27Jul

REEF HEALTH

in Scuba  •  0 comments

SCUBA

Hawaii is on most scuba divers’ bucket list.  Dr. Jeff Masters post on the condition of Hawaii’s reefs is definitely worth a read.  A similar story could be told about most of the Earth’s coral reefs.

TROPICS

The weather community has changed their minds and tropical development is again NOT expected off the Carolina coast.  Stay tuned; that could change tomorrow.  For now, the tropical Atlantic basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, remains quiet.

WEATHER

Here is the AccuWeather forecast for the month of August at the Florida Sea Base.  Please keep in mind that weather forecasts are pretty dependable three days out, improving up to five days out and still a little sketchy beyond that.  So please take this longterm forecast with a pinch of salt and don’t shoot the piano player if there are any inaccuracies.

ROAD TRIP

I will be traveling for the next two weeks but will post when I can.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

 

25Jul

RETRACTION?

in Weather  •  0 comments

TROPICS

Maybe more of a correction or update than a retraction, but as of this morning, the National Hurricane Center has changed its mind regarding the potential for tropical storm development somewhere between Florida and the Carolinas.

two_atl_5d0

Yesterday morning the NHC did not feel the system would develop in the next five days.  Today they feel there is a 10% chance of development.  The good news is that even if this does develop, it should not have any significant impact on any of the Florida Sea base locations.

WEATHER

The NWS has also adjusted its forecast for the Florida Sea Base, raising the change of rain today and tomorrow into the 40-50% ranger.  No one likes like during their vacation, but southern Florida and the Keys are in a significant drought and can use a little precipitation.

I’ll post again in about a week or sooner if circumstances warrant.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

TROPICS

Let’s jump right into this.  The tropical Atlantic has been very quiet so far this year, not giving The Weather Channel has not had much to use for drawing in watchers (and therefore ratings).  There is a slim chance of some tropical development next week on the Atlantic or Gulf side of northern Florida.  While heavy rain is likely for central Florida, tropical development is not.

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Even if this system was to develop tropically, the system would likely move towards the northeast and would not pose any significant concern to the Florida Sea Base.

WEATHER

The National Weather Service forecast for the Florida Sea Base remains very typical.  Highs should be in the low 90s (with heat indices in the triple digits), lows in the low 80s and a 20 to 30% chance of precipitation daily.  The marine forecast is for southwest to southeast breezes at 10 to 15 knots.  The buoy at Molasses Reef is reporting ocean water temperatures of 87+ degrees.

PROGRAM

There are about three weeks remaining in the 2015 summer season at the Florida Sea Base.  We are rapidly approaching the time of year when much of the staff will be leaving to return to school and reinforcements will arrive to take the reins.

IDC

With three PADI Course Directors on staff, we will continue to increase the amount of instructor training at the Florida Sea Base.  FSB Scuba Director Joe Angelo, Captain Bert Hubby and I are dedicated to improving the quality of the scuba staff (no small task) by offering more professional level training courses.

The Florida Sea Base is conducting a PADI Instructor Development Course in September.  Currently, we have three IDC candidates plus SEVERAL potential IDC Staff Instructor candidates.  If you are interested in joining the course, send an email to FSBScubaTraining@gmail.com and I will be happy to provide you with full details.  Like the Divemaster Academy, the Florida Sea Base does not charge for the IDC.  However, we do require a one season commitment from you and their are significant fees that must be paid to PADI.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED

 

 

SCUBA

Participants in the Scuba Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard programs must be certified divers prior to arrival at the Florida Sea Base.  Additionally, they must produce evidence of said certification by producing a current scuba certification card FROM A SCUBA TRAINING AGENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE BSA.  Please check the BSA Scuba Policy in the Guide to Safe Scouting online version for the most up to date list of accepted scuba certifications.  These agencies are currently listed in the GSS:

Recognized Agencies 

Recognized agencies are:

  • PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors

  • NAUI: National Association of Underwater Instructors

  • SSI: Scuba Schools International

  • IDEA: International Diving Educators Association

  • PDIC: Professional Diving Instructors Corporation

  • SDI: Scuba Diving International

  • YMCA Scuba Program (discontinued in 2008, but certification cards are still recognized)

  • NASDS: National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (merged with SSI, but certification cards are still recognized)

From time to time, participants check in holding certifications from scuba training agencies that are not recognized by the BSA.  Sadly, on such occasions, the participant cannot be allowed to dive at the Florida Sea Base and should not be allowed to dive as a part of any BSA event.  Please check your divers’ certifications to avoid crushing disappointment at check-in.

If one of your divers holds a certification not accepted by the BSA, they can rectify the problem by taking an advanced or specialty course by any of the accepted agencies.  This new certification will act as a crossover to the approved agency and allow the diver to participate in BSA scuba activities including diving at the Florida Sea Base.

The above begs the question, “Do I have to be a certified diver to accompany an FSB scuba crew as a snorkeler or non-diver?”  The answer is no.  Non-divers can accompany the Scuba Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard crews and can – assuming they pass the BSA swimmer test in a strong manner – accompany the crew on the dive boat and snorkel if they wish or just hang out on the boat for the week.  Likewise, persons can also accompany a Scuba Certification crew even if they do not wish to participate in the certification process.

TROPICS

We had a little activity in the Atlantic this past week.  Invest 92L developed off the Carolina coast and developed into Tropical Storm Claudette.  The system posed not threat to the Florida Sea Base.

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The remainder of the tropical Atlantic remains quiet for now.

WEATHER

The local weather remains very seasonable with lows of 80, highs of 90, 20% chance of showers of brief, scattered showers daily and calm to gentle breezes.  The water temperature is 85°F.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
PADI Course Director #39713

WEATHER

The tropical Atlantic remains very quiet.  In the below graphic from The Weather Channel, you can see a storm ready to roll off the African continent.  These are the types of storms that the Florida Sea Base management start watching this time of year for potential storm development.

map_specnewsdct-11_ltst_4namus_enus_980x551

Click image to enlarge.

The weather at the Florida Sea Base is very typical for this time of year with lows in the lower 80s, highs in the lower 90s and a 20 to 30% chance of rain daily.  The water temperature is 84° and the wind id from the east at 10 to 15 knots.

The heat index will be over 100°F daily and can reach 115.  This can be very dangerous and common sense must prevail.  Staying in the shade or water, drinking a gallon or more of water daily, using sunscreen and reapplying every 60 – 90 minutes and not overexerting are all import.

PROGRAM

All Florida Sea Base adventures are running like a well oiled machine.  The participant critiques are outstanding (per usual) and the captains and seasonal staff are hitting home runs daily.  I miss not being there every day but plan to return about the first of August.  In the meantime, I will post again next week unless circumstances warrant a sooner post.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

01Jul

TIM STANFILL

in Program  •  0 comments

CONGRATULATIONS

Effective 01 July 2015, Tim Stanfill was promoted to Director of Program at the Florida Sea Base.  I may not have this exactly right but, as I recall, Tim was a Florida Sea Base seasonal staff member (Out Island Mate) in the early 2000’s.  He later became a professional Scouter in Idaho where he worked for a few years before returning to the Florida Sea Base as a full time employee.  Tim was promoted to Logistics Team Leader and was responsible for conferences, food services, retail sales and much more at all Florida Sea Base campuses.  Tim frequently held my hand as I bashed my head against the wall during my last three years at Sea Base.  Tim will serve as the Director of Program AND Logistics Team Leader until a new logistics person can be hired this fall.  The Florida Sea Base Program Directors will now report directly to Tim.

WEATHER

The tropics remain very quiet and significant wind shear in the Caribbean is a positive factor in not allowing development there in the immediate future.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

The local forecast is typical for this time of year; small chance of rain daily, highs near 90 lows around 80 and moderate to light breezes.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

WEATHER

All programs at the Florida Sea Base are very weather dependent.  Lately, the weather has been favoring the anglers, snorkelers and scuba divers due to the light winds.  Sailing has been tough but that’s why snorkeling and fishing are included in their adventure.  But relief is in sight; tomorrow through at least Saturday the winds are expected to be 10 to 15 knots.  Fifteen knots is pleasant sailing.

This is today’s forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. East wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Independence Day: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 82. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Monday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

The tropics are VERY quiet.  The area of some minor concern is the Caribbean.  Potential development so close to home is always worrisome as it can greatly reduce reaction time.  There is nothing happening in the Caribbean today.

READER COMMENTS

I received a couple of reader comments since the last post.

Hi Steve,
Glad you made it home OK. Our crew is wrapping up their FSB adventure and will be home tomorrow evening. Have heard little from them other than a couple of pictures on the FSB Facebook page of them small boat sailing. So, no news is good news!

I will second Capt. Scott’s admonition about having a proper tour permit. You may recall we had a group from our troop that came down last year without one, and it WAS a huge hassle. Trips to the local Scout office, faxing, emailing and I think they got held at base for a day at the beginning of their trip.

Glad your family weathered the storm with minimal damage – and Happy (belated) Father’s Day!

Tim Gaffron
Venturing Crew 3084
Maple Grove, MN

Former staff member Rachael Szostek commented:

(Tropical Storm) Bill was a beast! He hit us bad in Athens and we got 3″ of water in our basement in about 20 minutes! Our neighbors had 5″ and they are still pumping it out……glad you all weathered the storm okay!

I will post again next week, sooner if warranted.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

23Jun

SAFE TRIP

in Weather  •  2 comments

TRAVELS

My drive from the Florida Sea Base to Texas was essentially incident free.  Including taking time for a couple of naps in the Suburban, it took just over 24 hours for the first leg of the trip (1,250 miles).  That averages out to about 52 mph including the stop time.  The only negative repercussions was the tailpipe on the 1991 Suburban separated from the rear of the muffler and my feet were pretty swollen by the time I finally got to bed.  (I was sitting or standing for 37 hours.)

My family weathered Tropical Storm Bill with the loss of a couple of shingles.  However, we are only 2″ shy of our average total rainfall for the whole year.  Flood conditions have some roads closed and many bridges will remain closed for inspection well after the flood waters recede.  Others have been much less fortunate.

My dad, wife, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and I spent our first ever Father’s Day together.  My last Father’s Day at home was in 1999.  (FSB Program Directors are not eligible for leave during program season.)

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WEATHER

The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for typical weather conditions for the coming five days.  Essentially, there is a 20-30% chance of precipitation, afternoon highs near 90°F and overnight lows around 80°F.  The water temperature on the reef is 83°F.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.29.26

Click to enlarge image

The tropics are currently quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 230500
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT TUE JUN 23 2015

For the North Atlantic…Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.

$$ Forecaster Brown

FSB TIP OF THE DAY

The Florida Sea Base tip of the day was submitted by FSB Scuba Instructor Captain Scott Patton.

Just a few reminders that might help you when you go to your adventure at Sea Base. Make sure all the boys have an underwater timing device of some sort and their cert cards. Almost any underwater watch will work, but each buddy team must have one at the very least although each diver should have their own to track their time under water. While not required, you may want to consider renting computers from your local dive shop for the week. All divers need to bring their logbooks (a must) and the divemaster(s) will work with you each day to help you log all your dives or log them on your own, but log them. When you travel, all Scouts and leaders should be in class A uniforms (at least the shirts). People treat you differently when they see you all in uniform (from the TSA agents to the flight crews) and it is also required by your tour permit. Don’t forget your tour permit. You will need to get another one if you arrive without it and it is a HUGE hassle for both you and the Sea Base staff if you do not have it.

POSTS

As I have mentioned previously, it is difficult to keep up with the activities at the Florida Sea Base while I’m not physically there.  My plan is to post once a week unless something urgent happens.

Capt. Steve
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED

WEATHER

Tropical Storm Bill (my dad’s name is Bill) is no threat to interests of the Florida Sea Base.  However, it looks like my family homestead in SE Texas and our home in the D/FW area may get clobbered by more rain.

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Dr. Jeff Masters posted this on Monday:

The projected track of 91L [now TS Bill] shifted notably westward in last night’s 0000Z model runs, which suggests a larger part of hard-hit eastern Texas and southeast Oklahoma will end up on the much wetter right-hand side of the system. The atmospheric moisture content over southeast Texas is projected to be near record levels for mid-June. The juxtaposition of a slow-moving tropical system with preexisting soil saturation over this region is very unusual and particularly worrisome. Widespread rainfall of 2” – 5” is expected along 91L’s track (see Figure 3), and localized amounts beyond 10” are quite possible with training echoes, especially if the system slows as much as some models are suggesting it might. A flash flood watch is now in effect for parts of southeast Texas from Monday night through Wednesday afternoon. Tornadoes will also be a concern, including this evening over southeast Texas, as instability will be on the high side due to abundant moisture and very warm air at low levels.

Locally, the wind eased up a bit on Monday.  We are expecting east to southeast winds near 15 knots through Saturday.

PROGRAM

All programs are running without a hitch, except maybe a few upset tummies.  But the divers are reporting good visibility at the dive sites and the sailors are sailing up a storm.  The summer program season is between 1/4 and 1/3 done.  Time flies…..

THANKS

First, I want to thank Chip Kasper, Senior Forecaster – Marine Program Meteorologist, National Weather Service – Key West, for taking the time to give me a personal heads-up regarding Tropical Storm Bill.  It is really cool to have a friend at the NWS. :)

Also, thank you to all of the Florida Sea Base captains, seasonal and full-time staff members that have helped me with Escape over the past three weeks.  I am in your debt.

Finally, thanks to whoever is reading this post.  I will be AFK (away from keyboard) for a few days unless something of major concern arises.  I will head west, back to the Mother Country, early Thursday morning.  (I try to be on the highway by 3 or 4 am to beat the Miami/Fort Lauderdale rush hour.)

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Abord S/V Escape

15Jun

INVEST 91L

in Weather  •  0 comments

WEATHER

Yesterday I posted that Invest 91L would not impact the Florida Sea Base.  That is mostly true, we will not receive a direct hit from the system, but it did affect our weather yesterday as you can see in the infrared image.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 8.31.27

Click image to Enlarge

I failed to look at the above image before posting yesterday.  It appears that the wind and moisture we are experiencing may be related to Invest 91L.  I think it’s also interesting that the infrared satellite image of Invest 91L dominates the imagery from Hurricane Carlos (which fell below hurricane status yesterday but is expected to regroup today).

Invest 91L has a medium chance of development and will impact Texas but have little to no impact on Florida.

two_atl_5d0

A tropical wave has emerged off the Atlantic coast of Africa but will likely encounter significant Saharan dust and not become a factor in our local weather.

Locally, the chance of rain for the Florida Sea Base is decreasing this week.  Highs will be close to 90 and lows around 80.  The wind should ease up a little after today.

PROGRAM

The crews have been making the best of the weather.  The divers are having luck finding sites with visibility and the sailors are definitely getting sail time.  High Adventure is always about attitude and this attitude starts with the staff, then the adult leaders and then the Scouts.  We have all had fun in the rain, in the heat and in the cold.  Attitude is the key!

FSB TIP OF THE DAY

Please try very hard to arrive at the Florida Sea Base as close to 1 pm as possible.  We understand that your travel day is a long, exhausting day.  Arriving late forces everything related to check-in to be rushed.  This is hard on everyone and not the happiest way to start your adventure.

DEPARTURE

Surprise, surprise – I am behind schedule.  My plan was to be back in Texas by now.  Tomorrow is the third anniversary of my mom’s death.  I hoped to be home with my dad.  But I will be there for Father’s Day and the next weekend is our family reunion.  I will be on the road early Thursday and won’t be able to post for a few days.  But I am getting ahead a bit.  I expect to post at least a couple more times before hitting the road.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape (for z few more nights)