Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

WELCOME ABOARD!

I have been inexcusably remiss in welcoming MATTHEW REINECK to the professional staff at the Florida Sea Base.  Last year, former Director of Programs Robert Kolb as promoted to the National Office.  Tim Stanfill was then promoted from Team Leader – Logistics Support to fill Rob’s spot.  Sometime near the first of the year Matt was selected to fill the Team Leader position.

So what does the Team Leader – Logistics Support do?  (First, what a mouthful of a title!) Essentially, Matt is responsible for everything except program and facilities.  What’s left you ask?  Retail sales at our two retail outlets, internet sales, conference reservations and management and all things food.  It’s good they found a young guy for the job.  Whew!

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Welcome aboard, Matt!!!

ESCAPE IS BACK

After spending (many) thousands of dollars in the boat yard, Escape is back in her slip at the Florida Sea Base.  There are still several things to do, but soon, Escape will have made the conversion from floating-condo-at-the-dock back to being a sailboat.  If all goes well, she will sail in the Coral Reef Sailing program this summer and maybe, just maybe, I’ll earn back what I spent on her.

DSCF1079

Click image to enlarge.

STAFF

With the surge in springtime crews, Scuba Instructors Dale Davis and Paul Mangone have both reported for a few weeks of duty at the Florida Sea Base.

PROGRAM

Overall, conditions have been exceptional this past week for scuba diving and snorkeling.

IMG_1491

However, 72°F water temperature is a little chilly for me!

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape

STAFF

I failed to mention that long-time Florida Sea Base staffer, Scuba Instructor Captain Scott Patton has been here since the first of August and Scuba Instructor (recently retired) Dale Davis is also here reinforcing the end of season scuba staff.  Captain Scott and Dale also helped out in the spring.  It really helps when your wife is onboard with the mission your are accomplishing.

WEATHER

We received a much needed rain Sunday morning (about 1.5″ according to FSB Facilities Director Captain Keith Douglass).  It brought a little relief from the heat (for a little while) but when the rain stopped, the clouds parted, the heat beat down, the humidity shot off the chart and it was HOT.  We expect these brief rain showers for the next several days.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

DIVEMASTER-ACADEMY

It is time to get it in gear if you are interested in attending the 2015 Divemaster Academy.  You can find more information on the Scuba Training page of this blog or email FSBScubaTraining@gmail.com.  You can also look through past posts for an insight into the DMA.

DMA STAFF

Some of the perennial members of the Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy cadre have grown up and taken real jobs.  (Not me!!!)  Currently we are in need of two PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors (or higher), one USCG Master (who in a perfect world would also be a PADI OWSI or higher) and a Dive Boat Mate who is a PADI Divemaster or higher.  Specific dates can be found in the DMA flyer on the ScubaTraining page of this blog.  If you are interested in joining our DMA cadre, please email me at FSBScubaTraining@gmail.com.

The current cadre consists of me (course coordinator and instructor), Rich Goldman (who will have completed his PADI Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor rating) and Taron Soto (who will likewise be IDCSI rated by then).

We look forward to producing another class of PADI certified Divemasters to lead next year’s scuba participants at the Florida Sea Base.

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

09Aug

REINFORCEMENTS

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STAFF

As mentioned in my last post, many of the Florida Sea Base staff members will be departing for college soon.  This means that reinforcements are wanted, needed and appreciated for the last week or two of the season.  I mentioned that Scuba Instructor “Mustang” Potter is here.  So too is Scuba Instructor Paul Mangone.  (And there may be others that I have yet to cross paths with.)

And YOU could be here too.  ALL departments could use a boost.  You can call the Director of Program, Tim Stanfill, if you are interested in a job but aren’t sure where your talents are most needed.  Tim’s direct line is 305-664-5614.

When I say, “YOU could be here too”, I realize not everyone can be here; take perennial reinforcement Captain/Scuba Instructor Kari Dahlquist for example.  She has completed her degree at SUNY Maritime College and is now pursuing all requirements to become an Admiral.

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That’s Captain “Wanna Be Admiral” Kari Dahlquist on the far right during lifeboat drop drills.  You go, Girl!!!

The REST of you could be at Sea Base.  “The weather is here.  Wish you were beautiful”.  The water is warm and clear so come on down – and hurry!

TROPICS

Don’t tell anyone, but while the Pacific is getting hammered by tropical weather, we are flying under the radar on the Atlantic side.  Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t over ’til it’s over and it only takes one to have a catastrophic season.  We are looking great for now and, if it is God’s will, may finish the summer without a significant wind event.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 8.08.59

WEATHER

The Florida Sea Base has a 20% 24 hours a day for the next several days according to the National Weather Service.  The cloud cover will bring slightly cooler temperatures.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

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

STAFF

Training for the 2015 summer captains and staff is underway at the Florida Sea Base.  One round of captain’s training has been completed and a second session will be held soon for the later arrivals.  Staff training starts today.

Cory Lancaster and Cody Stepp are both former graduates of the Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy and have been taking the PADI Instructor Development Course over the past week.  They are in Key Largo today to complete the final day of the PADI Instructor Exam.

PROGRAM

Participants begin arriving later this week.  By next Wednesday (27 May) all adventures will be at capacity.  I plan to arrive at the Florida Sea Base later this week to work on Escape and maybe help out a bit with program as needed.

WEATHER

There is a 20% chance of rain all week.  However, the forecast is generally calling for sunny to partly cloudy conditions with highs around 88°F and lows around 79.  The water temperature is holding between 81 and 82 at Molasses Reef so leave the wetsuits at home.

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

10Apr

ANGELS

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STAFF

Angels, answered prayers or whatever you prefer to call it, I was very blessed yesterday thanks to some of the staff members of the Florida Sea Base.  Allow me to expound.

I arrived at the Florida Sea Base two weeks and one day ago to work on Escape and MAYBE get her ready to run in the 2015 summer Coral Reef Sailing program.  I had three major projects I hoped to accomplish during this trip.  1 – Replace the fuel/water separator and some of the fuels lines.  2 – Replace the chain plates.  3 – Rebuild the steering ram.

I was able to complete #1.  It was painful and took a day and a half but it was completed.

Captain Jon Strydom of S/V Foreign Affair rebuilt and reinstalled the ram so that completed #3, sort of.  While refilling and bleeding the ram and hydraulic steering system, a hydraulic line failed.  So item 3 was completed but a new, related project, replacing the hydraulic lines from the rudder to the helm, became item 3b.

As of yesterday morning, I had not completed #2 or #3b.  I had prayed about my situation and it was beginning to look as though that was not God’s plan for me at this time.  Then everything changed yesterday afternoon.  Captain Spencer Johnson of S/V Endeavour came to Escape and (without going into too much detail) offered to help (actually doing almost everything) with replacing the chain plates.  We solicited Sailing Commissioner Captain Charles Kantlehner to assist.   A couple of hours passed and four chain plates had been removed as templates for the making of replacements.  Captain Chris Jennet of S/V Stormalong fame, will take to old plates up to the New Port Richie area tonight to have new plates made.  (The price is a fraction of what they cost to have made in the Keys.)  In about 2 weeks, Captain Spencer and Captain Charles will install the new plates while I’m away.  So that will complete item #2.

In the middle of the chain plate frenzy, Captain Hans Bockelman of S/V Adventure came aboard.  He and Captain Charles are going to replace my hydraulic steering lines week after next.  That will complete item 3b.

Then, quite unexpectedly, Scuba Instructor Rich Goldman invited me to dinner.  And I dare not fail to mention Captain Dennis Wyatt who stopped by to offer assistance during the chain plate removal.

So my prayers were answered by a swarm of angels.  These individuals, and 99.99999% of the staff and captains at the Florida Sea Base are the type of people who are always quick to help.  THANK YOU, GENTLEMEN!  I have a LOT to pay forward.

That would be a nice ending BUT – – –

I was taught the lesson of taking the bitter with the sweet a LONG time ago.  When I returned from dinner, the salon air conditioner was off.  I spent some time putting away tools, making the bed (I did laundry yesterday) and filling the water tank.  Then I investigated the A/C issue and found the sea water circulation pump had failed.  I have a used spare on board so I will swap out pumps this morning and hope the old one works.  West Marine’s listed price for a new pump is $324.  Hope for the best! 😀

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

26Mar

VISIT

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STAFF

This post may be a total waste of time.  It has been nearly two weeks since I posted anything and I’m sure the sporadic postings are having a negative effect on readership.  I arrived at the Florida Sea Base just before lunch time Thursday.  It was a long drive made worse by the failure of the air conditioning unit on my 1991 Chevrolet Suburban that only has 38,000 miles on it.  Within a couple of minutes of my arrival, Assistant Ranger Mike Stolar happened by in the parking lot, followed by Assistant Ranger Rick Kuras, Jr, Sailing Program Director Captain Luke Knuttel, Galley Manager Charles Wozny, Retail Sales Manager Cheryl Kuras, and Galley Mate Tyler Richards.  I moved one load of belongings from the Suburban to Escape and then had lunch on base where I saw many of the seasonal staff that were on base plus Logistics Team Leader Tim Stanfill, Food Services Administrator Captain Rae Murphy and Scuba Program Director Joe Angelo.

During lunch, Captain Luke and Joe were dealing with an issue.  (How I remember those days; it seems like meal times are frequently present challenges for the program directors.)  One of the scuba instructors on a Scuba Liveaboard boat was having back problems.  Scuba Instructor Taron Soto was just getting back to the dock from some staff scuba certification dives and volunteered to replace the fallen staff member.  Captain Luke and Joe were making arrangements to meet the SL boat at sea and make the swap.

After lunch I visited with Program Office Manager Ellen Wyatt for a few minutes and then I went to Escape for a nap.  (I had been up for over 33 hours at that point.)

These coming two weeks are the busiest of the Florida Sea Base spring season.  Scuba Instructor Rich Goldman arrived a little before dinner to augment the scuba staff for these two weeks.  If you read this blog on occasion you will certainly recognize Rich’s name from helping with our annual Divemaster Academy and any time we are short staffed.  He is a Scout’s Scout.  Anyway, Mr. Goldman and I had dinner together at Habanos so we could catch up.

After dinner I crossed paths with Scuba Instructor/Captain Brenda Mallory and Scuba Commissioner Tyler Giblin.  Captain Brenda has been keeping an eye on Escape for me during my long absence.

WEATHER

Bear in mind that I have not been on a boat since November.  The wind was very robust Thursday and I woke from my nap feeling like a seasick zombie.  The weather is going to get worse before it gets better.  From the National Weather Service:

SEAS ARE GIVEN AS SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT…WHICH IS THE AVERAGE
HEIGHT OF THE HIGHEST 1/3 OF THE WAVES. INDIVIDUAL WAVES MAY BE
MORE THAN TWICE THE SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT.

GMZ042>044-270230-
HAWK CHANNEL FROM OCEAN REEF TO CRAIG KEY OUT TO THE REEF-
HAWK CHANNEL FROM CRAIG KEY TO WEST END OF SEVEN MILE BRIDGE OUT
TO THE REEF-
HAWK CHANNEL FROM WEST END OF SEVEN MILE BRIDGE TO HALFMOON SHOAL
OUT TO THE REEF-
453 PM EDT THU MAR 26 2015

TONIGHT
SOUTHEAST TO SOUTH WINDS NEAR 15 KNOTS AND GUSTY
EARLY…BECOMING SOUTH AND DECREASING TO 10 TO 15 KNOTS. SEAS 1 TO 3
FEET…SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS A MODERATE CHOP TO
CHOPPY…BECOMING A LIGHT TO MODERATE CHOP. SCATTERED SHOWERS AFTER
MIDNIGHT.

FRIDAY
SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS…BECOMING WEST AND
INCREASING TO 15 TO 20 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 1 TO 2
FEET…BUILDING TO 2 TO 3 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS A LIGHT TO MODERATE
CHOP…BECOMING CHOPPY. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS
IN THE MORNING. WINDS AND SEAS HIGHER IN AND NEAR NUMEROUS SHOWERS
AND SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON.

FRIDAY NIGHT
WEST TO NORTHWEST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS…SHIFTING TO
NORTH AND INCREASING TO 20 TO 25 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. NEARSHORE
WATERS BECOMING VERY ROUGH. SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…THEN
ISOLATED SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SATURDAY
NORTH WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS EARLY…DECREASING TO 15 TO
20 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET…SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 3
FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS VERY ROUGH…BECOMING CHOPPY.

SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY
NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 20
KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS CHOPPY.

SUNDAY NIGHT
NORTHEAST TO EAST WINDS NEAR 15 KNOTS. SEAS 1 TO 3
FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS A MODERATE CHOP.

MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT
EAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS. SEAS 1 TO
2 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS A LIGHT TO MODERATE CHOP.

$$

If the forecast holds, Friday and Saturday are going to be “high adventure”.  Ten knots or less is great for the divers.  Ten to fifteen is doable for the divers and great for the sailors.  Twenty to 25 is not so great for anyone.  However, the staff and captains at the Florida Sea Base will do everything possible to deliver the magic regardless of the weather.

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

Florida Sea Base​ Coral Reef Captain Tim Mahoney lost his battle with lung cancer overnight.  I was honored to have his lovely bride, Susan Mahoney, serve as the Program Office Manager for two summers.  I was always impressed with Captain Tim’s quiet, yet very noticeable, presence.  If you sailed with Captain Tim aboard S/V Flamingo I know you had an experience of a lifetime.

Captain Ed Marill, S/V Siesta, was a childhood friend of Captain Tim and posted the following on Facebook this morning.

Sad news. My good friend Tim Mahoney passed away this morning.

This is the message I just sent to the Boy Scout of America’s sailing staff in Islamorada:

Tim Mahoney had been very ill with lung cancer at his home in Port Charlotte for the last few months. He leaves behind his wife Susan, a daughter Emma, and a son Flynn.

I became friends with Tim when he was my classmate in Cuba, starting in third grade at Ruston Academy, in Havana. We have stayed in touch over many years, and we sailed together aboard SIESTA in San Francisco Bay.

After he lived in Cuba, he and his parents lived in Argentina, among other places. Tim has had a love affair with sailboats since very young. He built several sailboats himself, and owned other very fast racing sailboats in the Bay Area.

When Tim and his wife, Susan, retired and sold their very successful wood flooring business in the Bay Area, they commissioned the building of a beautiful luxury 46′ catamaran in South Africa. They sailed their brand-new boat across the south Atlantic to South Florida. After a successful boat show in Miami, where they sold a sistership, they sailed over to Marathon, and spent a couple of months at our dock with us. We had a wonderful time together. We had some unforgettable sails aboard their cat.

They learned about my work with Seabase, and expressed interest. Rich came down to meet them and see their catamaran boat, FLAMINGO, at our dock. Tim and Susan decided to pursue the SeaBase opportunity.

Subsequently, they sold their catamaran in exchange for some cash plus a beautiful waterfront house in Port Charlotte, purchased their Whitby 42′, and both joined Florida Seabase three years ago.

His boat, FLAMINGO, was sold just a few weeks ago.

Tim was a man of few words, strong but a bit shy. And as a friend, second to none. I will miss him.

Below is the sad text message I received from Susan this morning:

Tim died early this morning very peacefully. I was with him. Hospice was beyond wonderful! I had them dress him in his FSB shorts and shirt. They have taken him to be cremated. We don’t have plans for a service/memorial yet. It will be later in the year when we can get everyone together. Please let FSB know. If anyone chooses, please have donations made to Tidewell Hospice in Port Charlotte. They are on the web. Thank you Ed.”

May Tim’s soul rest in peace.

Captain Ed, S/V SIESTA

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED

 

 

SBAFA

If you are not a member of the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association, why not?  The money is used for scholarships and Nalgenes® for Florida Sea Base staff members (and other projects).  As a former staff member, former participant or parent of a former (or future) participant, what better way to show your support of the staff?  Click on the link and sign up.

The reunion dates have been set for 02 – 04 October 2015 at the Florida Sea Base.  Reunion costs and activities are still pending so check the SBAFA Facebook page often.  I will share the information on this site when it becomes available.

WEATHER

If you are lucky enough to be attending the Florida Sea Base later this month, here is AccuWeather’s  forecast for the last 2 weeks of February.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.23.47

I don’t know where you are, but you’re weather is probably not as nice as at the Florida Sea Base.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED

Florida Sea Base Administrative Assistant Cheryl Ferreri was gracious in hosting a “Please Go Back to Texas” party at her residence last night.  The event reminded me of a quote attributed to Davy Crockett.  Crockett had served as a Congressman from Tennessee for several years.  In 1835 he apparently lost his bid for reelection.  He was quoted in several newspapers as stating, “I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas.”  So with much less animosity than Mr. Crockett, I too am headed to Texas.  Hopefully NOT to meet my demise at the Alamo as did he in 1836.  (Although I would like to visit San Antonio again in the near future.)

[As a matter of fact, I SERIOUSLY thought I may have met my demise at the party.  I managed to inhale a chunk of brownie and was barely able to breath (to the point I couldn’t talk and thought seriously about signing someone to call an ambulance.  I coughed violently for several minutes and the issue finally resolved itself; or so I thought.  After sleeping for about 2 and a half hours, I woke up.   My throat has never hurt like this before.  I assume I strained some muscles.]

Anyway, I’m still alive and sincerely appreciate those who came to the gathering.  I thought about listing everyone but I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Some of you may recognize this photo.

Morgan Rainbow Enhanced

I took this photo with a cheap Olympus point-and-shot digital camera in 2006.  It was a fluke shot but I thought it had potential.  I emailed it to my son, Aaron, who enhanced it a tad and sent it back.  The photo has been in and on the cover of several Florida Sea Base publications.  It was even used on an FSB t-shirt and eventually (2011 or 2012 maybe) converted into a painting and given as the grand prize for the Florida Sea Base Annual Invitational Tarpon Tournament that year.  As of this writing, it is the banner photo on the Florida Sea Base Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FloridaSeaBase?ref=profile).  Despite its use, I don’t believe I have ever received any public credit for the photo – until last night.  I was presented with a large, framed and matted copy of “Morgan Rainbow”.  [I originally named the photo “Easter Egg Fleet” because the first boat is not a Morgan.  The boat with the yellow stripe is Escape.  The name is not on the bow because the boat had been recently painted.]  A second matte was made and several of the FSB staff and captains signed it.  I will replace the original matte with the new one when I get back to Texas.  I will post a photo of the photo when I get it re-matted and hung.

This is my second retirement, once from law enforcement and now the BSA.  Having a “go away” party is always very humbling and I appreciate all of the effort put forth by so many staff members.  Thank you.

I am almost packed but have a few must do items left aboard Escape.  My plan is to be on the road very early Monday morning so I can get past Miami before the morning traffic rush.

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

06Jan

SCOUTS

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STAFF

We have had, and currently have, several staff members at the Florida Sea Base that epitomize what it means to be a Scout.  And while these young men and women may or may not become President of the United States, Congressmen, Generals, Admirals, industry moguls, astronauts, or famous in any way, it is my prayer that maybe, just maybe, they can save this nation and our society from destroying itself.

I am aware that these young people are who they are because of their parents, grandparents and other key figures in their youth.  I do not mean to embarrass Austen (he prefers to be called Mustang – long story) or Jake Potter but these two staff members are truly Scouts.  Mr. and Mrs. Potter, you have raised two amazing sons.  I have only spoken with Jake a little but I have spent hours upon hours with Austen as a Divemaster Academy candidate, Florida Sea Base staff member and Instructor Development Course candidate.  Both of these young men are polite, hard working, intelligent, and paying forward what family and Scouting has given to them.  As most parents do, I feel my son is an incredible man and I tend to compare others to him.  In my 15 years at the Florida Sea Base, there have been less than a dozen staff members that have impressed me as much as the Potters.  Now that Jake has had a small taste of Sea Base (this is his first time to work on staff) I hope he will return.

USCG INSPECTIONS

Captain Christy Costa will have her hands full this morning when the USCG Marine Safety Officer arrives to conduct the annual inspections on two of the Newton 46 Dive Specials.

WEATHER

We are in for a drop in temperature with nightly lows in the 60s on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Time to dig out sweat pants and jackets and maybe even wear socks!

Stay warm my friends.

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

 

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