Archive for November, 2009

Dehydration is a common malady at the Florida Sea Base.  It is surprising how much body water can be lost in the sub-tropic conditions that are experienced in the Florida Keys.  Most doctors recommend people drink one-half gallon of water per day under normal conditions.  In the sub-tropics, you need to drink even more.  Increase your physical activity and you need more still. Now consider the UV index being four or more times what you are used to and the likelihood of at least minor sunburn and you need more water. If you happen to get seasick (quite common) you need replace all of the water lost through vomiting or diarrhea.  Go scuba diving and you need to add still another quart for each dive of the day.  PLEASE READ MORE.

At the Florida Sea Base, for years we have suggested to our staff members and participants what they use SPF 50 or higher sunscreen liberally and frequently.  This is obviously in an attempt to avoid sunburn and sun poisoning.  You may have never heard of sun poisoning.  It is essentially a step beyond sunburn and is a common issue at the Florida Sea Base.  PLEASE READ MORE…

Too much of a good thing.

Too much of a good thing.

Personally, I don’t get it.  I’m not going to the store at 4 a.m. to fight a mob for the privilege of giving my money to someone else.  I don’t understand why a retailer can sell a gizmo for $1.00 at 4 a.m. but at noon tomorrow it costs $2.00.  If they want my business they need to offer a reasonable price all of the time.  That makes it convenient for their customers.  The way this scheme works tells me that they CAN sell the gizmo for $1.00, but most days they take advantage of the customers and sell it for $2.00.  That’s irresponsible – especially in an economy like this.  Instead of helping each other, many people are still looking for a way to make their millions without regard for the effect it has on others.  I was raised that Christmas was a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Somehow we took the fact that the wisemen presented gifts to Jesus to mean we need to give gifts to everyone we know.  And the marketing folks and retailers have done an excellent job of making us feel worthless if we don’t give and get gifts during the “holiday” season – even for the people who don’t believe in Jesus.  How did that happen?  Okay, enough ranting.  I wish that, as a society, we could take a step back and re-evaluate our behavior and expectations at Christmas.  I understand I am in the minority on this point of view.

So what did I do on Black Friday?  I spent most of the day working on my truck.  You might remember from about a week ago that I was looking at new trucks.  I haven’t closed that door yet, but I can’t find what I want on the lot and I’m not going to pay $40k to “settle” for anything less than what I really want.  So yesterday I did a tune-up on my GMC.  I’m going to change the oil and lube the front end today.  I will be driving 1,500 miles back to Sea Base in a day or two (plans are still in the making) so I want the Jimmy to be ready.  Later in the afternoon, Sue and I went to a late lunch / early dinner at the Mexican Inn and then to the movie.  We saw “Old Dogs” with Robin Williams and John Travolta.  It was GREAT.  It was really funny (with dumb stuff for the guys) but is primarily a romantic comedy (for the ladies) without being too gushy to turn the guys off.

If you were among the 4 a.m. crowd, I am sure you found some terrific deals that made it worth your wild.  I was asleep still suffering from Turkeyitis.  Besides, it was too gorgeous of a day in the Dallas / Fort Worth area to spend it indoors shopping.  But again, to each his own.  I hope you have a great day today.

I’m sorry for not posting anything yesterday.  There’s no excuse, I just didn’t make time to do it.

Its pretty early; some of you may be up cooking already.  We fudged a little this year.  The turkey was smoked at Spring Creek Barbeque (the company was originated in Richardson, TX and has become a successful franchise) and some of the casseroles were cooked yesterday.  Granny is bringing the ham and stuffing.  So there are only a couple of hours of cooking time remaining for a couple more casseroles and a pie or two.  Family members should start arriving around noon, so by 1:00 the feast will begin, at 3:00 we’ll watch the Cowboys game (or pre-game or SOMETHING Cowboys related), then leftovers for dinner, divide the remaining leftovers, and send everyone on their merry way.

There’s a lot going on for all of this year and it hasn’t all been great.  Its been a tough year or two for a lot of folks.  My family is doing pretty well.  We certainly have some medical issues within the family, mostly the types of issues that happen as a family ages.  But we can at least be thankful that everyone has a place to live and food to eat.  My immediate family does not have anyone on active military duty overseas.  Other than being together, I can’t think of anything to be more thankful for than the men and women who are protecting you and me and our families from those who would do us harm.  Being a Program Director at a Boy Scout facility gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of young adults.  It’s amazing when you get that staffer who’s a strong leader, living the values taught to him through family, church and Scouting.  Many of those young men and women find their way into our military.  If any of you are reading this – THANK YOU.

So, Happy Thanksgiving.  God bless.

I had the “pleasure” of going to the doctor this morning.  There are a lot of things parents teach their kids about life.  But sometimes we forget (or maybe intentionally leave out) that there is no dignity for old men (and I suspect for the ladies neither) when they go to the doctor.  Apparently, fewer areas are off limits as you age.  I remember when going to the doctor meant having a brief encounter with a stethoscope.  Then I got older and going to the doctor introduced me to this “reverse pliers” type device that was used to pry open my nose so the doctor could see my brain via my sinuses.  Now those seem to be gone.  It seems my doctor’s favorite tools are “scopes”.  This is not the place to go in to detail about scopes.  If you’re old, explain it to your kids.  If you’re young, go ask your parents or grandparents.  The doctor likes using his scope so much that he invited me to come back in a month so he could show it to me again.  Woo-Hoo.  Oh, a word to the wise.  Don’t ask to see the scope.  If you think it FEELS bad, you will be terrified if you see it.  “You’re going to put that WHERE?  And do WHAT?”  I am no fan of the scope.  If you haven’t met the scope yet I have just one word for you – BROCCOLI.  Eat a LOT of it, every day, twice on Sunday.  Broccoli may help postpone you’re meeting with the scope.  And you really want to postpone that meeting for as long as possible – forever even.

Sea Base is getting pretty bare.  Thanksgiving is the only holiday we are allowed to take vacation.  I’m not sure where everyone is but here’s a short list.

Capt. Harman and Assistant Ranger Joe Shriner left a few days ago aboard Dutch Love.  They are sailing to the Honduran island of Roatan.  Capt. Harman owns a piece of property there.

Captains Rich (Sailing Director), Carol (Dive Boat Goddess) and Bruce (Coral Reef Sailing captain) are sailing to the Bahamas aboard Sienna Belle.

Captains Mike and Kelly (Coral Reef Sailing, Scuba Liveaboard, and Eco Adventure) are aboard Ciao Bella, also bound for the Bahamas.

Rob Kolb (Director of Program) and his wife Joanne are headed somewhere for the holidays, California I presume.

Capt. Alex Bergstedt (Scuba Commissioner) is headed home to Valparaiso, Indiana to be with his family.

Paul Beal (General Manager) and his wife, Dana, are staying at the Base for Thanksgiving along with Capt. Keith Douglass (Facilities Director) and his wife, Diane.

Chrystene Matthews (Director of Food and Conferences & Goddess of All Things Retail) is flying to Oregon to visit with her brother.

I haven’t heard from Nancy Wells (Registrar), Ali Bradman (Financial Assistant), or Cheryl Ferreri (Administrative Assistant) so I’m not sure what they’re up to.

I think Capt. Scott Martin (Brinton Center) and wife Lizzy are going to visit Scott’s parents in North Carolina.

I’m in Texas visiting family.

Would the last one out please turn off the lights?  Who’s going to feed the cats?

Today is Sunday.  I’m going to meet my son at his house after church.  He is the person who is responsible for this blog.  I would have never even tried to do this without his technical assistance.  As a matter of fact, one of the things I hope we can accomplish today is tweaking one of the pages on this site that is having technical difficulties beyond my abilities.  We’ll also check out some new (to me anyway) video games and electronic “goodies”.  The weather is supposed to be pretty decent today so I may try to drag him out truck shopping.  My 1997 GMC has almost 205,000 miles on it and I am suffering from new truck fever.  I would have a new truck already, but the prices are just to hard for me to justify.

I bought my first pickup in 1975.  It was a 1974 Chevy half-ton, fully loaded and I paid less than $3,500.  I drove it for 375,000 miles and then sold it for $1,500.  Then in 1996 I bought a 1997 GMC 3/4 ton (even ordered it from the factory to my specifications) and nearly had a stroke over the $21,600 price tag.  I couldn’t grasp why the truck should cost 6 times as much as it’s predecessor.  It couldn’t possible last 6 times as many miles (nearly 2 million miles?), it couldn’t last 6 times as long (nearly 120 years?) and my pay had not increased 6 fold.  But the old ’74 was dead and gone and I NEEDED a truck.  Right now I just WANT a new truck.  At 205k miles the ’97 is running pretty good. None of the fluids are leaking onto the ground.  There’s a little body damage, she needs new tires, a new seat cover on the driver’s side (which probably means new covers all around to have them match), there are some electronic glitches and the switch that controls the duct selection on the air conditioner / heater may need to be replaced.  If you open the hood she looks almost new.  So I don’t really NEED a new truck right now.  And I am even more dumb-struck by the prices.  The price has about doubled in the last 12 years.  Again, my pay check hasn’t doubled in the last 12 years; the new truck is not going to last 4 million miles or 240 years.  No wonder the auto industry is in such bad shape.  They have lost their minds.  Which is another reason to not buy a new truck.

Anyway, new truck or not, I will have a great day visiting my son.  I hope this is a great day for you too.

One of the frequent questions we are asked has to do with the recommended weight guidelines included on the FSB Health and Medical Record.  Many of our leaders are aware that Philmont requires strict adherence to the guidelines.

The policy is a little different at Sea Base – at least for the time being.  The weight guidelines are meant as a guide for the participants and their doctors.  If the participant is overweight for their height according to the guidelines, they can still participate at Sea Base provided their doctor approves.  However, there is an absolute maximum allowable weight of 300 pounds regardless of how tall or how fit a participant may be.  There are two primary reasons for the 300 pound limit.  First, the ladders and other equipment on most of our boats cannot accommodate a 300 pound load.  Second, in the event of an in-the-water emergency that rendered a participant unconscious, egressing a 300 pound person from the water onto a vessel is nearly impossible.  Just try to imagine removing a limp, 300 pound person from the water, up four to six feet of freeboard (on a sailboat), on a rolling, pitching vessel when only one or two rescuers may be immediately available.

This policy is subject to change so please check this website from time to time for any updates.  I am also positive that there will not be any changes to this policy in 2010.  However, the National Office is creating some pressure for all BSA facilities to strictly comply with the weight / height guidelines.  There is legitimate reason for their concern – most fatalities within the BSA are adult leaders having heart attacks and most of those victims are significantly overweight.  So stay tuned.  If there are any changes, they will posted here immediately.

Four scuba programs are currently offered at the Florida Sea Base: Scuba Adventure, Scuba Certification, Scuba Liveaboard and the Divemaster Academy.  This article will include the first three programs.  The Divemaster Academy is only offered in the winter and will be discussed in future blogs.  Click on READ MORE.

The Florida National High Adventure Sea Base has three campuses; Sea Base (Islamorada, FL), Brinton Environmental Center (Summerland Key, FL) and Marsh Harbour (Abacos, Bahamas).  All three campuses have some sailing component.  One of the programs offered at the BEC is the Keys Adventure.  This program offers a day of sailing aboard Morgan 33 Out Island sailboats.  The Bahamas offers two sailing programs, Bahamas Adventure and Bahamas Tall Ship.  Sea Base offers the majority of our sailing programs; Coral Reef Sailing, Sea Exploring and Eco Adventure, plus our Scuba Liveaboard Adventure is currently conducted aboard sailboats.  (Details on each of these Adventures are available at, then click on High Adventures.)  Many crew leaders call wanting suggestions on how they can best prepare their crew for their FSB High Adventure.  Please click on READ MORE for several suggestions on preparing for Adventures that include sailing.