The common aspects to all of the Adventures offered at all the campuses of the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base (Sea Base, Brinton Center, and Bahamas) are swimming and snorkeling. BSA product 19-176 is the guide for BSA Snorkeling Safety. I have also provided a link to Snorkeling BSA. This document provides information on who can serve as a counselor for the Award. The Award was designed to be an indoor, wintertime program. Pursuing this Award would be a great opportunity to bring your Sea Base crew together a few times to prepare for their Adventure. Click on READ MORE for additional preparation tips.
Archive for November, 2009
Eco Adventure is the newest adventure at the Florida Sea Base, premiering in spring 2010. The program is an evolution from the existing Coral Reef Sailing Adventure. The Eco Adventure will be conducted aboard two Morgan 41’ Out Island sailboats working as a team. The emphasis of this new program is to provide the participants with an opportunity to learn through a hands-on approach about the four major ecosystems of the Florida Keys. The Adventure will contain more formal education as compared to the current Coral Reef Adventure. The crew size is 10 to 12, but as mentioned above you will be on two boats. (The Coral Reef Adventure has 6 to 8 participants on one boat.) The program will include sailing, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and even a little hiking to investigate the ecosystems of the Keys. The captains for this program have been especially chosen for the backgrounds in education, personal knowledge of the Keys environment and history, and dedication to making this a premiere program. The program was conceived and designed by Captain Kelly (Stickney) Lucivero and Captain Mike Lucivero who have more than 25 years combined experience with the Florida Sea Base.
While a few spaces are still available for spring 2010, the summer dates are nearly sold out. We expect this to be a very popular program and to grow in the coming years. For more information, go to www.bsaseabase.org, click on High Adventures and scroll down to Eco Adventure or email Capt. Rich Beliveau, Program Director – Sailing, at Rich.Beliveau@scouting.org.
I spent last night at my parents’ house. They live “in the boonies”. You can’t see their house from the road; they live in the piney woods of deep southeast Texas, very near the Louisiana border and just over an hour north of the Gulf of Mexico. Critters (deer, ‘coons, ‘possums, birds – from hummingbirds to eagles and vultures – fox, occasional wolves, wild dogs, cats and who knows what else wander the property at will.
About bedtime last night my dad mentioned that there is a snake wandering in the house. He said he thought it was a nonpoisonous species like a rat snake or whip. I don’t consider myself to be terrified of snakes. When given a choice, I will give then a wide berth, but I can hold them or let them pass nearby without freaking out. So I was keeping an eye out for a telltale sign of the critter.
Bedtime came and no snake. So I went to sleep. It was a little warm in the house so I had the sheet pulled down to my waist. After being asleep for nearly three hours, I felt something cold rub against my back. I didn’t move or even open my eyes. But my brain jolted awake and options as to how to turn over, grab the snake before it escaped (snakes can be very fast) and not get bit (nonpoisonous snakes still have teeth after all) were processing at the speed of light. Then it moved away and I heard a thud. So I assumed it had slithered off the bed and onto the floor.
I rolled over and was about to flip on the light when I saw the tail of my mom’s little dog going out the bedroom door. No snake – just the little dog. So back to sleep. I haven’t seen the snake this morning. He let himself in, so who knows maybe he has let himself back out. Or maybe he’s hibernating under the bed. Life’s an adventure. I hope there are no snakes in your bed tonight.
Yesterday I drove 1,000 miles and I still have over 500 to go. I will be visiting family in Texas for the next few weeks. The Thanksgiving holiday is the only holiday we get to take off at Sea Base. We work every other major holiday of the year. The BSA doesn’t allow us to accrue our vacation time or holidays and doesn’t give us comp time for the hundreds of hours of overtime hours and weekends we work during spring and summer program seasons. If you add 4 weeks of vacation plus 11 federal holidays, plus the overtime we put in, getting two or three weeks off at Thanksgiving isn’t as much as it might otherwise sound. This is not a complaint, just fact – part of the price to get to work in the Keys.
As always, I have brought work me. My primary work focuses are on the 04 December FSB Committee Meeting and the Divemaster Academy and winter programs. I will post something as often as possible. Stay warm and dry – and stay tuned.
During the DEMA trade show in Orlando, Capt. Rich Beliveau, Program Director for our sailing programs, took a day and a half to fly to Dallas, Texas and make a presentation to the Sea Scouts about the various programs at Sea Base. Capt. Rich was invited to the annual Sea Scout meeting by Charlie Wurster, Retired Vice Admiral, USCG, and current Sea Scout National Commodore, and by Keith Christopher, Department Manager National Events.
Apparently there was a falling out between the Sea Scouts and FBS many, many years ago. The current administration of the Florida Sea Base was not aware that there had ever been a problem but wondered why we didn’t have more participation from the Sea Scouts. So Capt. Rich was dispatched as our envoy of peace to mend the damaged relationship and reach out to the Sea Scouts.
This opportunity started when Charlie Wurster joined the BSA Aquatics Task Force more than a year ago. I am also a member of that group. We spoke briefly on multiple occasions about how impressed I have always been with the Sea Scout Ships that attended Sea Base, their maturity level, and how they were such positive role models for the Troops and Crews who were also attending Sea Base. As this string of brief discussions continued, Charlie realized that there was some past issue with Sea Scouts and the Florida Sea Base. Charlie either did not know the cause of the riff or was too much of a gentleman to tell me. Regardless, the disagreement had to have happened many years ago when the Florida Sea Base and the Sea Scouts were under previous managements. And whatever the problem was, I had total confidence that the issue no longer existed or could be easily resolved.
We also discovered that many of the Sea Scout Ships are active in scuba diving. While some Sea Scout Ships come to Sea Base for various programs, we wanted to mend the fences and make a direct offer to the Sea Scouting leadership. We have even designed a unique program for Sea Scouts only on top of all of the other programs we offer. As the Program Director for Scuba, I must say that I would be honored to have more of these young men and women attend our scuba programs. I feel we have great opportunities to offer them as participants and staff members and I have already gushed on how I feel they are wonderful role models.
So maybe we will see more Sea Scouts at the Florida Sea Base in 2010 and beyond. I certainly hope so. It would be a win-win situation. Motel 6 advertises that “we’ll leave the light on”. We’re going above and beyond that. We will leave a red and a green light on at our entrance to guide the Sea Ships into Sea Base. I hope to see more of you soon. And thanks to Commodore Wurster, Keith Christopher and Capt. Rich Beliveau for their efforts to rekindle the relationship between Sea Scouting and the Florida Sea Base.
I am not particularly superstitious and Friday the 13th is just another day to me. In fact, it’s a lot less scary than full moon nights; not because I am afraid of werewolves or vampires, but because many of the drinking establishments in the Keys have a Full Moon Party each month and it frequently temps a staff member into doing something stupid. Eagle Scout, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venturing Ranger Award, Sea Scout Quartermaster Award, BSA Religious Awards, they all help our youth to be better people and to be better prepared for the future. But life offers many temptations and being 18 to 25 years old seems to provide one with just enough life experience to think you have it all under control.
One of the blessings of working with these young men and women on a daily basis is that Capt. Scott, Capt. Rich and I get to counsel and offer our sage advice to them; usually in large settings, but sometimes in one-on-one sessions. Some of them don’t listen to us any better than they do their parents, but most of them are “good kids” and appreciate that we’re trying to help them make good decisions. Capt. Rich sums it up best. ”Rule #1 – Don’t be stupid.” So we remind the staff frequently, “don’t be stupid”. We remind them that they make hundreds of decisions every day. Each of those decisions has a consequence and usually good decisions have good consequences and bad decisions don’t.
Much better than most other places of employment, 99% of out staff members are good people who make generally good decisions. Immaturity and inexperience sometimes provides us with an opportunity to make mistakes. Some mistakes require counseling, some require firing. Full Moon Parties are the scary nights to me. So far, I have never had to fire someone for being stupid on Friday the 13th.
Just a quick blurb this morning. If you are not a close watcher of tropical weather (it seems to be a huge part of my life for about 6 months out of each year) you may not be aware that before storms become hurricanes, tropical storms or even tropical depressions, they are sometimes designated as “Invest” followed by a 2 digit number which is reused and usually in the 90s in our part of the world. So Invest 98 is a weather system sitting out in the Atlantic right now. I have attached a diagram from Weather Underground with various computer models on the storms forecasted track on it. You will see that the system poses no threat to the Florida Keys for the foreseeable future. But now you know what an “Invest” is and our staff members and participants can be assured that we do our absolute best and use several US and international resources to stay as well informed about our pending weather as possible.
Class 6 of the Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy starts on 20 December 2009 and ends on 02 January 2010. Currently there are 16 candidates, all with Scouting experience. The Florida Sea Base will bear all expenses for their certification (including room and board) except for their transportation to and from Sea Base, their PADI membership fee, and a few minor incidentals. Please READ MORE.
Today Capt. Alex Bergstedt (FSB Scuba Commissioner) and I are scheduled to “get off the rock”. That is a term the locals use when they get to go to the mainland. Living on an island has it romantic qualities, but it’s also easy to get “cabin fever”. Many of us watch very little TV or listen to news radio or read the newspaper even (except when we need a good laugh about how moronic some of the local politicians are). Getting off the rock is a little shocking sometimes; cars driving faster than 45 mph, roads with more than two lanes, convenience stores (but not on EVERY corner like it seems to be back in Texas), chain stores, fast food, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target, shopping malls, and all the other evils of society. READ MORE.
Well, DEMA 2009 is a thing of the past. It was good to see the launch of the new Scuba Diving merit badge and the plans PADI has for using it as a tool to increase business for their dive centers. I got to say “howdy” to some folks that I haven’t seen since the last DEMA show. There were some people I missed: Brad Smith, Penny Saddington and Mike Kurczewski for starters. Chrystene found some new vendors for the Ship’s Store. The four hour IDC Staff Instructor update was informative and included an advanced copy of the 2010 PADI Instructor Manual and Course Director Manual. I saw a couple of interesting products that I will follow up on.
I realized this year how important attending the DEMA show is for me personally and professionally. I have skipped it a few times and I always regret doing so. A few years I have gone for just a day or two and that has backfired as well. The benefit is hard to explain. It’s not necessarily the QUANTITY of information that I get, it’s the timing and QUALITY of the information. I can get more complete information at DEMA, usually first hand, from the subject matter expert (a phrase the BSA seems to love).
There is some repetition and some boring moments from attending every DEMA show. But overall, it is important for me and for the Florida Sea Base and BSA to have representation at the show.
Next year’s show is in Las Vegas again. I don’t gamble and I do my best to avoid the smoky game rooms; it’s all business for me. (That may not be entirely true. I think I have gone to one Rock and Roll Review show in all of the trips I have made to Vegas.) Las Vegas is a long way to go, but it will be worth it. Only 51 weeks or so and I will likely be at DEMA 2010.