Archive for June, 2010

The captains at the Florida Sea Base did an excellent job yesterday.  The wind was brisk, but the divers got their dives in and the sailors got to sail.  Even the night dive was a success with Capt. Rich at the helm.  Today’s forecast continues to include small craft warning.  Here is today’s marine forecast from NOAA.

Thursday And Thursday Night…East winds near 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 5 to 8 feet…except higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters rough. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms

Here’s the latest projection for Invest 93L.

www.wunderground.com

None of the current forecast models has 93L directly impacting the Florida Sea Base.  One model has it traveling over the Deepwater Horizon site and threatening the New Orleans area; two models have it dissipating near the Yucatan; and one shows it passing the Yucatan and continuing west.

Before I forget (again) I want to thank Capt. Martin Ivy, S/V Tradewind,  for bringing me a nice piece of leftover tuna Tuesday.

The meeting with the DAN officials ended in an agreement to review and edit the contract proposed by DAN.  It was very nice to meet Dan Orr and his wife Betty Orr.  Capt. Larry Zettwoch, a DAN Instructor/Trainer and part time Keys resident was also in attendance.  I have met with Capt. Larry on three or four occasions previously.

So all is well overall.  We are dealing with the wind.  The staff members are doing a great job.  The critiques are good (except we need more shower and toilet facilities for the Coral Reef sailors who return for a day off mid-week).

I had another adult leader stop by the office yesterday to tell me he reads this blog and appreciates my efforts.  And I certainly appreciate that.  Just as a reminder, I own and pay for this site myself.  My son, Aaron, handles all of the technical stuff.  I write this blog on my own time, usually after a 10 to 12 hour work day except on very rare occasions when I hammer something out during work hours.  The OFFICIAL website for the Florida Sea Base is www.bsaseabase.org.  It is updated fairly frequently with urgent news and registration information.  It is a great source of information about the Florida Sea Base programs and has a link to the reservations website.  The Florida Sea Base Conference Center website is http://www.fsbconferencecenter.org/.  And please visit our eCommerce site at www.fsbshipstore.com.  Capt. Dennis Wyatt’s book, The Bald Man and the Sea, is still listed but is either sold out or just a VERY few copies remain (like 2 or 3).  This is a funny book to read and will be gone forever when the remaining copies (if there are any) are sold.  You can also call the Ships Store at 305-664-5624.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape @ 04:06 a.m.

It’s going to be a rough day at sea at the Florida Sea Base.  Small craft advisories are in effect on the Atlantic side of the Keys (locally referred to as the ocean side) and probably won’t be lifted until Sunday at the earliest.  This is not a hazardous situation for us because all of our boats are larger than “small craft” classification.  The Coral Reef sailboats will stay mostly on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys (locally referred to as the bay side) where they can take advantage of the wind for sailing without having to deal with the five to seven foot seas on the ocean side.

Unfortunately there are no scuba sites on the bay side so the divers will have high seas and reduced visibility to deal with – “high adventure”.  Bear in mind that we have about $1.5 million invested in our scuba boat fleet to insure the highest possible level of safety and comfort (if anyone is ever comfortable in 7 foot seas) for days like these.  Plus we have exceptional captains and scuba staff who will “call the dive” if the conditions are more intense than the skill level of our participants.  So everyone is in good hands, even if the weather is not cooperative.  The worst case scenario is the divers can’t dive.  If that happens, we will have shore-side activities for them.  Mother Nature rules the outdoors.  Usually we are blessed with very good weather.  Sometimes it rains and sometimes we have too much wind.  We make the best of whatever we are given.

The forecasted track for Invest 93L, which could become Tropical Storm Alex, does not look good for the Deepwater Horizon oil well site.

Courtesy of www.wunderground.com

Here’s the 02:00 (2:00 a.m.) update on the forecasted track for Invest 93L.  Hopefully the system will follow the more southernly routes suggested by some of the models.  So far however, the models have all shown at least some tendency to move the track further north.  It’s a long way out and the forecasts are not as accurate as we wish they were.

I have a meeting this afternoon with Paul Beal, General Manager of the Florida Sea Base, and Dan Orr, CEO of the Divers Alert Network, to discuss the benefits of a more formalized business relationship.  DAN was organized in 1980 and I think I have been a member since 1982.  It is a non-profit organization linked to Duke University.  They offer very reasonably priced diver accident insurance that I encourage all divers to consider.  They may be the only non-military entity that does research into scuba diving related medical issues.  You can read about the Divers Alert Network yourself at http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/.  While I am a strong personal supported of DAN, I am not sure that the Florida Sea Base can benefit from a formal business relationship with them.  However, I am sure Mr. Orr will have some strong arguments to present.  DAN is a Scout friendly organization.  Sam (Samantha) Merrill is their Director of Business Membership.  She is a Cub leader and her husband is also active in Scouting.

I don’t know why I continue to be amazed at how many Scouts I come across in the diving industry.  There are more Scouts/Scouters in the PADI corporate office than I can count.  We have friends at DAN.  The CEO of XS Scuba is an Eagle Scout.  I have met Scouters who work for NAUI.  Our regional Aqua Lung sales rep is an Eagle Scout.  So is the regional sales rep for Mares scuba equipment.  I’m sure the list goes on and on.  If you’re a Scout or Scouter involved in the scuba business I would like to hear from you.  Just send me a comment at your convenience.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I’m sorry for not posting last night or earlier this morning.  The biggest news at the Florida Sea Base is the headline of this post.  Apparently NOAA is satisfied that the oil from Deepwater Horizon poses no near term threat to the Florida Keys or parts beyond and has suspended the offshore trajectory forecasts.  Rease read the full article.

The general weather forecast for the next few days at the Florida Sea Base calls for brisk easterly winds (15 – 20 knots).  These conditins will provide a “high adventure” experience for our participants.  The sailing will be good and the temperatures will be more tolerable.  The snorkeling and scuba diving will suffer, but the conditions will improve in a few days.

Capt. Rich is driving BSA Explorer, one of the Scuba Aventure boats this morning.  I am in the office experiencing opportunities to improve.  Capt. Dennis Wyatt is running around showing off his new “Joe Dirt” mullet wig.  And by the way, congratulations to Capt. Dennis whose book, The Bald Man in the Sea, has sold out of it’s first printing.  He found used copies for sale on the internet for over $35.00.

Invest 93L has formed where 92L left off.  This reformation has a chance to develope into Tropical Storm Alex.  Current forecast models show the system staying south of Cuba and there is no imminent threat to the Florida Sea Base.

From Weather Underground

Stay tuned.

Capt. Steve
In the Office

21Jun

Hot Water

in Weather  •  0 comments

Good morning from the Florida Sea Base.  We are forecasted to have more wind (15 – 20 knots) and corresponding waves (2 to 5 feet on the reef) this week than we’ve had so far this summer and a decent chance of rain through Friday.  With 92 L fizzling out again I am hopeful that the conditions will be a little milder than forecasted.  At 05:00 we had a small line of rain move through from the east that lasted about an hour.  It was enough to drop the temperature from 85 to 84.  The wind has been from the east at 11 – 15 knots from 01:00 to 04:00.  At 05:00 the gusts bumped up to 16 knots and by 06:00 the gusts hit 17 knots.  The wind should die down about after this little line of showers passes.  We don’t have any wave measuring devices at any of the weather stations location on the reef.  So the National Weather Service, and everyone else, has to make a guess based on wind speed, direction and duration.  East winds build the biggest waves because they travel across the most ocean and deeper water.  So the waves are probably three to four feet on the reef line.  There may be an occasional five foot “roller”.  Those conditions are diveable, but the visibility will be reduced (from the waves stirring up the sand) and getting back onboard will be harder because of the boat rocking on the waves.

Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are a big player in summer time severe weather in the Keys.  28ºC is the magic number for potential severe weather including catastrophic hurricanes.  The water surrounding the Keys is in the 32ºC range as seen on this diagram from NOAA.

Courtesy of http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/contour/usatlant.fc.gif

That’s too warm for comfort.  It’s also one of the reasons why the air conditioning on my boat is being so ineffective.

Captains Rich and Carol will return from a weekend in Key West before noon today.  The Scuba Adventure (SA) crews that checked in yesterday will go out after lunch for dive one.  Because of the conditions, it will be interesting to see what the galley has scheduled for lunch.  Chili cheese dogs are always a hit with the kids.  And on days like this the fish on the reef seem to enjoy the chili cheese dogs too.  I’m not being mean, just honest.  But no worries – all of the food served at the Florida Sea Base is “fish friendly”, just in case the participants can’t hold it down.  The SA crews that arrived last Wednesday will be out all day, having lunch aboard.  They will be having cold-cut sandwiches and have their sea-legs better established by now so they will likely have an easier time with today’s conditions.  And the new crews having lunch at base before they depart may have something much milder than chili, like grilled cheese sandwiches or a baked potato bar.

My alarm is about to go off so I’m going to start getting ready for work.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Will 92L affect the Florida Sea Base or not?  Hummmm.  Yesterday morning we had a 10% chance but by yesterday afternoon that was upgraded to 20% by Weather Underground.  Now the National Hurricane Center says the chance of intensification (in the next 48 hours) is “near 0”.  Weather forecasting is a VERY inaccurate science.  If we do get weather from the 92L system, the good news (for us) is it should push the oil from Deepwater Horizon back to the west.  I am not wishing more bad things for our friends and neighbors already devastated by the oil, I am just repeating what the weather forecasters are predicting.  Here’s what the National Hurricane Center had to say at 02:00:

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

200 AM EDT SUN JUN 20 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…

1. A TROPICAL WAVE EXTENDING FROM THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA ACROSS HISPANIOLA TO THE ADJACENT ATLANTIC WATERS IS PRODUCING DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS…WHICH COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES…AND GUSTY WINDS ARE POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO OVER PORTIONS OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS…THE VIRGIN ISLANDS…PUERTO RICO…THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC…AND HAITI AS THE WAVE MOVES WESTWARD OR WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN UNFAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT…AND THERE IS A LOW CHANCE…NEAR 0 PERCENT…OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM…PLEASE REFER TO PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

ELSEWHERE…TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$

FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN
NNNN

Capt. Rich and Capt. Carol spent Saturday afternoon and evening in Key West and plan to return to the base before lunch Monday.  They deserve a break.

I realize that several parents of our staff members check this blog from time to time and I apparently caused some concern with my recent post about some of the staff using poor judgement.  I’m not sure if this will make things better or worse, but I’ll add a little to my previous comments.  There was no alcohol or drugs involved and no one was terminated.  The separate issues were not major, but it was one of those afternoons that one person messed up, then a second, then a third and a fourth and as the boss you start wondering if some type of “stupid pill” that only affects people under the age of 25 had been dropped into the municipal water supply.  If so, the effects seem to have worn off and the staff is doing better.

I was off yesterday but heard that we lost another outboard motor.  I was told that one of the two Yamaha motors on the boat being used by the Scuba Certification crew threw a rod or in some other way managed to blow a hole in the side of the motor.  No one was injured and the boat was not far from the base so they limped back on the other motor.  I will follow up with Capt. Alex Holoman today.  Lack of reliability with the outboard motors, whether they are Evinrudes, Yahamas, Mercurys or Suzukis, was one of the motivators for buying our third diesel powered dive boat this year.  Adding that boat allowed us to retire three outboard powered boats. With two months left of our program season, we are now without a back-up in our outboard fleet.  The Spare Time, which is used to take the Coral Reef Sailing participants tubing on their mid-week day, blew a motor last week.  That boat is in Dania, Florida having two new motors installed at a cost of $25,000.  I don’t think we have the resources to replace the motor(s) on the Scuba Certification boat this year.  Both boats were donated to the Florida Sea Base so our initial investment was near zero, but maintenance and engine replacement is very expensive.

It’s almost 05:00.  Sometimes I can’t sleep.  That hasn’t been a problem recently – until tonight.  I’ve been up since 01:00.  I’m going to try to take an hour nap.  I will keep a low profile today.  When I don’t sleep I get grumpy.  The staff does not appreciate a grumpy Capt. Steve.

Oh yeah.  Don’t forget that today is Father’s Day.  Keep Dad in your thoughts, prayers and heart.  My dad is my personal #1 all time hero.  And he is a real life hero as well.  He served in the Korean conflict, flew 226 air combat missions in the Vietnam War, and has served at several domestic disaster sites including ground zero in NYC as a Mass Casualty Expert for the American Red Cross after his retirement from the US Air Force.  He spent over 20 years in the Air Force as a firefighter and is still fighting fires with the local volunteer fire department back home.  He saw me through Eagle Scout years ago and currently serves his local Scout Council as a District Cubmaster.  I love you, Dad.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Probably.  Dr. Masters thinks there is a 90% chance that it will not reorganize.  Here’s what he said on his blog this morning:

A slight chance 92L could develop next week
Today and Saturday, 92L will encounter 20 – 40 knots of wind shear as it plows though a region of strong upper-level winds associated with the subtropical jet stream. The disturbance will also encounter the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola. These factors should significantly disrupt the disturbance. If there’s anything left of 92L by Sunday, when it will be over eastern Cuba, the storm may have the opportunity to develop. At that time, 92L will have passed through the core of the subtropical jet stream and entered a region of lower shear (15 – 20 knots.) For the latest round of 00Z and 06Z model runs, the HWRF is the only reliable model calling for 92L to develop; that model predicts that 92L will organize into a tropical depression on Wednesday over the Lower Florida Keys, and head into the Gulf of Mexico. The obstacles that 92L must overcome to do this are great, and I give 92L just a 10% chance of eventually developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday next week.

The extended forecast calls for an increased chance of rain at the Florida Sea Base next week as what is left of 92L passes over Cuba.  Even if the system manages to reorganize into a tropical depression or even a tropical storm, if won’t have much effect on our programs.  It may add a more “high adventure” element to the week in the form of rain and stronger winds, but we deal with frequently – especially during the spring.  If you are coming to the Florida Sea Base or Brinton Environmental Center in the next week I suggest (strictly as a precaution) that you consider bringing an inexpensive, light weight rain jacket.  It won’t really keep you dry, but it helps keep you a little warmer.  Even when the air temperature is 90+, the rain can tend to chill you.

SUNBURN

I travel and I despise the airlines charging for checked luggage.  So I try to get by with what I can carry on, like most of you.  And I understand the limitations on liquids that can be carried aboard.  Those limitations preclude carrying large bottles of sunscreen in your carry-on.  So I am guessing that fewer crews are bringing an adequate supply of sunscreen with them.  Sunscreen is VITAL for our participants.  The daily UV index has been running at 15.  The absolute maximum UV index is 16.  We are seeing TOO MUCH sunburn in the kids and adults at the Florida Sea Base this summer.  I see two easy fixes.  You can stop at any pharmacy, convenience store or grocery store between the airport and here or you can buy sunscreen in our Ships Store when you arrive.  The participants, youth and adult, need to wear sunscreen; and they need to reapply it often.  it doesn’t matter if the bottle says it is waterproof or sweatproof.  I do not know what the manufacturers think those words mean, but I have lived in the Florida Keys for 10 years and I can personally attest to the fact that the sunscreens wash off while you’re snorkeling and swimming in the water, they wipe off if you towel dry after being in the water and they melt off as you sit in 115º “feels like” temperatures sweating bullets.  So PLEASE procure SPF 50 sunscreen (NOT the spray type) put it on as soon as you get here and reapply it FREQUENTLY.  When you finish your swim review – reapply.  When you finish your snorkel lesson – reapply.  When you finish your volleyball game – reapply.  Before you go and when you return from small boat sailing – reapply.  Before leaving on the dive boat – slather up.  After every dive – slather on some more.  UV ratings of 15 should not be taken lightly.  Also consider sunscreen for your lips.  Puffy, tender, swollen, sunburned lips are not fun.  Don’t forget the tops of your feet.  Most of our participants spend a lot of time barefooted here.  Most of you wear shoes on a daily basis and you feet have not built up any resistance to the sun.  Blistered feet mean you can’t wear fins.  Scuba diving is out if you can’t wear fins. Snorkeling is possible, but just not as much fun or as efficient without fins.

DEHYDRATION

Hand-in-hand with sunburn is the issue of dehydration.  If you are sunburned you are dehydrated.  DEHYDRATION CAN BE LIFE THREATENING.  Any participant (or outdoor working staff member) who doesn’t drink AT LEAST a gallon of water a day here is dehydrated.  Serious dehydration requires a trip to the ER.  At the ER they give you an IV to hydrate you.  At that point, you are likely to be instructed to stay out of the water for several days to a week.  So basically your trip is over.

WE TAKE SOMEONE TO THE HOSPITAL ABOUT ONCE A WEEK FOR SEVERE SUNBURN AND DEHYDRATION.  Please don’t let it be you or a member of your crew.  These conditions are so easy to prevent that I have no patience for adult leaders who allow the youth in their crews to suffer from either of these conditions.  Shade is not the answer.  UV rays bounce off the water and sitting under the bimini in the cockpit of a boat provides almost no protection from the UV rays.  Shade does not mean there are no UV rays.

It’s almost 09:30.  The dive boats will be leaving any moment.  The sailboats that were at dock for a mid-week break yesterday are now gone.  The sailboats for today’s mid-week break have arrived and secured at the dock.  I got to sleep in a while this morning.  I’m going to fix breakfast, check-in with the office to make sure everyone survived this morning’s staff meeting and then I am going to get busy with chores.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

18Jun

67 Days

in Staff  •  0 comments

If I counted correctly, there are only 67 days until the last scuba crews complete their Florida Sea Base adventure.  Yesterday’s Team Meeting reflected that to some extent.  The 2010 remainder of the 2010 is mostly in the hands of the Commissioners now and Capt. Scott Martin from the Brinton Environmental Center, Capt. Rich, Rob Kolb, Chrystene Matthews, Capt. Keith Douglass, Paul Beal and I are starting to focus on 2011 and beyond.  I am already working on the 2011 budget for the scuba and sailing programs.  We have forms (a lot of forms), Participant Guides, website, schedules, program enhancements, infrastructure needs, purchasing, maintenance, fall and winter staffing, winter programming, fall and winter conference needs, and several other topics to tackle.  All of these need to be reviewed, edited, updated and finalized in the next few months.  I love my job!

Our overnight low was 85º.  It is cloudy out this morning (06:30) and there are tiny cells of rain scattered far to our north and south but nothing in our immediate vicinity.  The wind is light from the southeast – perfect for the divers but a little light for the sailors.

The Sailing Commissioner, Matt McClure and the Scuba Commissioner, Capt. Alex Bergstedt are off today so Capt. Rich and I will have the reins.  Most things are well under control at this point.  Ice production is an issue.  We are trying to get a third block ice maker purchased and installed as quickly as possible.  But in the Keys, that may mean September or October.  Not much happens overnight here.  Many of our residents and business owners suffer from “Keys Disease” and have their clocks set to “Island Time”.  If a package is sent “next day air” it might get here in two days.  Even super premium delivery service like UPS red rarely gets delivered in time.  US mail takes an extra day or two – coming and going.  It’s like living on a Caribbean island but without the tax breaks.

Everything went well this morning – all of the boats were working, no one was seriously injured and the phone calls were reasonable.  We had baked potatoes for lunch.  After lunch I ran some personal errands (post office, bank, cleaners).  Then things got ugly.

I have bragged on Capt. Rich Beliveau in several of my blogs.  He is the Program Director responsible for the sailing programs including Coral Reef Sailing, Sea Exploring, Eco Adventure and some aspects of the Scuba Liveaboard program.  He goes farther above and beyond the call of duty than anyone else at the Florida Sea Base.  He protects and stands behind his 45 or so captains and the 30 or so seasonal staff he supervises.  It makes me angry when they fail to appreciate him and all he does for them at least 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  His phone is never off and he never ignores a call.  Today one of his captains spent the afternoon doing her best to make Capt. Rich’s day as miserable as possible.  It makes you wonder if she really wants to be a part of this program.  To beat up on someone who has done nothing but his best to make your life better is inexcusable.  In all honesty, it’s a good way to not be invited back next year.  And I almost forgot that prior to that one of our other captains had lost his cool with our commissary manager who was only trying to help him.  Capt. Rich had a short conversation with the captain and I hope (for the captain’s sake) there will be no repeat of this behavior.

Then four of our seasonal staff each developed temporary insanity and forgot Rule #1 – Don’t be Stupid.  It’s probably not appropriate for me to give details here.  I will say that no one was hurt, there was no property damage, and only two of the persons involved in the individual incidents cried.  I got most of the mess cleaned up and Capt. Rich will likely have some private counseling sessions with a few of the staff tomorrow.  In addition to all of that, I had phone calls with two parents that were not very Scout like.  I am generally the one who gets the opportunity to talk with the parents that no one else wants to deal with.  I usually get to deliver bad news and I am usually the one that gets to tell people we can’t accommodate a request.  Did I mention earlier that I love my job?  I am really a very kind person.  But someone has to be the bad guy and that role is generally assigned to me.

I have the day off tomorrow.  But, as I have explained previously, that doesn’t mean I won’t get phone calls and the opportunity to coach a few staff members throughout the course of the day.  During program season Capt. Rich and I never turn off our phones.  We cannot afford to miss a call that might involved an injured participant.  Most of the captains and staff don’t know when we’re off anyway, so we get calls and requests for assistance seven days a week.  Which really stinks when one of your captains just wants to call and whine at you all day.

I’m over that now.  I am going to bed.  With just a little luck I will sleep in until 07:00 or so since I won’t be at the morning staff meeting.  I have several projects to choose from during the day.  I might not do anything.  We’ll see.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The Florida Sea Base remains oil free and unthreatened for the time being.  The wind has been light but out of the west in the Gulf of Mexico for the past few days.  This has allowed a light sheen of oil to creep farther east along the Gulf coast to Panama City, Florida.  The oil is still several hundred miles from the Florida Sea Base and I check the oil’s progress daily.  The forecast for the next two weeks in the Gulf of Mexico calls for light winds from the south and southeast.  This will tend to move the oil back to the west a little.  I continue to be optimistic that oil from the Deepwater Horizon well will not effect our operations this summer.  And while the Atlantic and Caribbean areas are undoubtedly going to see a very active hurricane season I am still optimistic and hopeful that we might make it through our program season without a major storm affecting the Florida Sea Base.

“Hope for the best but prepare for the worse.”  And that we are doing.  We have another staff meeting from 09:00 to noon today during which we will discuss our preparations in the unlikely event we have to deal with either issue.  The oil is actually fairly simple; if part of our operation is hampered by oil we will move up or down the Keys and work around the oil.  We have dealt with hurricanes many times before but we will review our state of preparedness and action plans again today just so we don’t grow complacent.

In the meantime, the water is warm, visibility is GREAT, seas are calm, and the sun is HOT.  If you have reservations for this summer, your main concerns should be sunburn and dehydration – both of which are relatively easy to prevent.  We send at least one person per week to the ER because they can’t seem to remember to put on sunscreen and to drink water.  It is frustrating for me when an adult leader does not have sufficient control over his/her group to make sure they protect themselves from the sun.

It’s time for me to get ready for the day; 07:30 seasonal staff meeting, 08:00 breakfast; 09:00 Team Meeting, 12:00 lunch, all afternoon to fix whatever broke during the morning.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Here is a photo and a short video clip of the BSA Centennial Eagle leaving on its maiden voyage from the Florida Sea Base.  The vessel is under command of Capt. Carol Chapman.  The 1st Mate is Brian Sevald.  Today’s Divemasters were David Rumbaugh, Charles Harvey and Joe Schreiner.

BSA Centennial Eagle's Maiden Voyage

P6160053 click here for the video clip.

The second threatening weather system of the 2010 hurricane season, 92L, is dissipating and is no longer thought to be any threat to the Florida Sea Base.  The unusually hot June with light winds is forecasted to continue.  Record floods are continuing across the US; Oklahoma City was the victim yesterday.  The Florida Sea Base has staff members and friends from the OK City area.  Record high daily low temperatures are linked to the flooding events.  Dr. Masters explained this phenomena in yesterday’s post at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1507.

Yesterday was a super busy day for our sailing staff at the Florida Sea Base.  I believe we had five crews on base for their mid-week day, five crews returned for luau, four new crews arrived to start their adventure, and one scuba liveaboard crew went home and a new crew arrived.  Six scuba crews were also involved in last night’s luau and will leave this morning.

There are two pieces of good news for the scuba program.  BSA Centennial Eagle passed her US Coast Guard inspection yesterday and was awarded a Certificate of Inspection (COI), and the BSA Explorer may be back in service in time for her next scheduled trip on Thursday afternoon. Capt. Carol, Capt. Rich, Brian Sevald and Matt McClure were involved with the COI process yesterday.  Having the COI means we can now carry participants aboard the vessel.  Three lucky crews this morning will be the first to dive from the newest of our Newton fleet.

Today will be another busy day with Coral Reef Sailing, Sea Explorers, Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certification crews arriving this afternoon.  The BSA Centennial Eagle and the BSA Tarpon will have three Scuba Adventure crews each on all day dive trips and the Scuba Certification crew will likely finish up their pool training this morning and go diving this afternoon.  Once again, it’s opening day for hundreds of participants at the Florida Sea Base.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Good morning.  It’s already 84º at the Florida Sea Base (at 07:00).   Dr. Jeff Masters posted today’s weather blog quite early.  Here’s part of what he had to say:

The forecast for 92L
The National Hurricane Center is giving 92L a high (60% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday morning, which is a reasonable forecast. The odds of development have increased since yesterday, as the storm has moved considerably to the northwest, away from the Equator. Now it can leverage the Earth’s spin to a much greater degree to help get it get spinning. It is quite unusual for a tropical depression to form south of 8°N latitude.

I expect that 92L’s best chance to become a tropical depression will come on Tuesday, and the storm could strengthen enough by Wednesday to be named Tropical Storm Alex. The farther south 92L stays, the better chance it has at survival. With the system’s steady west-northwest movement this week, 92L will probably begin encountering hostile wind shear in excess of 20 knots by Wednesday, which should interfere with continued development. Several of our reliable models do develop 92L into a tropical storm with 40 – 55 mph winds, but all of the models foresee weakening by Thursday or Friday as 92L approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands and encounters high shear and dry air. I doubt 92L will be anything stronger than a 45 mph tropical storm when it moves through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday and Saturday, and it would be no surprise if wind shear has destroyed the storm by then. However, as usual, surprises can happen, and the GFS and the SHIPS model (which is based upon the GFS) do indicate that more modest levels of wind shear in the 15 – 20 mph range late this week may allow 92L to stay stronger than I’m expecting. Residents of the islands–particularly the northern Lesser Antilles–should follow the progress of 92L closely, and anticipate heavy rains and high winds moving through the islands as early as Thursday night.

In a nutshell, 92L will likely become Tropical Storm Alex and then get blown apart by wind shear near the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.  Our inbound participants should not sweat this one.  Come on down and enjoy the sun and water.  I hope to see you soon.  I have an 07:30 staff meeting to attend.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape