Archive for April, 2011

Yesterday started with our usual 07:30 staff meeting.  The sailing staff was divided up and assigned to the Galley and Facilities departments.  The scuba staff took the divers to a patch reef called Pillars of Atlantis and then to Long Key Ledge.  First Mate Kyle Beighle (also a Scuba Instructor) reported that the wind and seas laid down significantly and it was an enjoyable day.  Last night the Scuba Adventure crews went to Alligator Reef for a night dive.

The crew from the Calypso Gypsy returned to Sea Base yesterday.  Last night was the final luau of the spring sailing season.

At 09:30 Capt. Rich and I joined Capt. Paul Beal, Capt. Keith Douglass, Rob Kolb, Tim Stanfill and Cheryl Ferreri to discuss our upcoming National Visitation (camp inspection).  That meeting concluded at 10:30 at which time Capt. Rich and I drove to Key West for a meeting with Lt. Pierce, US Coast Guard Sector Key West.  We had a very positive meeting and opened a dialog regarding some changes in enforcement policies by the Coast Guard that will impact the Florida Sea Base.  Lt. Pierce was very helpful and gave us some great input on how we might be able to reduce the negative impact of these changes on our programs.  This will be a new action item for Capt. Rich and I to work upstream within the BSA possibly to lobbyists and law makers or possibly the office of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard.  If you are the owner of an inspected Sea Exploring or Scuba Liveaboard vessel please give Capt. Rich and I a few days to prepare an official response to the questions we know you have.  All I can say right now is there is some good news and some bad news.  It will take a few days for us to meet with FSB senior management to come to conclusions on how we will address the issues.

While I’m thinking about it, I may not be able to make a post tomorrow or Sunday mornings.  I will try, but no promises at this this point.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Yesterday was day 2 of the cleaning in the Galley.  Wow; what a chore.  But the team is doing a great job and the kitchen will look and smell much better once they are done.  The rangers are busy painting, mowing and pressure washing.  The Eagle topper has been repaired, painted and refitted atop our big flag pole.  It has been down for most of the spring program season.  Instead of taking it down for repair in September, the facilities department decided to wait until we started the program season.  Who needs a flagpole during program season?  It’s nice that they could get it reinstalled in time for the Chief Scout Executive’s visit next week.

The Scuba Adventure crews and Scuba Certification crews combined yesterday and went diving aboard BSA Centennial Eagle with Captain Scott Costa.  The weather definitely took a turn for the worse with a sudden and significant increase in wind speed overnight.  Capt. Scott went to several sites looking for any visibility.  They finally dropped in at a patch reef called Donut for their first dive and then moved to Alligator Reef for dive two.  The forecast calls for continued blustery winds tomorrow then easing up Thursday night.

Two or three years ago I took a picture of the Coral Reef Sailing boats on the North side of the Florida Sea Base T-dock.  The photo was labeled “Easter Egg Fleet” and then “Morgan Rainbow”.  All of the boats in the photo, except one, are Morgan Out Islands and each one is trimmed in a different color.  It was a lucky shot taken with an inexpensive camera, but it had potential.  So I emailed the photo to my son who “enhanced” it and sent it back.  The photo has been used on the cover of the Florida Sea Base Participant’s Guide, was printed on t-shirts labeled “I’m on a Sails Call” sold in the Ships Store (currently on clearance no the website), and also on post cards sold in the Ships Store.  It has been used in some other places as well.  General Manager Capt. Paul Beal commissioned the photo to be made into a painting.  This painting will be the grand prize for the 2011 Annual Florida Sea Base Invitational Tarpon Tournament.

That’s all for this morning.  Make it a good day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

27Apr

Hard Work

in Staff  •  0 comments

Don’t think that less participants = less work at the Florida Sea Base.  Yesterday the remainder of the galley staff joined forces with about half of the sailing staff to give the galley a “deep” cleaning.  It was hard, dirty, yucky, work.  The balance of the sailing staff worked on inventory and organization of the fishing and snorkeling equipment rooms.  Laura, Dave, Jess and Capt. Alex worked on scuba tank maintenance all day.  The ranger staff is slaving away painting and making the place look good for the Tarpon Tournament.  (The Guest of Honor of the Tarpon Tournament being the Chief Scout Executive.)  I worked on the 2011 National Visitation process.  (As I explained last year, Visitation was formerly known as Inspection.)

Capt. Scott reported that the Scuba Adventure crews went to two patch reefs, Arno’s and Ham.  If possible, yesterday’s conditions may have been even better than the day before.  The Scuba Certification crew made it to the pool for Confined Water Training with Instructors Megan Ware and Sargon Smith.

That pretty much sums it up.  Enjoy your day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

With the Tarpon Tournament just one week away, General Manager Capt. Paul Beal, Director of Program Rob Kolb and Food and Conference Director Tim Stanfill are devoting more and more of their time to final preparations.

I was off base most of Monday submitting to numerous medical tests.  Coral Reef Sailing is over for this season so I’m not sure what the sailing staff did to occupy their day.

The Scuba Adventure crews went to Alligator Reef for their first dive of the week.  Mike Roesel and Jim Funnell are their divemasters this week.  Capt. Scott Costa reported that the weather and water conditions were incredible.  The Scuba Certification crew worked in the classroom with instructors Sargon Smith and Megan Ware.

Divemaster Justin Cardiff has gone home for the season.  If all goes well, he will return for the summer season as Scuba Instructor Justin Cardiff.  Divemaster Jess Arms is on the injured reserve list this week with a super ear infection.  Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras took the day off.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt and Dave Ball worked on the fill whips for the scuba compressors and on scuba tank maintenance.

Here’s a look at the forecast from the National Weather Service for our final week of spring programming:

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. South wind around 10 mph.
Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. Southeast wind around 10 mph.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. South wind around 10 mph.
Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. East wind between 10 and 15 mph.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Saturday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Sunday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Monday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

And here’s the NWS marine forecast:

Tuesday…Southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 3 feet. Seas inside the reef around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers.
Tuesday Night…Southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Wednesday…Southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 3 feet. Seas inside the reef around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers.
Wednesday Night…Southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Thursday…Southeast to south winds near 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 3 feet. Seas inside the reef around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers.
Friday…Northeast winds near 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 3 feet. Seas inside the reef around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers.
Saturday…Northeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet…except higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.

A pretty good forecast with a very small chance of isolated showers.

Wash dishes – done.
Today’s post – done.
Get some sleep – oops.  But I have time for about an hour nap before the alarm goes off.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Sunday was the last crew arrival day for the 2011 Spring Season.  There is one Sea Exploring crew aboard Calypso Gypsy that departs for home on 29 April; the last of the Coral Reef Sailing crews headed home yesterday.  This last group of scuba crews (two Scuba Adventure and one Scuba Certification) depart on 01 May.

But we won’t be finished.  The Annual Tarpon Tournament will be 03 – 06 May.  As soon as they are gone it will be time to undertake the massive chore of converting the Thomas Building from conference housing to staff housing.  Essentially all of the furniture, including the beds, has to be removed and replaced with bunk beds and chests of drawers.  It is hard, physical work lugging everything down from the third floor and then back up.  Then we have a few days off and summer staff training will start at 07:30 on Sunday, 22 May 2011.

The sailing staff members were off today so Capt. Dennis Dugas took Wandering Star off the dock and put out his spinnaker so the staff could go spinnaker flying.  Here is a short video.  P4240075

I have a VERY early morning schedule today, so I have to cut this short.  Have a wonderful day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Can you guess Capt. Dennis Wyatt’s favorite thing about Easter?  If you have worked with him or had the opportunity to get to know him you wouldn’t be surprised to know that his favorite thing about Easter is chocolate bunny ears.  Yum.  On a serious side, Easter is obviously a very important day for all Christians.  If you don’t know the historic explanation of how the non-Christian icons of eggs, bunnies and chocolate crept into this holy celebration, you should make the time to research this “evolution”.  Divemaster Justin Cardiff, acting Chaplin for the Florida Sea Base this spring, delivered an Easter service for our participants and staff.  I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Justin.  “A Scout is Reverent”; and Justin serves as a great role model.

The PADI photo shoot team, Niccole Sherman, Cambria McConnell, Justin Lewis and Brad Smith departed for PADI America’s Headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California Saturday morning.  They were GREAT representatives of PADI.  I hope they are as thrilled with the results of the photo shoot as I am.

All seven of the scuba crews went to a spur and groove reef named “The Landingstrip” for their last dive of this Florida Sea Base adventure.  They were back on base for lunch and spent the afternoon cleaning their scuba gear, preparing their luau skits, packing for home, and checking out.

Four Coral Reef Sailing crews (Dutch Love. Wandering Star, Juan Cadiz and Siesta)and one Sea Exploring crew (Pirate’s Lady) returned to base to join the divers for luau.  No new crews arrived yesterday and no crews were in for shore leave.

Here’s our forecast for the last week of spring scuba programs from the National Weather Service:

Today: A slight chance of showers before 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Tonight: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Monday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 87. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Monday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.  Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.  Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Wednesday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Friday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Friday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly clear, with a low around 75. Chance of precipitation is 10%.  Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 10%.


Point Forecast: Marathon FL [Similar City Names] 24.72°N 81.07°W (Elev. 7 ft)

Visit your local NWS office at: http://www.weather.gov/keywest

The low pressure system formerly known as Invest 91L has been downgraded and forecasters say there is a 0% chance of redevelopment within the next 48 hours.  But, due to its proximity to the Florida Sea Base we will continue to monitor the remnants.

National Hurricane Center

Have a great Easter!!!

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


23Apr

Turtle Rescue

in Scuba  •  0 comments

The BSA Centennial Eagle (with Capt. Dennis Wyatt at the helm) took three Scuba Adventure crews and the PADI photo shoot team to Hammerhead (a spur and groove reef) and Davis Reef (a ledge reef) yesterday.  Captains Carol Chapman and Scott Costa took the other three Scuba Adventure crews to Victory Reef (spur and groove) and Davis Reef (a ledge reef) aboard BSA Adventure.  The BSA Adventure crews managed to capture a wounded turtle (somewhere near Cheeca Rocks) and brought it to the Florida Sea Base for subsequent transport to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon.

The Scuba Certification crew, having completed their PADI Open Water Diver certification Thursday, went to the reef for two fun dives today.  Unfortunately I did not get a report on which reefs they visited.

The Scuba Liveaboard crew returned from the Schooner Conch Pearl and they will depart for home today.  The kids said having the PADI photo shoot team on the boat for a day “made our trip even better”.  This was the last Scuba Liveaboard crew for the spring season.

Two Coral Reef Sailing crews (Island Rose and Lady Nell II) and two Sea Exploring crews (Schooners Yankee and Jolly II Rover) also returned from sea yesterday.  There were no crews on base for shore leave and only one Sea Exploring crew (Calypso Gypsy) arrived to start their adventure.

Yesterday’s weather was breezy with sunny skies and very warm temperatures.  More of the same is in store for today with a slightly increased chance for showers.  Where will 91L go?  According to the experts, it is going to go either north, south, east or west.  Definitely one of those directions or maybe a little in between like northeast or southwest.  Computers – gotta luv ’em.

Weather Underground

The staff members have been an exceptional job.  Most of the sailing and scuba staff members have been working for about 10 days straight.  Some will get extra time off this coming week.

Have a good one.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Our last participants of the 2011 spring season depart in 10 days.  The following day we will turn our full attention to making preparations for this year’s Invitational Tarpon Tournament.

The Florida Sea Base dive boats headed out again yesterday morning and completed dives at Labyrinth and Boink.  I did not hear where they went for lunch.  Three of the crews went out last night for their night dive at Alligator Reef.  The Scuba Certification crew went to Port Antigua to complete PADI Open Water Training Dives 3 and 4, completing their PADI Open Water Diver certifications.

Coral Reef Sailing crews from Juan Cadiz, Wandering Star, Lady Nell II and Dutch Love returned to the Florida Sea Base yesterday morning for shore leave.  Coral Reef Sailing crews from Island Woman, Midnight Dragon, Jewel of Athena and Calypso Poet plus the Sea Exploring crew from Calypso Gypsy returned to base yesterday afternoon to conclude their adventure.

Despite a full day of meetings, I have nothing of special interest to report from any of them.  The planning stage of the new swimming pool is progressing nicely; the Ship’s Store sales are up; we will have a recorded setting year for attendance; and preparations for the annual Invitational Tarpon Tournament are near completion.

The weather should hold for a few more days but we are watching this very early disturbance (91L) in the Atlantic.

Courtesy of Weather Underground

Hopefully this system will not affect the end of our season.

Today is a holiday for many of you, including our office staff.  I hope you have a great day. 🙂

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

 

I was honored to be able to spend yesterday on the water as First Mate aboard BSA Centennial Eagle.  Having a desk job as the BSA’s ultimate aquatics facility is a drag.

Three Coral Reef Sailing crews (Silent Harmony, Excalibur and Spindrift) returned to the Florida Sea Base yesterday to complete their adventure.  Crews from Island Rose and Lady Nell II returned for shore leave.

The Scuba Certification crew (lead by Scuba Instructor Megan Ware and Divemaster Mike Roesel) went to Alligator Reef with Capt. Alex Holoman for PADI Open Water Training Dives one and two.  The Scuba Adventure crews aboard BSA Centennial Eagle went to Long Key Ledge and Pillars of Atlantis while the crews aboard BSA Adventure went to Long Key South and Pillars of Atlantis II.  Both boats went to White Marlin Beach for lunch.  Visibility on the ocean side was excellent but it was a little choppy (2’ – 3’ seas, much better than forecasted) which made getting back on the boats challenging.  The PADI photo team spent the day aboard BSA Centennial Eagle and went out for the night dive as well.

Today I will start off with our usual 07:30 staff meeting (for the seasonal staff members).  Then at 09:00 until noon we have our monthly Team Meeting (for all full-time, year ‘round FSB staff).  Following that is another meeting at 14:00 with the contractors working on the new swimming pool complex.  My last meeting for the day starts at 19:00 with the PADI photo shoot team and the scuba participants for a sneak preview of some of Justin’s shots from this week.  Oh boy, a whole day of meetings.

Speaking of meetings, I have some prep work to do and I’m running a little late.  Bye.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The PADI photo shoot team arrived at the Florida Sea Base shortly before 08:00 yesterday.  They were joined by Tom Ruff from the BSA National Office and made their way to Marathon where they met up with the Scuba Liveaboard crew.  They were welcomed aboard by Captains Denny and Holley and Scuba Instructor Dave Ball and went to Sombrero Reef for a day of photos onboard and underwater.

No new crews arrived and no crews departed yesterday.  But we did have Coral Reef Sailing crews on base for shore leave from Island Woman, Midnight Dragon, Jewel of Athena, and Calypso Poet.

The wind picked up quite a bit today resulting in 2′ – 3′ seas on the ocean side.  The Scuba Adventure crews went to the reefs aboard BSA Centennial Eagle and BSA Adventure.  The Scuba Certification crew finished up the classroom and confined water training dives.  The crews on BSA Centennial Eagle visited Capt. Grumpy’s and Aquarium while the BSA Adventure crews went to Ham and then Capt. Grumpy’s.  The two boats then rendezvoused behind  Lignum Vitae Key on the bay side of the islands for lunch, free swim and frolicking.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt reported that several divers suffered from gastroenpukulitis while on the ocean side.

The remainder of the week is forecasted for 15 to 20 knot winds from the East resulting in 4′ – 6′ seas on the reef.  Diving for the remainder of the week will be a little more High Adventure.  Other than the increased winds, our weather is fantastic.

Be careful out there.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape