Archive for July, 2012

31Jul

QUIET NO MORE

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Monday started out with a little lightning and about 15 minutes of showers just as the morning staff meeting began.  But that was it for the day; clear skies, warm temperatures and mild breezes blessed us for the remainder of the day.  Despite a 20% chance of rain today, we will start out dry this morning.

We finally have some tropical activity.  Invest 99L is on the horizon yet too far out to be of substantial concern.  The weather community has been watching this system for a few days but did not expect it to organize.  The National Hurricane Center is now giving the system a 20% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone.  But the system does have to build to that extent to cause significant wind, rain and lightning.  I have mentioned trip insurance frequently in recent posts.  If you are coming to the Florida Keys in August it is a good idea.  We invest a lot of money annually in business interruption insurance (which does not cheap in the Florida Keys, even with a substantial deductible).

Click to enlarge.

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT TUE JUL 31 2012

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

1. A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED
ABOUT 1100 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS CONTINUES
TO PRODUCE DISORGANIZED SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR CONDUCIVE FOR SOME GRADUAL
DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS...AND THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW
CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH.

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

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
NNNN

Sailing Director Captain Rich Beliveau spent Monday in Miami at the doctor’s office.  Unfortunately, he was sentenced to another month of wearing the cast on his foot.  Director of Program Rob Kolb spent the day at the Brinton Environmental Center.  I spent the day hanging out at the Florida Sea Base.

Everything went according to schedule here.  Sailing Commissioner Stephanie Mansburger and Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras have performed magnificently overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Florida Sea Base programs this summer.  Likewise, Office Manager Susan Mahoney has taken total charge of check-in, check-out, dissemination of information to the adult leaders, managing the medical records and first aid logs, coordinating rental car transfers and keeping the scuba and sailing staff on task of meeting their arriving crews in a timely fashion.  As soon as I am 100% clear of this congestion I think I’ll go diving and stay out of these ladies’ way!

I am currently devoting about 50% of my days to preparations for the 2012 Divemaster Academy.  This is a much larger production than one might suspect.  It will take a team of four countless hours to make the 2012 DMA the best yet.  Rich Goldman, Captain Christy Clemenson and I are already discussing improvements. We will still be tweaking the program until 2 or 3 days before the graduation ceremony.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape

30Jul

BIRTHDAYS

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Captain of the Florida Sea Base dive boat BSA Tarpon, Steve Harrison, celebrated his birthday on Sunday and Captain Carol Beliveau turns 29 (again) today.  Happy Birthday!!!

Our weather was pleasant Sunday; mild wind, mostly sunny.  At 11:00 our temperature was only 88ºF, but with a relative humidity of 73% the “feels like” temperature was 102.  The chance of rain for Monday and Tuesday has been increased to 20% and Wednesday and Thursday we have a 30% chance of showers.

I received this nice email a few days ago:

Troop 898 just got home from a week at Sea Base.   They had a great time and would love to go back again.  Hank, one of the dive masters, made a great impression along with many others on staff.

The boys used a shuttle from Emerald Transportation to get to and from the airport.  Abbey, their driver, was great.  Working to coordinate with Emerald Transportation was easy.  We contacted several businesses to find transportation and Emerald by far had the best communication.  Grace, at Emerald, was a joy to work with.

Thanks to all for a great experience.

Andrea Ozment
Flowerama

Sunday was quiet, in a good way.  The divers went diving, the sailors went snorkeling and fishing and the folks on shore leave got in all of the scheduled activities, new crews arrived, other crews departed.  The Program Office at the Florida Sea Base rivals Grand Central Station on Wednesdays and Sundays.  I bet Dr. Ellen is sitting next to her indoor swimming pool with an umbrella drink and thinking about the suckers laboring away at the Florida Sea Base.

I am working on the 2012 Divemaster Academy.  It will be a historic event, the final DMA to be held in the original scuba training tanks of the Florida Sea Base.  That aside, I have a favor to ask.  If any of you are planning to apply for the 2012 DMA but haven’t done so yet (maybe because you haven’t fulfilled all of the prerequisites) please send me a brief email announcing your intentions.  Scuba Instructor extraorinaire, Rich Goldman will be arriving in a few days to help with the end of season.  But he will have two other major assignments, (1) assist with DMA preparations and (2) teach me how to tranfer my PADI PowerPoint training presentations to Keynote so I can run them from my iPad.  Captain “Awesome” Christy Clemenson and Captain “Distraction” Alex Bergstedt have both signed on for DMA duties as well.  As we start planning in earnest, I need a good handle on how many candidates we are expecting so I know how many staff members to hire.  2011 was our biggest class ever with 18 candidates.  I don’t think we will expand beyond that for 2012 so space is llimited.

Yeah Monday!!!!!

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape

29Jul

FIRE!!!

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Oops; false alarm.  Actually, SEVERAL false alarms.  The fire alarm system at the Florida Sea Base will make your ears bleed.  The pitch is so high it alone is painful but the decibel level is off the chart.  Being medicated (and on the dock instead of in the dorms) has some advantages and Friday night I slept through several false fire alarms that kept staff awake.  Scuba Instructor Megan Ware commented that there were some zombies on base this morning.  All I could reply was that at least they have a legitimate reason this time.:)

I’m feeling better (but not cured).  I stayed on the boat until after breakfast and then made my way to the office.  Between the Quarter Deck and Program Office it became obvious that something was amiss as Sea Exploring Mate Melissa “Mel” Rynd was running around the parking lot yelling something about “no trailer”.  [I never actually saw Mel, but if you’ve ever heard her talking loudly you know the voice!]  It turned out that the bus from Davis Tours had broken down and we were forced to change our SOPs and manufacture vans to carry Sea Exploring participants to the Miami airport to catch their flight home.  The normal travel schedule for the Florida Sea Base was messed up for the rest of the day.  We don’t have spare vans or bus (or anything else for that matter).  So the only way to get the crew to the airport was to divert resources from other assignments.  The seasonal staff did an excellent job of implementing the “sempre gumby” motto of the Florida Sea Base, Forever Flexible!

Office Manager Susan Mahoney and Captain Scott Penfield were kind enough to return one of my new shower power cords to West Marine for exchange.  The cord was supplying power to the vessel, but these new fangled cords have LEDs built into them to let you know the power is on.  It’s a nice touch, but one of the LEDs wasn’t working (although the cord was) and I decided that for $100 the LED should work.

I ran into Sea Exploring Mate Nick Gross on the t-dock just before lunch time yesterday.  He had his mom, Kathy, dad, Frank, and two brothers in tow.  They were very pleasant and I wish we had time to talk for a while.  Kathy is a frequent reader of this blog and was incredibly kind.  I genuinely appreciate the positive feedback I get on occasion.  It’s especially nice to meet readers face-to-face.

Rich and Cheryl Kuras are still visiting.  I crossed their path a few times yesterday.  They are very nice people and I can see a lot of each of them in Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras.  And that thought made a little light bulb come on.  Overall, our staff is an incredible group.  While I have not met all of the parents, the ones I have met are generally an outstanding group as well.  Since I seem to be the headmaster of the complaint department, its always nice to meet the kind, supportive adults that make this organization work.

The weather was great yesterday.  The only possible complaint may have been from the sailors wanting more wind.  We have a 10% chance of rain today.  The tropics remain quiet.  For now, all is well.

Now I’m going back to bed.  You see, I woke up needing to go to the bathroom.  I didn’t look at the clock, but based on experience I assumed it was about 01:00.  The aft head is currently disabled.  On the way from the aft cabin to the forward head I passed the coffee pot.  It clicked on.  “Rats, it’s 05:15” I thought to myself (because that’s the time the coffee maker is set to start).  So I used the restroom, returned to the aft cabin, collected my iPhone and iPad and returned to the salon.  I turned on The Weather Channel, cranked up the computer to write this post and poured a cup of coffee.  I was just about to hit the “publish” button when I noticed the time on the computer was 01:47.  “How did the computer clock get messed up?”.  I checked the other clocks in the room.  Guess what.  It was 01:47.  The computer was right.  My internal clock was right.  The goofy coffee maker was wrong, probably from a power flicker sometime yesterday.  So now, one post and one cup of coffee later, I’m headed back to bed.:)

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape 

Other than Tropical Storm Debby, the Florida Sea Base has been very blessed weather wise this summer.  The Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico remain very quiet.  Even the formation of tropical waves in Africa has been quiet.  If you look back at my July 2011 posts there are nearly daily updates on tropical weather development.  We will accept this blessing and we are very thankful.  However, we must remain vigilant and prepared for the remainder of the season, especially late August and all of September.  I do not hold stock in trip interruption insurance, but I think it is a VERY good idea to consider such coverage for your August Florida Sea Base trip.

Click to enlarge.

The weather concern in the USA is drought.  In most areas, a category 1 hurricane would be good news right now.

Click to enlarge.

I quarantined myself much of Friday, still trying to contain my illness.  I do not need the staff sharing whatever I have.  With cell phones and internet capability it’s not much different working from Escape than being in the office.  I was in the office from 08:45 to 10:45 and that was it; back to the boat for me.  I was able to get into a two hours on, 30 minutes off rotation.  One advantage of living alone is no one had to listed to me blowing, coughing and spitting up crud for an hour this morning.  At least the crud is working its way out.  I think I’m over the hump.  My head is still splitting and everything tastes yucky.  But I’m making progress.

How about a weather update?

NWS Forecast for: Marathon FL
Issued by: National Weather Service Key West, FL
Last Update: 7:17 pm EDT Jul 27, 2012

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 91. East wind around 10 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 82. East wind 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 91. East wind around 10 mph.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly clear, with a low around 81. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Monday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Monday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

NWS Marine Forecast:

Synopsis…AN ATLANTIC RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE WILL EXTEND ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

Today: East to southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop.
Tonight And Sunday: East to southeast winds around 10 knots. Seas around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop.
Sunday Night: East to southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers.
Monday: East to southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas around 1 foot. nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Monday Night Through Wednesday Night: East to southeast winds near 10 knots. Seas around 1 foot. Nearshore waters a light chop. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.

Our weather looks pretty decent, especially if the chance of rain stays at 20% or less with gentle breezes and temperatures between 81 and 91.  Not bad. 🙂

Captain Rich went to Miami Friday to have his broken foot examined.  He has to go back on Monday to have the cast removed.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape 

The annual local event known as Mini Lobster Season is underway.  It is a two day slaughter of the lobsters.  The season is open to non-commercial fishers only.  Thousands and thousands of divers and snorkelers descend upon the Keys for this brief event.  It is a dangerous time and generally 3 to 5 people die each year during this two day period.  The challenge for the Florida Sea base is continuing to offer a safe program during the event.  We have to deal with S.P.O.R.E.s (Stupid People on Rental Equipment) and persons consuming adult beverages while boating.  Our captains are very aware of the increased risks and will do everything possible to keep our participants safe.

I am still fighting this cold.  I went to the doctor yesterday and was prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection.  I hope to be feeling better soon.  I had self-medicated with a green liquid and a fizzy drink.  I tend to follow the theory of “if a little is good a lot is great”.  So I may have doubled up on the doses.  Bad move.  Two weeks ago my blood pressure was normal at the cardiologist’s office.  Today it was 150/100.  The doctor told me to lay off the OTC meds.

Despite a killer headaches, mild fever and hacking cough, I finished up the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course for staff members Karren Supple, Jason Carter, Hank Gordon, Justin Evans, April Oster and Keith MacDonell last night.   I sat on one end of a very long table and tried to keep the staff towards the far end.  I do not want anyone catching this crud from me.

The weather and program activities are all good.  The participants are having a great time.

The General Manager of the Florida Sea Base, Captain Paul Beal, was hospitalized Wednesday.  He is doing very well and should be back in a couple of days.

Have a great day.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape 

26Jul

SICK DAY

I have a cold or the flu and I’m taking a sick day today.  I’ll try to have something for you tomorrow.

Capt. Steve

25Jul

TOO BUSY

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The Florida Sea Base is so busy that it’s hard to keep up with the goings ons.  The weather was good, the divers went diving, the sailors went sailing, the sailors on shore leave completed all of the activities including small boat sailing, paddle boarding, tubing and kayaking.  There were no major incidents.  The worst thing that happened was the Scuba Liveaboard crew arrived late for check-in.  We served 3,539 Scouts and Scouters in the month of June.  Our Registrar, Nancy Wells, was working here when we had less than 3,500 participants each YEAR.

PADI Scuba Instructor Captain Sargon Smith has returned to the Florida Sea Base.  I wasn’t able to make time to chat with him yesterday, but he seems to be very happy to be here.  Makes you wonder how bad it must be out in the real world.

Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras was off yesterday and will be off today.  Seasonal staff members usually get one day off a week.  (Program Directors get no days off per week.)  But I made accommodations so Laura could spend one more day with her dad who recently returned from Afghanistan.

My major accomplishment of the day was making significant progress in cleaning my office.  I still have a long way to go, but it is much better.

Otherwise, the last 24 hours have been a disaster.  I tried to do make some plumbing repairs onboard  S/V Escape.  I fixed NOTHING and broke several things in the process including a rubber boot that connects pipes in the engine cooling system.  So add “get all of the coolant out of the bilge” to my do list.

I also came down with a cold or sinus infection.  I am ingesting as much vitamin C as possible and taking multiple cold medicines.  I do NOT have time for a cold.  I was feeling so bad from the cold and my mechanical and plumbing failures that I went to bed early.

Then, at 05:00 I heard the faint “beep-beep” of the battery back-up system for the computer.  The main breaker in the forward section of Escape had tripped once each day for the past two days.  I had started the process of trying to find the cause.  I assumed (always a dangerous thing to do) that the problem was onboard.  I found no issues.  Until 05:00.   I get out of bed and do the I have a cold and don’t feel well zombie walk of death through the tiny hallway that connects the captain’s quarters with the salon. I’m thinking, “No big deal.  Turn off the forward A/C, turn the main breaker back on in the boat, go back to bed.”  Simple plan.  A/C circuit breaker off.  Main breaker?  The main breaker’s not tripped.  That’s okay, sometimes they don’t trip all the way.  Flip the main breaker off.  Turn the main breaker back on.  NOTHING.  Turn on 12 volt light.  Find pants.  Put them on.  It’s still dark out so I get a flashlight.  Check the connection of the shore power cord to the boat.  There are two.  The one to the back half of the boat is lighted, indicating it’s working.  The other is dead.  Not a good sign.  Step onto the dock to turn off the circuit breaker on the pedestal.  Ah-ha.  Problem found.  The pedestal is burned up.  Not a little.  I mean crispy critter burned up.  The breaker for one shore power cord has tripped.  I unplug the cord and it is burned up.  I turn off the circuit breaker to the other cord and it too is charred and burned.  Great.  The pedestal is toast, burnt toast.  (Ha! That was funny.  Or is it just the NyQuil induced comma?)  My shore power cords are toast.  But at least the cords and connections at the boat end are okay.  That’s very good news.  Now I need to climb into the engine compartment and double check the wiring inside just to be safe.  I decided I felt too bad to do that now.  The cords are disconnected from the dock so it can’t get worse.  I will wait until the Scouts (who are sleeping on the decks of the boats beside me) wake up and I have some light to see.  If the wiring looks okay I’ll try running the generator to keep the refrigerator working and batteries charged.

I can’t move the boat until I replace the boot I broke yesterday and refill the engine with coolant.  So plugging in to shore power is an issue.  It’s actually a double issue because the cords are not serviceable either.  So I have to get to West Marine to buy two 50′ 30 amp shore power cords.  Who knows if the electrician can come out today to repair the pedestal and whatever problem contributed to the pedestal issue.  So I may be struggling with boat issues on top of this stupid cold for the next few days.

We have a staff meeting at noon today to work on our 2013 attendance projections so we can begin our budget process.  The PADI Regional Manager and Manager of the PADI International Retail and Resort Association are stopping by mid afternoon.

I have moved my laptop and air card to the Chart Room.  My fever combined with no A/C on the boat was too much.

Sick, tired, meetings, broken boat…just another day in paradise! 🙂

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Sitting in the Chart Room swatting mosquitoes

24Jul

CORRECTION

in Staff  •  2 comments

I made a mistake in yesterday’s post regarding the scuba schedule for Sunday.  I was under the impression the Florida Sea Base dive boats had headed out as scheduled and were chased back to base by the lightning and stormy weather.  That was not the case.  The boats had to delay their departure until after lunch.  We believe we received about 4″ of rain Sunday morning.  The divers were able to complete their two scheduled dives and the boats returned to base t 17:30 (5:30pm); just in time for dinner.  I VERY MUCH appreciate the efforts of the captains, divemasters and scuba staff for making these dives happen.

A weak low pressure system continues to hover over Florida.  The system has moved far enough to the north to give us a break.  We enjoyed a rain-free day Monday and it looks like we should be dry for the next several days.  Hope for the best!!!

Monday was yet another scary day at the Florida Sea Base; one of the Coral Reef Sailing adult Scouters was taken off the boat by the US Coast Guard and transported to the hospital after coughing up copious amounts of blood.  The coconut telegraph report is the Scouter will be fine.  We have not been informed of a diagnosis but an ulcer is a possible suspect.  Captain Rich Beliveau had a long, tension-filled day dealing with the paperwork.

In the early phases of the above emergency, I received a phone call from a very nice Scouter from California.  I was trying hard to be polite but I may have made him feel like I was shrugging him off.  He even commented on being a fan of this blog.  I did not catch his name and I wish I could have taken more time instead of being short with him.  If you happen to be reading today’s post, please accept my apologizes.  My rudeness was not intentional, I simply had my hands full.

Some of the Florida Sea Base staff members are pursuing the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty certification.  I met with Karren Supplee, Jason Carter, Hank Gordon, Justin Evans and April Oster last night to review their Knowledge Reviews.  I am hoping that some of the others who are interested will complete their self-study and turn in the homework soon.  The current plan is to meet Thursday evening with the five plus any others that get their homework completed in time to complete the practical exercises.  This is a simple yet important certification.  All members of the Florida Sea Base scuba staff are required to be “trained” in the administration of emergency oxygen.  We cover that during staff training.  Due to time constraints, we cannot “certify” everyone during staff training.  Completing this certification will benefit the recipients by proving credentials that they can carry with them as they apply for other jobs or scuba certifications.

Monday ended in the “good day” category.  Right now we are in the one-day-at-a-time mode.  I hope you had a good day. 🙂

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape

Congratulations are in order for new certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Keith MacDonell.  Keith took a non-conventional path to his OWSI certification but was successful none the less.  All four candidates from Florida Keys Dive Center were also successful in the bid for this coveted achievement.  It was my honor to be chosen to evaluate the rescue skills at the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) Sunday.

The weather pattern was disappointing yesterday.  It was descent enough for the divers to head out yesterday morning but they were chased back in by rain and lightning.  Then, once it was essentially too late to go back out, the weather became much better.  When I returned from the IE, some of the Coral Reef Sailing crews were having a blast sailing the small Hunters and stand-up paddle boarding.

A new tropical system Invest 90E has developed in the Eastern Pacific but the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is remaining void of tropical development.  The low pressure system off Florida is bringing fresh breezes and some rain, but nothing severe.

Click to enlarge.

I am very fortunate to have an Apple iPad.  My do list would require a ream of paper if hand written.  It will be a busy Monday.

The annual DEMA Show is in Las Vegas again this year.  The honorees for 2012 are Dan Orr and Dick Rutkowski.  DEMA has posted and good article.  The Florida Sea base Health Advisor has collaborated with Mr. Rutkowski in hyperbaric medicine for over 30 years and is very excited for his friend’s recognition.  Mr. Orr is the President of Divers Alert Network and an exceptional public speaker.

Gotta go!  I wish I had more time, but I have to rush to the morning staff meeting.  Make it a good Monday.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape 

22Jul

WEATHER

in Weather  •  2 comments

It’s been a while since I said much about the weather at the Florida Sea Base.  That’s because the weather has been very nice and of no concern.  Fortunately we will continue that pattern for the immediate future.  Dr. Masters posted on Friday:

The Atlantic is quiet
There are no tropical cyclone threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss. The models are showing formation of an extratropical cyclone along an old frontal boundary over 1,000 miles off the Northeast U.S. coast on Tuesday, and it is possible such a storm could acquire tropical characteristics and get a name. Such a storm would not be a threat to any land areas. There is an unusual amount of dry, sinking air over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean that is squashing development of tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa, so it doesn’t look too likely that the U.S. will get something it really needs–a big, wet Category 1 hurricane that sloshes ashore over the Gulf Coast, stalling over the Midwest, bringing copious drought-busting rains.

When the weather gets into this nice pattern it is easy to be lulled into a sense of false security.  June and July are typically quiet months for the Florida Sea Base as far as the weather goes.  But August holds more promise of major wind events.  We are diligent in our publications and website to recommend you consider purchasing trip insurance.  If you haven’t done so, please consider the option.  It will not make up for a lost vacation.  But at least you get some money back.

September is our month of greatest concern so hopefully we will make it through the summer without a major weather incident.  We generally do, but we are at that point where the concern and real plans for an event occur.  Like my buddy TJ Doyle always says, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.  I will inventory my hurricane supplies in the next few days and make appropriate purchases, and tweaks to Escape (like topping off the fuel tanks, running the generator and engine, etc.).

We woke up to a surprising fresh breeze Saturday; the marine data buoy at Molasses Reef was reporting gusts up to 20 knots.  Skies were mostly clear.  The air temperature was 83ºF at 08:00 and the water temperature was 85ºF.  Our high temperature was a whopping 2 degrees higher, 85º yesterday.

The National Weather Service forecast for the Florida Sea Base:

Today: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Tonight: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 81. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Monday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 92. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Monday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 82. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Saturday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

The Marine Forecast calls for a tad more wind than we would prefer, but not too bad:

Synopsis…HIGH PRESSURE RIDGING WILL PERSIST WITH THE AXIS CROSSING CENTRAL FLORIDA THROUGH TUESDAY…MAINTAINING MODERATE TO OCCASIONALLY FRESH EAST TO SOUTHEAST BREEZES ACROSS FLORIDA KEYS COASTAL WATERS. THE RIDGE WILL SHIFT TO SOUTH FLORIDA BY THURSDAY…RESULTING IN A SLIGHT DECREASE IN WINDS.

Sunday Through Monday: East to southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Scattered showers and thunderstorms.
Monday Night: East to southeast winds decreasing to near 15 knots. Seas subsiding to 3 to 5 feet. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.
Tuesday: East to southeast winds near 15 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Tuesday Night Through Thursday Night: East to southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.

At 01:30 it is 84º with 87% humidity for a feels like temperature of 97ºF.  AT 1:30 IN THE MORNING.  (I’m going to try to get back to sleep.  I was up because of an air conditioning problem.  Probably because it feels like 97º at 1:30 in the morning!)

Florida Sea Base staff member Keith MacDonell and the candidates from Florida Keys Diver Center had a successful day at the PADI Instructor Examination yesterday.  They will complete the two day process today.

Have a great day.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape

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