Archive for April, 2013

28Apr

SHHHHHH

in Weather  •  2 comments

CONFERENCES

It is quiet at the Florida Sea Base.  But that will change with a vengeance on Wednesday as 160 kids and adults from Appleseed Expeditions descend upon our facility for four days.

PROGRAM

Spring is done.  Summer staff training starts at 0730 on 19 May.

ESCAPE

We are making good progress on the monumental task of installing a new engine and transmission in S/V Escape.  Sunday, Steven Raymond and I removed approximately 20 gallons of oil/antifreeze/water/sludge that has accumulated in a confined space under the engine over the past 35 years.  Steven Raymond and Captain Mike Lucivero spent the rest of the day cleaning the bilge.  STINKY!!! The new Yanmar engine and transmission should be in the boat Tuesday and running by Friday if the weather cooperates.

WEATHER

I am somewhat concerned about the chances for rain this week and whether the weather will impact the re-powering of Escape.

Monday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Monday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 85. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Tuesday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southeast wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Wednesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Wednesday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 75. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Thursday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Thursday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 83. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Banished to Annex Room 9

SAILING

The Sea Badge Underway (or Sea Badge at Sea – I have heard if called both) participants returned victoriously to the Florida Sea Base.  They held a graduation ceremony this evening and will head home early Sunday.  Thus concludes the sailing programs for spring 2013.

SCUBA

The Scuba Adventure crew completed their last dive this morning.  They enjoyed their luau tonight and depart Sunday morning.  Thus concludes the scuba programs for spring 2013.

CONFERENCE

Troop 50 from Sarasota, Florida checked in Friday afternoon, went snorkeling this afternoon, spent a lot of time playing volleyball, paddle boarding, kayaking and will head for home Sunday. Fear not, the Conference department still has a busy week ahead.

TARPON TOURNAMENT

Preparations for the 2013 Florida National High Adventure Invitational Tarpon Tournament are well underway.  The base is looking very nice.  We will make final preparations next week.

S/V ESCAPE

Escape is in the boatyard and progressing nicely.  Steven Raymond and Captain Sargon Smith sanded the bottom Friday.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday the dynamic duo painted the bottom (two coats).  Sargon is moving on to a temporary job offer in Key West Sunday.  Steven is staying on my personal payroll and will help prep, clean and paint the bilge Sunday.

On Saturday, Captains Mike and Kelly Lucivero removed the engine and transmission from Escape.  (That will make the cleaning and painting the engine room a lot easier.)  Hopefully we will be prepared to install the new Yanmar engine and transmission Monday.

If you know anyone interested in purchasing a well running Perkins 4-154 diesel motor with transmission, please ask them to call me at 305-393-7373.  I have several spare parts and at least one 3 bladed and one 4 bladed left handed prop also available.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The engine is running very well.  It was in the boat when I bought Escape and I do not know how many hours are on it.  Parts are getting hard to come by so it can be used as a running unit or can be a great source of good spare parts.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Living in Room 9 while S/V Escape is on the hard

SAILING

The last Coral Reef Sailing crew of the 2013 spring season returns to the Florida Sea Base today aboard S/V Dutch Love with Captain Harman.  The Sea Exploring concluded during my vacation.

The Sea Scouts participating in Sea Badge at Sea are still at sea aboard S/V Chanticleer with Captain Scott Penfield.  I think they return Saturday.

SCUBA

We are down to one Scuba Adventure crew at the Florida Sea Base.  They will conclude their program Saturday.  Divemaster Tyler Giblin is leading the crew with Captain Christy Clemenson at the helm and Emily Sepeta serving as 1st Mate.

WEATHER

Very warm, mostly sunny with some periods of clouds and threats of light rain, and breezy pretty much sums it up for the last several days.

TARPON TOURNAMENT

The remaining staff are being tasked with preparing the Florida Sea Base for our annual Invitational Tarpon Tournament.  This is our only fund raiser of the week and will take place 07-10 May as we host 28 fishermen and 14 professional fishing guides on a quest to catch the first tarpon and the most tarpon.  Tarpon fishing is a catch and release activity.  While this event will raise ten of thousands of dollars for the Florida Sea Base, of more importance is the potential to impress new potential Florida Sea Base Advisory Committee members and long term financial supporters.

PERSONAL

My lovely bride has returned to her job in Texas.  My personal, non-BSA, focus for the next week to 10 days is repowering and bottom work on S/V Escape.  Scuba Instructor Steven Raymond and Captain Sargon Smith are on my personal payroll for the next few days.  Today we are traveling 6-7 hours to move Escape from the Florida Sea Base to Key Largo where we will anchor out for the evening.  At high tide tomorrow morning we will make out way into the slip at the boatyard.  Steven and Sargon will start work on sanding and painting the bottom as soon as the boat is hauled, power washed and blocked by the boatyard.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

21Apr

CHECKING IN

in Program  •  0 comments

Just a few quick notes:

Our last Scuba Liveaboard crew of the spring departed the morning of Sunday, 21 April.  Our final Scuba Adventure crew of the spring checked in that afternoon.

Sea Badge Underway is underway at the Florida Sea Base.  The inaugural session is being conducted aboard S/V Chanticleer with Captain Scott Penfield.  One of the participants is National Sea Scout Commodore Vice Admiral Charles Wurster, USCG Ret.

Tom Gaffron sent me this photo Friday.  (Sorry for the delayed post Tom; I’ve been trying to spend some time with my lovely bride this week).

photo

If you click on the image it should open in the proper orientation.  This has happened twice now.  I have to figure out why its loading the thumbnail sideways but opening upright.

It is 87 degrees and partly sunny (thank goodness for the clouds) at 14:30 (2:30 pm).  I am MUCH better with heat than in the cold.  Thanks for the photo Tom.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

19Apr

WINTER WEATHER

in Weather  •  0 comment

All winter (and so far, all of this spring) The Weather Channel has provided exhaustive coverage of 25 named winter storm systems, Yogi being the storm du jour.  They are doing an excellent job.

BUT

Other than a little pop-up on my iPhone weather app from Weather Underground (which is owned by The Weather Channel), I have not heard any talk about the situation in Key West.  Every day since 11 April 2013 Key West has experienced a record setting high minimum temperature; that is, the overnight lows are warmed than ever.  (They afternoons have been very warm as well.)

Once again, if you are up to your eyes in snow, the Florida Sea Base is open for business!

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

 

16Apr

UPDATE

in Program  •  2 comments

Scuba Instructor Dave Ball reported today that the Schooner Conch Pearl is preparing for dives at Looe Key, and incredible reef near the Brinton Environmental Center.  My favorite thing about Looe Key is the sharks.  We see a lot of nurse sharks on our part of the reefs, but it is common to see reef sharks and bonnethead sharks at Looe.  Unfortunately, the reef is too far away to be visited by our Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certification crews.

A group checked in at the Florida Sea Base today as a trial run for future NAYLE programs.  Please click on the link for details about the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience.  The lucky group will spend the week with Captain Brian Stolzenberger onboard S/V Misty Shoals.

The weather has been hot and humid; yeah summer!!! If you are snow bound in North Dakota, why on earth aren’t you here with us?

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

We have very little going on in the program department at the Florida Sea Base for the next two weeks.  My lovely bride is coming to visit for a week and the week after Escape will be in the boatyard for a bottom job, remodeling of the engine room, and a complete re-power including a new engine, transmission, propellor shaft, propellor, instrument panel and accessories. Therefore, I will post when I have some news.  For now:

SUNDAY

One Scuba Liveaboard crew arrived.  They will spend the week on the Schooner Conch Pearl with Scuba Instructors David Ball and Alex Bergstedt.  Four Coral Reef Sailing crews also checked in.  They are scheduled to be aboard Sprindrift, Barefoot, New Dawn and Foreign Affair.  I spent a couple of hours in a very warm engine compartment making some small repairs to get Escape operational; battery maintenance, replace the siphon break on the generator raw water intake, and replace two hose clamps on the engine exhaust system.

MONDAY

No new crews.  The scuba staff (except Ball and Bergstedt) have the day off.  Three of the Newtons will be taken to Marathon for haul-out and USCG inspection over the course of the week.  I am very close to completing staff hiring for the summer season.  I need to call a few candidates to confirm their availability and then sit down with Administrative Assistant Cheryl Ferreri who prepares all of our Letters of Employment, hiring documents, and contracts.

TUESDAY

Three Coral Reef Sailing crews will be on base for shore leave.

WEDNESDAY

Four Coral Reef Sailing crews will be on base for shore leave.  I will drive to Fort Lauderdale to pick up my wife.

THURSDAY

The full time staff of the Florida Sea Base will meet in the morning.  Three Coral Reef Sailing crews will return to the Florida Sea Base after lunch for luau.

FRIDAY

Four Coral Reef Sailing crews will return for luau.

SATURDAY

The last Coral Reef Sailing crew of the season will check-in.  The last Scuba Liveaboard crew of the spring season will return to the Florida Sea Base for luau.

SUNDAY

The last Scuba Adventure crew of the spring season arrives.

WEATHER

The forecast is for mostly sunny skies, highs around 85°F and lows around 77°F with east winds in the 15 to 20 knot range.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

 

I got up before the crack of dawn yesterday and drove over 60 miles from the Florida Sea Base to the Honda dealership because the factory option nose mask on my brand new Accord would not stay attached on the left front fender.  About 45 minutes after checking in, the service manager told me the problem was fixed.  So I drove about 15 miles to my next stop of the morning.  When I got out of the car the nose mask was flapping on the left front fender.  My next stop was back at the dealership. They needed time to research a solution and asked if I could come back another day.

Once back at the base I started devising my own solution.  I haven’t been back on the highway yet, but I think I fixed the problem.  If you want a job done right…

MEANWHILE, back at the ranch:

SCUBA

The Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certifications completed their final dive of the week.  They were later joined but the Scuba Liveaboard crew returning from a week aboard the Schooner Conch Pearl.  Captain Holley Whitley was kind enough to send me this photo of a Goliath Grouper checking out the Pearl.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I’m not sure what’s up with the photo.  It is rotated counter clockwise here.  When I click on the photo it enlarges and the autocorrects the rotation.  I apologize if you have any challenges viewing it.

No new scuba crews arrived Saturday.

SAILING

One Sea Exploring crew returned to the Florida Sea Base Saturday after a week aboard the Schooner Yankee.  Three new Coral Reef Sailing crews checked in.

WEATHER

As promised yesterday morning, Saturday was great weather wise.  There were some threatening clouds in the late afternoon, but that is very common this time of year.  The temperature and the humidity are on the climb.  For the coming week, we have a slight chance of rain daily, highs around 83-84°F and lows around 76-77°F.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

 

13Apr

SATURDAY OFF?

in Program  •  0 comments

I have an appointment at the Honda dealership at the crack of dawn Saturday morning.  Hopefully I will be back to the base by noon.  I cannot afford a full day away right now.

SAILING

One Sea Exploring crew and two Coral Reef Sailing crews returned to dock Friday to end their adventures Friday.  No new crews checked in and no one was in for shore leave.  Another Sea Exploring crew will return to base on Saturday.  Three new Coral Reef Sailing crews arrive Saturday.

SCUBA

One Scuba Liveaboard crew returned to base Friday and another returns on Saturday.  The three Scuba Adventure and two Scuba Certification crews will make their last dive Saturday morning.

WEATHER

Today is going to be PERFECT.  Winds about 8 knots, sunny and warm.  (We topped out at 87°F Friday.)

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

12Apr

MORE WIND

in Staff  •  0 comments

STAFF

Jennifer Walk graduated from Class 8 of the Florida Sea Base Academy.  Jenny emailed yesterday with great news; she has received a PADI/Venturing scholarship to pay for her PADI Instructor training.  With a little luck, she will be able to rejoin our scuba staff at the end of this summer’s season.

SCUBA

The dives crews tried to brave the fury of the winds and sea of the Atlantic yesterday, but Mother Nature prevailed.  The Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certifications crews retreated to Port Antigua on the bay side of the islands.  Scuba Instructor David Ball wrote from the Scuba Liveaboard Conch Pearl, “Just a quick update from Key West Harbor.  We’re diving like fools, regardless of the high winds, the fair visibility and the occasional puke break.”  It has been a challenging weather week.  We have experienced a lot of stomach distress on the scuba certification boat but it is unclear if it is seasickness, a stomach bug being shared by the crew, other causes or a combination of all of these.

SAILING

Two Coral Reef Sailing crews were on the water yesterday.  No crews were on base for shore leave.

WEATHER

We had spotty rain yesterday and a brief shower again just after midnight.  The wind should digress a little bit today, mostly later in the afternoon.  This may be of little relief for the divers today, but Saturday’s dive should be a good one.  We will continue to be very warm today with light showers now-and-again.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

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