Archive for June, 2014

WEATHER

The Florida Sea Base is fortunate to have several crews from the Minneapolis area every year.  I just wanted to say that I hope you are hanging in there.  The current flooding following such a brutal winter has to be a little demoralizing.  Hang in there.  There’s no where to go to avoid weather.

We are at that time of year when our local stress level is up due to the potential of severe wind events in the Keys.  2014 is forecasted to be a mild hurricane season.  However, in the back of our minds, we all know that one major hurricane can easily remove the Florida Sea Base from the next update of Google Maps like it was never here.

Invest 91L now has about an 80% chance of development.  The good news for the Florida Sea Base is the system should start lifting to the NE soon.  The bad news is that it may creep as much as 100 miles closer to us before making that turn.  The closer it gets the stronger the winds are likely to be.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.08.08

I’m sure Captain Rich Beliveau will be watching this system intently as it double backs and approaches North Carolina.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 4.29.30

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the National Weather Service forecast is 5 to 10 knot winds from the West, hot in the afternoon, warm and night and a chance for a thunderstorm.  Last night we had NW winds at 17 to 20 knots.  But this morning we are back down to 10 knots.

PROGRAM

Please don’t be overly intimidated by Invest 91L.  I may be dwelling on it more than I should.  It is our first tropical system of the year and interesting in many ways.  But so far I don’t expect anything more for the Florida Sea Base than some wind and maybe a better chance of showers.  Dealing with challenging weather is a day to day, sometimes hour to hour part of life on the water.  It is a part of the High Adventure experience and gives us a better appreciation of the perfect days.  This little system in no way compares to the weather difficulties many of you are experiencing at home right now.

Yesterday was a typical Sunday with six Scuba Adventure crews, five Coral Reef Sailing crews, one Scuba Certification crew and one Sea Exploring crew checking out in the morning and six Scuba Adventure crews, five Coral Reef Sailing crews, one Scuba Certification crew and one Sea Exploring crew checking in after noon.  We are rocking and rolling with 61 program days remaining.

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

WEATHER

This low has been hanging around for a couple of weeks.  There has been a lot of chatter about it developing but now it looks a little more favorable.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 12.56.08

There is a chance for a tropical storm to spin up from this.  Even so, it is not currently forecasted to come far enough south to have a major effect on the Florida Sea Base before it makes a u-turn and heads NE.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 12.56.46

We will be watching this closely.

Last night this graphic was updated to include a potential cone of uncertainty.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 6.02.29

The system does not look too threading on radar this morning.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 6.09.53

There is the possibility of a storm cranking up in the Eastern Pacific as well.  But, it will be no threat to the Florida Sea Base.

Locally, we are stuck in a rut.  Not a bad rut mind you.  Hot days, warm nights and always a chance of a thunderstorm.

 IDC

The Florida Sea Base will hold its second PADI Instructor Development Course this fall.  Candidates will arrive on 24 September.  The IDC will run from 25 September through 03 October,  The PADI Instructor Exam will be held in Key Largo on 04 – 05 October.  Candidates must be PADI Divemaster certified (or other agency equivalent), have proof of current First Aid and CPR certification, and evidence of 100 logged dives.

We will likely follow last year’s format with the candidates paying for the two PADI online training courses (IDC online and Dive Theory online), PADI Instructor application fee, EFR (CPR and first aid) Instructor application fee and the PADI Instructor Exam fee.  The Florida Sea Base will provide the IDC crew oak, EFR Instructor start-up kit, room, board, tanks, weights, boat, pool, staff and instructor fees.  This will be a significant savings to the candidate.  PADI Course Director Bert Hubby has signed on to co-teach the course with me.

For more information, click on the LINKS tab on this site and scroll to the bottom of the page.  Interested persons should contact me at Steve.Willis@scouting.org.

DMA

The 11th annual Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy will be held in December.  Click on the LINKS tab on this site and scroll to the bottom of the page for a detailed informational flyer and an application.

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

 

28Jun

OFF

in Staff  •  0 comments

STAFF

I’m taking the morning off.  (I need to diagnose an electrical problem on Escape.)  But Scuba Instructor Rich Goldman is hard at work back in New Jersey.  Here’s his text from this morning:

High tide 9:08am. Can jump tide by 1 hour so I am meeting my student at 7am (enough time to brief OW 3 and plan OW 4.  Right off the beach in 62 degree water.  No boat diving so this is WORK.  How I miss the Sea Base. Really gives you an appreciation of how much easier it is to teach down there.
After this I drive 3 hours to certify camp staff in Healcare Provider CPR, Wilderness First Aid, Blood Borne Pathogens and Epi-Pen administration.  Have a gr8 day sir.
Pompano1_21 - Version 2
Rich added that he is hoping for 10′ of visibility this morning.  Fortunately he has one student instead of eight.  The conditions remind me of the lakes back home.  Scuba instruction can be a dream job.  But it is a job, and just like other jobs, it can be less than ideal at times.  Rich will rejoin the Florida Sea Base staff later this summer.
Now I need to check out this electrical issue.

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

27Jun

TEAM MEETING

in Staff  •  0 comments

STAFF

The full time staff of the Florida Sea Base meets monthly to discuss our financial status, program issues, facility projects, food services, retail sales, administrative needs, next year’s enrollment, and other needs of the organization.  We held our June meeting yesterday.  (It was delayed a week due to our National Camp Accreditation inspection last week.)

Next month we will have our regular Team Meeting plus a separate meeting to set attendance assumptions for 2015.  That will in turn give us our income projection for 2015.  The operating budget for the Florida Sea Base comes from campers’ fees.  We have a few very kind supporters who provide funds for participant scholarships and supports of our annual tarpon fishing tournament which raises money, usually devoted to one special project of the year.

WEATHER

Plotter.php

 

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

26Jun

FUN IN THE SUN

in Program  •  0 comments

PROGRAM

Sailing Director Captain Luke Knuttel took this photo of BSA Centennial Eagle yesterday as the boat was passing White Marlin Beach on her return leg to the Florida Sea Base.

Unknown

I mentioned all of the fish Captain Harry Fink’s crew caught this week while sailing on S/V Gypsy Wind.  Captain Harry was kind enough to give me about a pound of maui-mahi filets.  Fresh maui twice in one week.  Yummy!!!!

10392290_676925919053173_2816477298598488136_n

Yesterday was a very busy check-in day at the Florida Sea Base.  Six Scuba Adventure crews, five Coral Reef Sailing crews, one Scuba Certification crew and one Sea Exploring crew arrived to begin an adventure of a lifetime.

WEATHER

The heat index was 91°F at 03:00 this morning.  Our forecasted high today is 91° with a heat index of 108.  We have a 20% chance of a scattered shower daily for the coming week.  This is normal for this time of year.

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

 

 

25Jun

BOAT DRIVER

in Program  •  0 comments

PROGRAM

I had the honor of driving one of the Florida Sea Base scuba boats yesterday morning.  If was the final dive for the Wednesday Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certification crews.  Despite the fact that I spend most of my time behind a desk, I am a fairly decent boat driver.  And despite my age, I am a still an accomplished scuba diver.

The divers did a great job.  Some were very excited by the “humongus” lobster they saw.  Almost everyone saw more than one Lionfish.  I heard more than one report of Lionfish big enough to eat.  (They are an invasive specie and very good tasting.)

WEATHER

I haven’t mentioned Northern Tier in a long time.  I was watching The Weather Channel while writing this and they mentioned that conditions may be very severe in the Northern Tier area this coming weekend.  That’s a long way off meteorologically so maybe they will be wrong.

The tropics are still quiet but we are expecting another system to crank up in the Eastern Pacific in the next week. It too will likely move west and not pose a threat to the Florida Sea Base.

Have you ever wondered how the weather folks know when a season starts?  I stumbled across a simply explanation recently.  In the northern hemisphere, the first day of summer is the day that the sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Cancer.  [The Brinton Environmental Center is less than 1° North of the Tropic of Cancer.]  The sun is directly over the Equator on the first day of fall.  Winter begins when the sun crosses the Tropic of Capricorn and spring has sprung when the sun returns to the Equator.

imagee

Image from http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/imagee.htm.

Locally, we are hot.

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

24Jun

H-O-T

in Program  •  0 comments

WEATHER

Yesterday’s heat index was 108°F at the Florida Sea Base.  We are forecasted for 110°F heat index today.  Wednesday the heat index should drop to about 105 for a few days.  Water and sunscreen are not optional.  Hydrate or die!

There was a nasty storm on mainland Monroe County after supper last night.  It was headed straight for Sea Base.  I moved my car out where it could get a good carwash, I set my dodger up on Escape to keep some of the rain out, it lightninged, it thundered… and then the storm went east of us.  No rain, no carwash.

PROGRAM

Monday was another incredible program day.  There are only 67 program days remaining in the 2014 summer season.  We did not have any major injuries reported yesterday.

STAFF

Dockmaster Lauren Sander sent me this photo taken from the Florida Sea Base seawall.

20140620_201132

Phenomenal sunset photos like this are very frequent at the Florida Sea Base.

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

PROGRAM

Maybe, just maybe, I can be caught up just enough by next weekend to spend a little time out of the office.  Is it the light at the end of the tunnel or is it a train?

The Scouts are catching fish.

IMG_1009
S
cuba Liveaboard Schooner Conch Pearl’s morning catch.

Captain Harry Fink on S/V Gypsy Wind reported that last week’s Coral Reef Sailing crew caught 365 fish.  A Sea Exploring adult leader came into the office yesterday saying his crew on the Spirit of Independence caught so many mahi-mahi that they got tired of it.  There are a LOT of other fish crazy captains at the Florida Sea Base.  The Scouts are catching fish.

Sailing Director Captain Luke Knuttel went fishing yesterday (his day off) to see if he could cash in on the action.  He told me that we went out to about 800′ of water, killed the engine, sat adrift in calm water and caught mahi like nobody’s business.  He was kind enough to bring me a very nice fillet last night.

WEATHER

The Atlantic basin is quiet.  There is another potential system in the Eastern Pacific but it is moving west into the open ocean.  And locally it is definitely summer.  When I came aboard Escape late yesterday afternoon it was 95° in the main salon.  I hosed down the deck and cranked up the a/c.  It had cooled to 85 by bed time.

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

22Jun

DAY OFF

in Program  •  0 comments

PROGRAM

I was able to relax a little yesterday.  But by 1:30 my services were required in the office; there were some concerns with the paperwork for one of the arriving crews.  Today will be a long day of emailing scuba crews about medical review issues in the morning and checking in crews in the afternoon.

All programs are proceeding very well.  We have the usual issues like sunburn, not enough properly functioning showers (there are NEVER enough), the continued delays with the new swimming pool, etc.  It seems we are having an unusually high number of incidents involving barotrauma to ears.  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we must all equalize our ears when snorkeling and scuba diving.  If you are a certified diver you learned this in your Open Water Diver training.  If you are an inexperienced snorkeler, you will be taught how to do this your first day at the Florida Sea Base.  After that, it is up to you.  No one can equalize your ears for you.  We are taking someone to the ER or ENT almost daily.  Some days two people a day.  And one of the kids was an over achiever and blew out BOTH ears snorkeling.

WEATHER

Typical summer conditions.  The water temperature is 83°F, flirting with 84.  Almost everyone is swimming and diving in t-shirts and swimsuits.  (For the benefit of the scuba divers, we seldom have thermoclines in the Keys.  83 on the surface generally means 83 at depth.)

Plotter.php

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

21Jun

ST. THOMAS

in Program  •  0 comment

SEA BASE ST. THOMAS

The USVI sailing program is having an incredible first season.  The 2015 season will be 50% larger, but I can’t imagine it being more amazing.  Watch this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvKH5mhyow0&feature=youtu.be

And follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seabase.st.thomas

WEATHER

We are starting the morning without rain at all of the Florida Sea Base campuses.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 6.35.42

The rain NW of St. Thomas is moving towards our program area, but it appears to be breaking up.  Daily showers are always possible at all our our locations at this time of year.

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