Archive for February, 2015



in Weather  •  0 comments


The National Weather Service forecast calls for improving conditions at the Florida Sea Base for the coming week.

Today: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 78. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. Northeast wind around 10 mph.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. North wind around 10 mph.

Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 67.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 79.

Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Point Forecast: Lower Matecumbe Beach FL
24.85°N 80.73°W (Elev. 0 ft)


This is a quiet program week at the Florida Sea Base with only one Sea Exploring crew on the water.  This is common with the up-down nature of our spring season.  However, as noted in previous posts, this spring is more consistent than the past few years.


The registration lottery for the 2016 Florida Sea Base program season closed on 15 February.  The “winners” (you’re all winners in my book and I wish I could send each of you a purple ribbon with a plastic coin on it to prove it) will be announced around the end of the month.  We always experience cancellations after the announcement from crews that have overbooked so check the Florida Sea Base website daily as programs and dates become available.

Stay warm and dry.  Rest when you can.  The spring thaw will happen soon and what a mess that will be for many. 🙂

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED




Richard Kuras took this photo at his home on Grassy Key this morning and posted it on Facebook.


Likewise, Captain Ed Marill on S/V Siesta posted this image:


Cory Lancaster is a graduate of the 2014 Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy and is currently leading a Scuba Adventure crew at the Florida Sea Base.  He posted this yesterday:

Just got back from a “great” dive at port Antigua… Seabase dive masters know the place. I chilled with a manatee, saw a spotted eagle ray, and found a golf ball. My crew did great with buoyancy so we had a crystal green ten feet of visibility. Surface temp was 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Bottom temp was 69 degrees, air temp was 58 degrees. Cold and murky but still better than sitting in a lecture hall!

And that is the bottom line.  The cold is brutal for Florida Keys standards.  But the staff and captains at the Florida Sea Base are keeping a great attitude and making the magic happen for our participants.  Scouts are diving and sailing and making ocean memories that will last a lifetime.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED



in Weather  •  0 comment

I am late in posting this due to the sporadic internet connection in my current location. My apologies.

Hi everyone,

As you may know, we are expecting a cold front to sweep through the Florida Keys early tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.  This front and subsequent surges of modified arctic air will bring the coldest air of the season into the Florida Keys.  In addition, you may expect a 4-day blow from this event, from early Wednesday through early Sunday.
The coldest morning will be Thursday morning, when low temperatures likely will range from the lower 40s up in the Ocean Reef area to the upper 40s down in Key West.
The strongest winds likely will be late Wednesday night through most of Thursday, when sustained north winds will peak near 25 knots, with frequent gusts near 30 knots possible for a few hours.
The attached graphic shows the (sustained) wind forecast for Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. EST.
For additional details and timing, please consult the following web sites:
Hourly Weather Graph:
NOAA/NWS Florida Keys Marine Weather Page:
Also, check out this experimental smartphone widget:
Take care, and stay warm!
Best Regards,
Chip K.
Kennard “Chip” Kasper
Senior Forecaster-Marine Program Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service
1315 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Mobile:    (305) 304-6712
Office:    (305) 295-1316
FAX:       (305) 296-2011

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED



in Weather  •  0 comments


It’s a chilly (darn right COLD actually) 60° this morning at the Florida Sea Base but will warm to 67° this afternoon and into the 70s for Monday and Tuesday.  The water temperature is 72°.

I cannot image how some of you are surviving the beating you have been taking in the NE.  I can only compare it to a tropical storm or hurricane coming through the Keys every couple of days for a month; simply exhausting.  For the 150,000 or so that are without power, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Places like Arkansas and Tennessee need to start preparing for snow, ice and several days of brutal cold.  The groundhog was right this year.  We are expecting a mild freeze and a tiny possibility of snow this week in the D/FW metroplex and cold and rain at the homestead in SE Texas; no where near as nice as the Keys but much better than New England.

Stay warm.  Stay dry.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED


Today is the first day of program participant arrivals for the 2015 spring season at the Florida Sea Base.  Five Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew will check in this afternoon.  Tomorrow, two more Coral Reef crews plus two Scuba Adventure crews will arrive.  And so begins another season for Program Directors Captain Luke Knuttel and Captain Scott Martin and the first spring season for Joe Angelo.  “Making ocean memories that last a lifetime” is not a bad job description.

Looking at the spring sailing and scuba schedules, this spring is more stable than has been the case for the past several years.  That is, the spring attendance is spread more evenly from mid February to the end of April.  For the past several years the schedule has been more erratic with an extremely busy week or two followed by weeks of little or no attendance.


Reservations for attendance at the Florida Sea Base is primarily determined by a computer controlled lottery that is held from mid January to mid February of the preceding year.  The registration lottery for 2016 will close tomorrow.  Once the winners are announced, any open dates and all cancellations will be posted on a daily basis on the Florida Sea Base website.


The weather looks pretty decent this week; highs in the mid to upper 70s.  The week starts sunny but there is a chance of rain by mid-week.


Gentlemen (Captain Dennis Wyatt especially), don’t forget the cards, flowers, chocolates, movies and dinners that will be expected by the ladies today.  You may be able to squeak by with excuses this morning, but you better have it together by this afternoon!

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED

Florida Sea Base​ Coral Reef Captain Tim Mahoney lost his battle with lung cancer overnight.  I was honored to have his lovely bride, Susan Mahoney, serve as the Program Office Manager for two summers.  I was always impressed with Captain Tim’s quiet, yet very noticeable, presence.  If you sailed with Captain Tim aboard S/V Flamingo I know you had an experience of a lifetime.

Captain Ed Marill, S/V Siesta, was a childhood friend of Captain Tim and posted the following on Facebook this morning.

Sad news. My good friend Tim Mahoney passed away this morning.

This is the message I just sent to the Boy Scout of America’s sailing staff in Islamorada:

Tim Mahoney had been very ill with lung cancer at his home in Port Charlotte for the last few months. He leaves behind his wife Susan, a daughter Emma, and a son Flynn.

I became friends with Tim when he was my classmate in Cuba, starting in third grade at Ruston Academy, in Havana. We have stayed in touch over many years, and we sailed together aboard SIESTA in San Francisco Bay.

After he lived in Cuba, he and his parents lived in Argentina, among other places. Tim has had a love affair with sailboats since very young. He built several sailboats himself, and owned other very fast racing sailboats in the Bay Area.

When Tim and his wife, Susan, retired and sold their very successful wood flooring business in the Bay Area, they commissioned the building of a beautiful luxury 46′ catamaran in South Africa. They sailed their brand-new boat across the south Atlantic to South Florida. After a successful boat show in Miami, where they sold a sistership, they sailed over to Marathon, and spent a couple of months at our dock with us. We had a wonderful time together. We had some unforgettable sails aboard their cat.

They learned about my work with Seabase, and expressed interest. Rich came down to meet them and see their catamaran boat, FLAMINGO, at our dock. Tim and Susan decided to pursue the SeaBase opportunity.

Subsequently, they sold their catamaran in exchange for some cash plus a beautiful waterfront house in Port Charlotte, purchased their Whitby 42′, and both joined Florida Seabase three years ago.

His boat, FLAMINGO, was sold just a few weeks ago.

Tim was a man of few words, strong but a bit shy. And as a friend, second to none. I will miss him.

Below is the sad text message I received from Susan this morning:

Tim died early this morning very peacefully. I was with him. Hospice was beyond wonderful! I had them dress him in his FSB shorts and shirt. They have taken him to be cremated. We don’t have plans for a service/memorial yet. It will be later in the year when we can get everyone together. Please let FSB know. If anyone chooses, please have donations made to Tidewell Hospice in Port Charlotte. They are on the web. Thank you Ed.”

May Tim’s soul rest in peace.

Captain Ed, S/V SIESTA

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED




If you are not a member of the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association, why not?  The money is used for scholarships and Nalgenes® for Florida Sea Base staff members (and other projects).  As a former staff member, former participant or parent of a former (or future) participant, what better way to show your support of the staff?  Click on the link and sign up.

The reunion dates have been set for 02 – 04 October 2015 at the Florida Sea Base.  Reunion costs and activities are still pending so check the SBAFA Facebook page often.  I will share the information on this site when it becomes available.


If you are lucky enough to be attending the Florida Sea Base later this month, here is AccuWeather’s  forecast for the last 2 weeks of February.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.23.47

I don’t know where you are, but you’re weather is probably not as nice as at the Florida Sea Base.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED


The Florida Sea Base recently placed this post on their Facebook page:

We are halfway through the lottery sign-up period for 2016 Sea Base reservations. Don’t miss out, get your requests in by February 15th. FLASH! We have some late cancellations for primetime summer 2015 dates, including a couple of Scuba Adventures and Out Island Adventures. Act fast, these are first come first served.

You can call Nancy or Gerri at 305-664-4173 for more information.


The Florida Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association has posted dates for the 2015 reunion on Facebook:

Please join us October 2-4, 2015 for the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association Reunion! It will be a GREAT event for the whole family! SHARE with all of your buddies – the more, the merrier!


I realize it is the dead of winter for most of you, but the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend is the kickoff of the 2015 Florida Sea Base spring season.  Program Directors Captain Scott Martin (BEC programs), Captain Luke Knuttel (Florida Sailing programs) and Joe Angelo (scuba programs) are making final preparations for the first program participants of 2015.  RETIRED Program Director Captain Steve Willis feels their pain and I wish them the best of luck.

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED
Shivering in the Piney Woods of SE Texas