Archive for September, 2015

I apologize for my lack of recent posts.  I will catch you up on a few things in the near future.  But this post is about two former Florida Sea Base staffers and one of their children that could use your help.

“Hello Sea Base crews past, present and future!  It’s Rachel (Metzger) Szostek and Jason Szostek here! (Sea Base Staffers ca. 2006-2009. Rachel was a Coral Reef Mate/Divemaster/Sea Exploring mate and Jason was a Ranger/Photographer/Base Steward.)
We have asked Capt. Steve to share our story in the hopes that some of you might remember us and be willing to lend a hand, either through your troop or venture crew activities or through individual efforts, in order to help our son raise enough money for an Autism Service Dog.
Jason and I met at Florida Sea Base, married in October 2010, and now have two beautiful children, Josiah who is 3.5 and Judah, who is 15 months (future FSB staff members)!! Last December, our oldest son Josiah  was diagnosed with moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am sure many of you know someone affected with autism. Josiah’s autism affects nearly every area of our lives and has become a very time-consuming and expensive disorder to manage. You can read more about our daily lives with autism at my blog, We also have a lengthy description of his abilities and limitations on our fundraising page, linked below.
Jason and I have been working very hard to get him the best in treatment, and we have recently been approved to fundraise for a service dog through 4 Paws for Ability, a non-profit that connects children and veterans to service dogs for a wide range of disabilities. As part of our agreement with 4 Paws, we are expected to fundraise $15,000 to help cover some of the costs associated with breeding, fostering, and training the animal. Would you be willing to help us meet our goal through a donation or fundraising effort? All donations go directly to 4 Paws (and not to us), which is a 501c3 and makes any donations fully tax-deductible. You can learn more about 4 Paws, service dogs, and our fundraising efforts at:
At a tender age, and without a single word of communication, Josiah exemplifies many of the tenants of the Scout law, including being helpful, friendly, kind, loyal, and especially more brave than anyone I know. Please, if you can skip a morning cup of coffee and donate just $5 to his cause, we would be ever so grateful to the Scouting community that brought us together and will continue to be a part of our lives as our boys reach Tiger Cub age (trust me, it can’t come soon enough)!”

Rachel Szostek

JD, 2012
Jason and Rachel are one of the few Florida Sea Base couples that stuck together and are making a life and family together.  Any assistance you can afford Joshia will be greatly appreciated by the Szozteks.
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Director – RETIRED
Aboard S/V Escape


in Weather  •  0 comments

Labor Day, the reminder that fall is soon to come, is here again.  The staff at the Florida Sea Base is recovering from the program season and preparing for the conference season.  I hope you are enjoying a safe weekend.


Tropical Storm Fred is dead and now we are watching T/S Grace.


It is encouraging that the track forecast shows Grace diminishing as she crosses the upper Antilles.  IF the system makes it to the Florida Sea Base, it should arrive before the start of the PADI Instructor Development Course that starts in 10 days.

Dr. Jeff Masters posted on his WunderBlog:

Over the next couple of days, Grace will move over sea-surface temperatures of 27-28°C (80-82°F), slightly above average for this time of year. Wind shear will be relatively light beneath a weak upper-level ridge. The National Hurricane Center projects Grace to become a strong tropical storm by late Monday, and I’d put at least 50-50 odds on the likelihood of Grace making it to minimal hurricane status by Monday or Tuesday. Later in the week, as Grace moves west of 40°W, the storm will encounter an intensifying belt of southwesterly upper-level winds extending from the Caribbean into the central Atlantic. Vertical wind shear of more than 40 knots will develop, and Grace is likely to decay significantly as the shear disrupts its circulation and injects dry air into its core. NHC projects Grace to be no more than a minimal tropical storm by Thursday, as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.


Applications are still coming in and it is NOT too late for you to submit an application.  More information can be found on the Scuba Training page.  We are staving to fill the class with 16 viable candidates.  The success of the DMA is critical to Program Director Joe Angelo’s efforts to find sufficient, Scout appropriate, competently trained scuba staff members for next year.


I will spend the remainder of this week with my dad in Jasper, Texas.  Saturday I will hit the road for the Florida Sea Base.  Monday I’ll be reassembling S/V Escape which was made ready for Tropical Storm Erika by Captain “Awesome” Christy Costa, Captain Reed Beasley and Scuba Instructor Jennifer Walk.  After that, I will be making preparations for the IDC.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Program Diretor – RETIRED