Good morning.  It’s 03:36 at the Florida Sea Base.  I got up to check the 02:00 weather update.  All is well here.  All of the sailboats are docked at Sea Base or in some other marina.  The scuba divers on base completed a night dive last night.  The divers on the Scuba Liveaboard Conch Pearl completed three or four day dives plus a night dive last night.  They are at dock on Stock Island.

Right now we are experiencing the calm before the storm.  There is almost no wind on the Florida Sea Base dock and it is not raining.  I can see the moon through the clouds to our southwest, maybe an hour and a half before it sets for the night.  I checked US and Cuban radars.  There is a large area of gentle rain over Andros Island, Bahamas, right now.  Not much else.  Maximum winds from T/S Bonnie are estimated in the 40 mph range.  The National Weather Service forecast for our area reads:

Today: Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 88. North wind 20 to 25 mph increasing to between 40 and 50 mph. Winds could gust as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tonight: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 80. Windy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph becoming east. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

So we are expecting some rain and a few hours of fairly serious wind.  The winds should be back to normal by this evening.  We will do our best to entertain the kids on the base today and should be back to normal operations on Saturday.

All of the ships have been ordered off the Deepwater Horizon site until the storm makes landfall in Louisiana.  That will obviously stop the skimming and other oil recovery efforts.

2 a.m. update, 23 July

I have time to get 2 hours sleep before the 07:30 staff meeting.  I will post more details after the storm passes.

09:30 UPDATE – Miami and Fort Lauderdale are experiencing an hour or so of intense rain.  There is nothing more than a light drizzle and very mild winds here.

10:30 UPDATE – It looks like T/S Bonnie has missed us and has made landfall near Miami.  The buoys near Miami are reporting 45+ mph wind speeds.  The buoys in the Keys are reporting North winds at about 15 knots.  We are making plans now to get the sailors sailing and divers diving after lunch.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

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