Sunday morning, the Florida Sea Base was nearly in the center of the forecasted “cone of death” for Tropical Storm Irene. While it is business as usual for our participants, the Florida Sea Base senior management is beginning to implement an emergency action plan. If Irene continues to be forecasted as a tropical storm, we will likely hunker down for a day (maybe two) until the worst has passed and then we will get back to regularly scheduled programs. The forecasted track keeps edging east which is good news for us. However, it is not unusual for the computer models to waiver this far in advance so the track could move back in our direction.
Here are the current graphics for Irene:
The dots on the Weather Underground graphic represent the center line of the or average of the computer models. It is always important to keep in mind that anywhere inside the cone is at risk. That’s why the Weather Channel graphic (below) does not include the dots. I am writing this at 0345. As of 0300, the Florida Sea Base, Brinton Environmental Center and our Bahamas base were all in the cone.
I survived another day at the Instructor Development Course audit. As I have been told for the past three weeks, the Moon Jellies are very thick and a hazard to the divers. A few people received minor stings but no one was seriously injured. Captain Greg has been with the Florida Keys Dive Center for many years and has lived in the Keys forever. He said he has never seen the jellies this thick.
For the past several days we have been providing each incoming crew with written instructions on first aid for jellyfish stings, some Benadryl and hydrocortisone creme. Yesterday two Scuba Adventure crews checked in. Today is the final day of arriving sailing crews. We are definitely winding down.
More diving with the jellies for me this afternoon at the IDC audit. I also get to teach the section of Adventures in Diving so I was up late making preparations. (Yeah, homework!!!)
I slept for about 4 hours and woke up. So I used the restroom, treated my ears (again) to prevent infection from the salt water and pool, and wrote this post. I am going to try to take a nap before heading to Tavernier for day three of the IDC audit.
Have a great day. We will be keeping an eye on Irene. We strongly believe in safety first. If you have a loved one attending the Florida Sea Base this week rest assured that we will make decisions and take all needed actions to keep them safe if it becomes an issue. We have been through this MANY times before. It’s part of the price to live in paradise.
Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape