I created this blog to share news about the Florida Sea Base. But I own it, I pay for it, I write, and I take responsibility for it, so I’m going to vent a little. (By the way, this is post number 888).
The safety of “other peoples’ children” is always first and foremost on the minds of the personnel at the Florida Sea Base. We have children miles, sometimes MANY miles into the ocean away from a harbor of safe refuge. It is part of the high adventure experience. To manage the risks of threatening weather, we depend on many products, agencies, and companies. Almost daily I post images and/or text from NOAA (or one or more of its subsidiaries such as the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center) and Weather Underground. Most of the graphics come from Weather Underground because they are so user friendly. I use other products a little less frequently.
As soon as I get up in the morning I turn on The Weather Channel. (This morning they are having some audio difficulties.) I also check their website while checking the other sources. For the past several weeks they have raved about their updated website and device apps. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter and doubt anyone from The Weather Channel will stumble onto this little blog, but I am very displeased with the radar aspect of their new products, especially on my iPad and iPhone. WeatherUnderground’s radar image is rarely more the 5 minutes old. It is frequently up to the minute. The radar images on my Apple devices from The Weather Channel are frequently an hour or more old. What do they expect us to be able to do with that? ”Oh no, it was raining on us an hour ago.” They show tablets being used on their sets, they show folks in the field chasing severe weather with smartphones and tablets. If there is a secret to getting up-to-date radar images on these devices from The Weather Channel I would appreciate being brought into the loop. In the meantime, their product is of limited use to us. It is really nice that the new apps make it easier to tweet and post to Facebook. For those of use trying to protect lives, the new app is a HUGE disappointment.
Just minutes after yesterday’s post, Captain Dennis called to report that they were near the Apalachacola region of Florida and all was generally well. A fitting in the hydraulic steering system came loose but they were able to fix that without incident (other than temporarily loosing steerage). Captain Dennis reported a list of 30 deficiencies he has found with the vessel. Most of them are small things that are common and/or easily fixed; some are more significant but do not jeopardize safety to the delivery crew. Captain Derreck Polt emailed this photo of the BSA Burglar prior to departing Louisiana.
At 17:15 (5:15pm) yesterday Captain Dennis called again to report they had successfully crossed the Gulf of Mexico and were approaching Clearwater, Florida, north of St. Petersburg. The plan was to make a quick fuel stop and continue on, possibly arriving at the Florida Sea Base around noon today.
The sailing staff spent much of Wednesday tubing; one of the shore leave activities enjoyed by the Coral Reef Sailing crews. The scuba staff completed driver’s training, emergency oxygen provider training, dive boat mate training and night program training.
Shortly after lunch yesterday, one of our newest and youngest Coral Reef Sailing captains, Captain Chris Jenner, arrived in the Florida Sea Base harbor aboard his 41′ Morgan Out Island, S/V Stormalong. Captain Chris had single handed the vessel from New Port Ritchie (north of Tampa/St.Pete) for 46 hours straight.
Our local weather remains less than perfect. The scuba staff is scheduled to spend this morning diving and practicing rescues. We are also scheduled to dive tonight. We will do our best to work around the weather cells. Here’s what our radar looked like at 05:41 this morning:
Our first Scuba Live Aboard crew arrives tomorrow; then another arrives Saturday and the season officially opens on Sunday with one Sea Exploring crew (20 participants), one Scuba Certification crew (8 participants), five Coral Reef Sailing participants (40 participants), and six Scuba Adventure crews (48 participants) = 116 participants. Ready or not, here they come!!!
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape