I have lost track of how many years Sienna Belle has resided on the Florida Sea Base dock serving as the home of Captains Rich and Carol and young Richie.  Sienna Belle arrived at her new home in Oriental, NC in time for lunch yesterday; vessel, captain and crew all in good shape.  Thus closes another chapter in the history of the Florida Sea Base.


Wednesdays are one of two huge arrival days at the Florida Sea Base.  Office Manager Susan Mahoney checked in 5 Coral Reef Sailing crews, 6 Scuba Adventure crews, and 1 Scuba Certification crew.

Meanwhile, the divers on Sunday rotation (7 crews) and 3 Scuba Liveaboard crews spent the day on the reefs from Tavernier to Key West.  Five Coral Reef Sailing crews were on base for shore leave; playing volleyball, small boat sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, kayaking, and tubing.  Twenty (20) more Coral Reef Sailing crews and 4 Sea Exploring crews were out sailing around the Florida Keys.  Five additional Coral Reef Sailing crews, a Sea Exploring crew and an Eco-Adventure crew returned to base for luau.

If I have listed everything, there were 58 crews engaged in sailing and scuba programs.  That does NOT include the crews enjoying adventures at he Brinton Environmental Center or at our Bahamas base.

Captain Denny Webb of the Schooner Conch Pearl submitted this comment:

Hey Steve, your comment on the SLA was correct, it is a busy week. After 9 years of providing SLA for Sea Base here are some of my thoughts. 95% of our crews are new divers. They chose the liveaboard because it sounded to them like the “do it all trip.” They get to dive and sail and fish and live on a boat for a week. The key to it all is finding what their expectations are and what will make that particular crew have the “adventure of a lifetime”. That can sometimes be harder than you think because the expectations of the most vocal adult leader may not be a fit for that crew. Communication is the key. For some crews it is 15 dives, for others it may be 10 with more time spent doing other activities. That is the nice thing about it, it is your trip and weather cooperating, you can “have it your way”.

Captains/owners Denny Webb and Holly Whitley purchased the Schooner Conch Pearl specifically to begin the Florida Sea Base Scuba Liveaboard Adventure.  The program has been expanded over the years and Denny and Holly have been a tremendous resource to the newcomers.  Captain Denny ran S/V Salacia in the Coral Reef Sailing program for approximately 500 million years before buying the Conch Pearl.

Former Scuba Liveaboard survivor Dave Parmly sent this:

I stand here at my desk chuckling at your observations RE night dives.  You speak truth.  We got on the boat with Capt. Luke, and his opening chat included the note that it was his job to try to get us to say, “No mas!” to diving, to keep us moving and getting everything we anticipated and more.  We all looked at each other and replied with “Challenge ACCEPTED!”  No way you could throw that much diving at us.

I never worked so hard having the time of my life over the next 6 days/15 dives, an opinion shared by all.  The 5-Dive day was as physically and mentally challenging as any day I have had at all three of the BSA High Adventure bases.  The requirement to be “up” mentally, making sure that the rig was right every time, staying highly attuned to your physical capacity at all times while surrounded by an element that will kill you in a moment, time after time that day, working dive tables on a pitching boat between dives, finding time to eat…the rack felt plenty good that night!

I never thought, as much as I love to dive, that I would say “No mas”, but we had a chance for one last dive on the final day or head to port.  We said “No mas.”  Challenge…FAIL.

Dave, I shared your email with Captain Luke.  He remembers you and your crew vividly.  Your email brought a smile to his face.


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Nice!  For now.  We are cooler than much of the country, drier than Chicago but not having severe drought conditions, and we are not on fire.

Tropical Update
Stu Ostro, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Jun 26,  2013 4:18 pm ET

Some model runs are hinting at a little disturbance with some spin aloft coming off of northern South America tomorrow and heading WNW from there, if so perhaps providing an attempt at a surface low pressure system forming somewhere near Central America or the Yucatan this weekend or early next week.

Will be interesting to see whether or not ultimately there’s a tropical depression or storm in this region …


Preliminary indications from the signal we look at 2-4 weeks ahead are for conditions in the Caribbean/Gulf in mid-late July to be not very favorable for tropical storm formation, though as Barry exemplified that isn’t always precluded in such situations.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

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