Captain Fred Newhart joined the Florida Sea Base staff about a month ago and is becoming an accomplished dive boat captain.  However, Captain Fred came to us as a non-diver.  No more!  Wednesday Captain Fred sent me a text message, “I just got certified today!  I feel like I’ve been baptized by the sea.”

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Click to enlarge.

Earlier in the day, Captain Fred (who was on his day off) was walking around with scuba gear in hand which started a conversation.  Captain Fred commented, “I think I’ve found my calling”.  It doesn’t matter how young or old you may be.  Discovering the underwater world is a rebirth for many people.  I was blessed to be introduced to that world over 50 years ago.  I still enjoy diving.

While Captain Fred was being baptized by the sea, Office Manager Susan Mahoney was being inundated by arriving crews at the Florida Sea Base.  Crews arrive at the Florida Sea Base seven days a week.  However, Sundays and Wednesdays are our big scuba arrival days.  This essentially doubles her work load.  My personal Sea Base world has been eroding for a few years.  Loosing Captain Dennis Wyatt and former Office Manager Ellen Wyatt was tough, not just because they each did a great job but because they were a big part of my support system.  But things essentially collapsed for me last spring when Captain Rich Beliveau moved on to a bigger and better opportunity.  I was fortunate that Susan agreed to stay on for this year and hopefully she will be back again next year.


S/V Alondra is one of the most unique (definitely one of a kind) vessels in the Florida Sea Base Coral Reef Sailing fleet.  She is 46.5′ long, draws 2.8′ of water with the leeboards up, has a wooden hull, and twin Yanmar inboard diesel motors.  She is an Al Francis Herreshoff design and was built by hand by the previous owner.  The builder actually cut the trees and milled the wood to build Alondra.  He also made sand molds and cast the bronze hardware.  He started in 1973 and finished construction in 1986.  Alondra is owned and operated by Captain Chuck Koucky.  (You can see Captain Chuck if you enlarge the photo.)

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Click to enlarge.

Thanks for the photo Captain Luke.


The weather was not as nice Thursday as it was Wednesday; more wind and clouds.  But we stayed rain free again.  Today is forecasted to be sunny but we have a 20% chance of rain for the next several days after that.

The experts keep mentioning cool ocean temperatures, dry air, wind shear, steering currents and all kinds of reasons why Tropical Storm Dorian should die.  But Dorian is having no part of that – so far.  The system is still about a week away from the Florida Sea Base and almost anything can happen.  Yesterday the National Hurricane Center had Dorian tracking east of The Bahamas.  This morning the NHC has taken the curve out of the potential storm track which brings the track into the Florida Keys and Cuba.

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Click to enlarge.

HOWEVER,  there is a lot of good news related to Dorian.  The system is much smaller today and still has a very good chance of disintegrating by Wednesday.  The American weather computer model, known as the GFS model, has been loaded onto a new super computer and Carl Parker of The Weather Channel seems to favor that new forecast which suggests Dorian will hit Puerto Rico as a weak tropical storm and then fall apart as it continues west over Hispanola.

For now, it is business as usual and we do not expect any significant interruption in programming.  When we have a tropical storm, we call the vessels into port, hunker down for a day and then get back on the water.

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

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