Posts Tagged ‘alex’

Good morning from the Florida Sea Base!  Invest 95 is not forecasted to grow to more than a 31 mph tropical wave.  It’s still bad news for the Louisiana coast but shouldn’t grow much bigger.  Invest 96 might grow to tropical depression strength and then a hurricane by Tuesday.  If so, it would be named Bonnie and yesterday all of the computer models concurred that it  would follow a path very similar to Hurricane Alex.  This morning the computer models are all over the place.

Invest 96 - Weather Underground

Alex from the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association sent the following comment regarding parmalat:

The taste difference is due to flavor being lost as part of the UHT process. It is no different than any other pasteurized product on store shelves. If I remember the preferred method for dairy is HTST — used for packaged products like soft serve or frozen yogurt mix as more flavor is retained.

Alex maintains a great website and blog that deals primarily with Northern Tier at  I hope Coach Carl G. Boyles and all of the staff at Northern Tier are having a great summer.  I have met most of the permanent staff and they are really nice folks.  But I’m not sure that I have met anyone nice enough to get this thin blooded sailor to go dog sledding in Canada in the heart of winter time.  Sorry guys.  That one is NOT on my bucket list.  Maybe we could go sailing to the Bahamas instead.

Yesterday was a big scuba check-in day.  It went pretty smooth.  We have one adult leader who arrived unhappy.  As is more frequent than we hope for, instead of submitting the crew medicals on 01 March in compliance with Florida Sea Base procedures, he waited until last week.  There was a medical issue with his son and the youth was disqualified from scuba diving.  That is the EXACT scenario we try to avoid by sending medical forms far in advance (usually October of the year preceding the reservation).  It is hard on all of us to deny a youth participation – especially when they are a week away from arrival.

But everything else went GREAT.  The staff all did a great job with new sailors arriving, new scuba arriving, old sailors departing, old scuba crews departing, sailing crews in for mid-week activities, special 4th of July activities, and all the routine efforts that are required to “make the magic” happen for our participants.

So here we go again.  Staff meeting at 07:30 (45 minutes from now), flags, breakfast and then a full day of program magic.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The weather is benign at the Florida Sea Base but a tropical depression formed yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico almost due south of Apalachicola, Florida and was designated Invest 95.  The system is moving west and will have some impact on the Deepwater Horizon site and will likely push oil further towards Texas and definitely deeper into the Louisiana marsh lands and bayous.

Invest 95 at 02:00 Saturday

I am off today.  This is my last scheduled day off for two weeks.  We have two of the dive boat captains off next week so Capt. Rich and I will have to cover their shifts.  Capt. Dennis Wyatt will probably loose his day off (Sunday) as well.  It’s the nature of the beast this time of year.  There are other assignments that need our attention, but program comes first and Capt. Rich and I have no intent of disappointing our customers.  We work well together and understand that we are both going to do whatever has to be done to make “the magic” work.  We won’t get overtime.  We won’t get a raise.  We won’t get a bonus.  But our customers will get what they paid for.  And if all goes well, “the magic” will appear to happen effortlessly.  There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that happen beneath the magic.  It wouldn’t happen without Capt. Richard T. Beliveau.  I’ve told you before that he is a Saint.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do today.  The 4th of July holiday traffic is usually horrendous so I probably won’t go far.  I’m thinking about going to a movie but I’m not too enthused about going alone.  There’s plenty of work to do on the boat (always) so I may just pick a chore or two and work on those.

Here’s a nice view of Category 2 Hurricane Alex before it went ashore in Mexico.  Only one computer model is forecasting any tropical weather formation during the next seven days so we should have a quiet week.  The winds here are calming down quickly.

From Weather Underground

Capt. Rich Beliveau, Program Director, and Matt McClure, Sailing Commissioner, were successful in returning Spare Time from Fort Lauderdale to the Florida Sea Base yesterday.  There was one small glitch.  Dusky Marine in Dania, Florida did the repowering.  During the installation the broke one of the thru-hull fittings.  So as soon as the boat was splashed (taken off the trailer) it began to sink.  Capt. Rich and Matt managed to plug the hole temporarily and we will get a permanent fix in place today.

Yesterday’s scuba check-ins went well under the superb direction of Ellen Wyatt. The Coral Reef Sailing staff did an excellent job under the management of Capt. Dutch Van der Laan and Dom Alesandrini.  Dom also prepared 225 new snorkel bags for use by the sailing and scuba participants.  Some of the existing bags were VERY well worn and should have been tossed last year.

Captain Mike Lucivero and Capt. Kelly Stickney-Lucivero has committed to another year of Scuba Liveaboard programming.  We will have three scuba liveaboard crews each week next year (up from two this year).  Next summer is a 13 week schedule as I recall.  We have full bookings for the three rotations (39 crews) with 32 of the 39 “confirmed”.  That means seven of the crews have not actually made a down payment and may cancel.  If you are interested in participating in Scuba Liveaboard in 2011, check the Florida Sea Base website frequently for openings.  They will go very fast.

I am running late.  More later.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


Hurricane Alex

in Weather  •  0 comments

Today is Wednesday.  (That is for my benefit, not yours.  It is terribly hard to keep track of the day of the week while working at the Florida Sea Base.)  Alex is a hurricane this morning with 80 mph winds.  It is expected to grow to Cat 2 strength before landfall.  As of 05:00 EDT, the tiny village of San Jose de Los Leones is the projected point of landfall.  The strongest wind and surge will occur to the north of there.  I have been thru a Cat 2 storm.  It is not pleasant.  Please keep these folks in your prayers today.

Our local NOAA forecast is “A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 92. Southeast wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.”  The NOAA marine forecast is “Southeast winds near 15 knots early…decreasing to 10 to 15 knots by midday. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef subsiding to 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters becoming a light to moderate chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.”  The small craft advisory has been lifted.  The wind is laying down.  By Friday the wind  should be 10 knots or less.

The Florida Sea Base is far enough from any major shopping opportunities (Walmart is 57 miles each way) that we do most of our shopping via internet or catalog.  I have two small packages that I hope arrive today.  One is for me and the other is boat parts for one of our captains who was at sea and asked me to purchase on his behalf.  We do what we can for each other down here.  Last month (due to my part in the delivery of the BSA Centennial Eagle from Slidell, LA to the Florida Sea Base) I spent over $4,000 of my personal money on BSA purchases.  I was reimbursed in a timely manner (they still owe me $36 but I can live with that) but there is still an element of stress having that type of obligation.

That’s enough for now.  I need to prep for this morning’s staff meeting.  I am hoping for an uneventful day in the disaster control department at Florida Sea Base.

It’s 08:40 and I’m back.  Capt. Rich and Matt McClure went to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up Spare Time, the power boat used in the tubing program.  She blew an engine 2 weeks ago but is now repowered and hopefully ready for duty.  The disaster department has been a disaster so far.  The mornings can be brutal in the crisis control center.  We have a 22 year old adult demanding to be removed from a vessel 65 miles from here because he doesn’t feel well.  Davis Tours is running late and people are paniced about missing flights.  Just a bunch of little things that stress people out.  Nothing really unusual.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Tropical Storm Alex continues to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico between the Yucatan Peninsula and Rio Grande but has not reached hurricane status yet.  At 18:00 EDT T/S Alex was about 4 miles per below hurricane strength.  The projected path still shows landfall near Brownsville, Texas.

After making the brief post this morning I went to the office and dealt with a couple of issues that were so unimportant I have forgotten what they were.  I did get to drive BSA Explorer for the morning trip.  We went to a dive site named Capt. Grumpy (oddly enough not named after me).  We had two foot seas with three foot rollers.  The visibility was like a swimming pool – pretty, blue water.  The divers saw sharks, eels, sea turtles and a huge lobster.  Everyone said it was the largest lobster they had ever seen.  We got back to the Florida Sea Base just in time for some nice tacos for lunch.  I spent most of the remainder of the afternoon in the office.

It has been more overcast than forecasted today.  We still hit 92º.  There was a STRONG squall line between Cuba and the Keys moving northward but it fizzled out an hour or so ago.  There is still some chance of light showers tonight.  We do not have a night dive tonight but Coral Reef Sailing, Sea Exploring, Eco Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard crews are at sea 24 / 7.

That’s all for now.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


An Early Start

in Weather  •  0 comments

I am off to an early start at the Florida Sea Base.  I woke up at 05:00; too late to try to get back to sleep before my 06:00 alarm and too early to be motivated to do much.  I have perused the various weather sites.  Alex (whether Tropical Storm or Cat 1 Hurricane) is still bound for Brownsville, Texas.  It appears the storm surge will be in the 3′ – 5′ range.  We suffer that here with Hurricane Wilma and it’s a scary phenomenon with which to deal.

Locally, the National Weather Service (NWS) divides the Florida Keys into several smaller areas for forecast purposes.  One of the dividers is Craig Key which is about a mile southwest of the Florida Sea Base.  For all practical purposes we straddle the line of the areas described as “Ocean Reef (extreme far north Key Largo) to Craig Key” and “Craig Key to the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge”.  For today, the eastern part of the our forecast area is NOT forecasted for small craft warnings but the western part is.  But the wind forecast is the same in both sections.  NWS uses the wind forecast to decide if small craft warnings should be issued.  So they are using detailed wind info for their small craft advisory that they are not sharing with us publicly.  What is suggested from reviewing the data is that it may be a better day for our dive boats to go to the east rather than to the west.  The official NWS marine forecast for the Florida Keys is:

Today…Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots early…decreasing to near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 3 to 5 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy…becoming a moderate chop. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.

The official NWS terrestrial forecast is:

Today: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 92. Southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

So our participants will enjoy mostly sunny conditions, a high of 92º, brisk southeast winds on the reef near 20 knots, and three foot seas with occasional five foot “rollers” possible.  Three feet seas may not sound like much, but I guarantee that there will be a few folks feeding the local reef fish today.  But don’t worry about the fish.  We only use “fish friendly” food products at the Florida Sea Base.  So if we do make any offerings to the ocean, the fish can feast without worry.  Plus I guess it’s a form of recycling.  We use the food then the fish get to use the food.  Very nice.  We are good environmental stewards.

Yesterday was Paul Beal’s birthday (our General Manager).  Cheryl Ferreri (our entire Human Resources Department) and Capt. Dennis Wyatt celebrate birthdays.  The stone table that served as my birth certificate finally crumbled for old age so I  don’t have a birthday anymore.

It’s time to shower, dress, and make the 07:30 staff meeting.  The BSA Explorer is fueled and generally ready for today’s dive trip.  We will be back in time for lunch.  The view from the bridge is much nicer that the view in my office.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I apologize for not posting an update sooner.  We have one problem adult at the Florida Sea Base who essentially occupied my entire day.  Problem folks need love too so I’ve tried to be patient and understanding.  I think we have an understanding now.

Today is Paul Beal’s birthday.  Paul is the General Manager of the Florida Sea Base. This is about the 15th anniversary of his 39th birthday.  Happy Birthday boss!!!

The computer models are in better agreement this afternoon and forecast Alex to come ashore somewhere near Brownsville, Texas as a category one hurricane.  Unless something bizarre happens I will probably quit commenting on Alex and move on to other news.  The winds from Alex are expected to push the Deepwater Horizon oil north and west.  The Florida Sea Base should not have any weather or oil related worries from Alex.  But the season has only just begun and there will likely be more opportunities for severe weather to affect us before the season is over.

Locally, our winds may start subsiding around Thursday.  I may get to drive BSA Explorer tomorrow morning for a half day trip.  The good news would be that it’s always nice to get out of the office.  The bad news is that it’s still pretty rough out there and the trip will probably leave me with a day or two of intense pain in my bad leg.

I hope you had a great day.  More to come tomorrow.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I literally have only a few moments this morning.  Here is the latest on Tropical Storm Alex.  It is no threat to the Florida Sea Base but if you live anywhere along the Texas coast you need to read this update from Weather Underground.

Hi, Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Jeff on the late shift again.
As of the 11PM EDT advisory, Alex is once more a tropical storm moving to the W-NW at 6 knots. According to the CIMMS wind shear estimates Alex is experiencing less than 20 knots of shear, so it’s in a favorable location for intensification. The NHC forecast track has Alex moving to the W-NW and making landfall in northern Mexico.

Disagreement between the forecast models
As of 300EDT, there are roughly three different sets of forecast solutions for the forecast models. CMC/GFS have Alex making landfall along the Texas coast north of Corpus Christi, but south of Houston. GFDL/HWRF have Alex coming ashore near Brownsville. UKMET/ECMWF/NOGAPS/NGFDL show Alex coming ashore well south of the Rio Grande. As was the case yesterday, the difference between the CMC/GFS and UKMET/ECMWF forecast lies in the interaction of the trough with the area of high pressure in the Gulf that’s currently steering Alex. Upper-air data from the Gulfstream IV should help refine model forecasts.

What does it mean?
The CMC/GFS/UKMET/ECMWF are all very good global models so it’s hard to discount one model in favor for another. If you live along the Gulf coast from Tampico, MX to the Texas/Louisiana border, it would be very prudent to review your hurricane planning and preparations. I still think the chances of Alex directly interfering with oil spill recovery efforts are low.

04:00 Computer Models from Weather Underground

I Have to run but I’ll post more later today.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


It’s Over

in Staff  •  3 comments

Today was a great day at the Florida Sea Base, unless you were in the office.  Thank goodness it’s over.  Here’s how it went.

Before breakfast one of the staff members came into the office and presented with a possible concussion including severe pain at the site of an earlier blow to the head and exceptional drowsiness.  The staff member will receive medical care.  Also before breakfast Capt. Carl Olshenske who drives BSA Explorer for the scuba program reported that he had a youth participant on his boat this week who was having behavioral problems.  After breakfast I had the young man and one of his adult leaders in my office to get the young man’s attention and assure that he acted in a safe and reasonable manner on the boat.  (The captain reported this afternoon that the youth performed much better.)

Shortly thereafter I discovered that Florida Sea Base incident reports were not being completed to reflect these and other issues.  That will be addressed at Monday’s 07:30 staff meeting morning.

Before lunch it was brought to my attention that Davis Tours had not shown up to take a departing crew to the airport.  The crew was in jeapordy of missing thier flight from Fort Lauderdale.  I tried multiple times to call Davis Tours and their emergency phone number to no avail.  We are very short handed on Sundays at the Florida Sea Base.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt volunteered to drive them to the airport.  They barely made it and we never heard from Davis Tours.  I don’t mean to give Davis Tours a black eye.  I am only reporting fact.  For the 10 years that I have worked at the Florida Sea Base they have had an exemplary record.  However, something has happened and they have had major scheduling issues recently.  Our Director of Program, Rob Kolb, will be addressing our concerns with Mr. Davis on Monday.

Immediately before lunch I saw Capt. Dutch VanderLann hobbling across the yard.  He has re-injured his left knee.  He is a trooper and will gut it out.

Check-in begins at 13:00 daily.  Sundays are big scuba crew arrival days.  One of the crews had an adult leader who had refused to submit his medical prior to arrival as required.  So Ellen, the Office Manager, was reviewing the medical he brought with him.  It was on the wrong form and we couldn’t accept it.  So he called backed home and had the appropriate form faxed to us.  The form showed that he is asthmatic and taking three medicications for asthma.  This disqualified him for the Florida Sea Base scuba program.  He was allowed to stay with his crew and he can snorkel, but he cannot scuba dive.  Somehow this gentleman feels that his failure to submit the medical when required (01 March 2010) so we could try to resolve his issue is not the problem.  I am the problem.  I am very sorry for the situation but mostly I am disappointed that this gentleman failed to follow procedure and we were deprived of the opportunity to address his issue.

Then we had a youth check in who was taking some medications that required counseling of him, his adult leaders and divemaster.  He will likely do fine.

Then another crew arrived that had a bad experience with Davis Tours.  They were aggitated but Ellen (and an air conditioned office) helped the leader calm down.

After dinner, Commissioner Matt McClure had a severe alergic reaction to some aloe vera that was being applied to his sunburn.  After two showers and 50mg of Benefryl he decided to go to the ER for a cortisone injection.  Before he left, Divemaster Scott Costa slipped and twisted his knee and decided to accompany Matt to the ER.  By the time they got to the ER, Matt was feeling better and did not see a doctor.  Scott has a sprain or torn ligament and will miss at least a week of work.

Now the latest on T/S Alex.  The official forecast still shows T/S Alex will curve into Mexico below the Texas border.

Tropical Storm Alex - Weather Underground

However, one of the more reliable computer models (GFS) still suggests the possibility of landfall south of Galveston, Texas.  This is a good example of how crazy life can be when a hurricane is forecasted to approach within a thousand miles of the Florida Sea Base.  The forecasted trajectory changes frequently and radically at times.

T/S Alex Computer Models - Weather Underground

It’s past my bedtime.  I will post sometime tomorrow.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Today’s weather at the Florida Sea Base calls for 90º, mostly clear skies and ESE winds at 15knots.  It should be a warm but pleasant day.  Invest 94L continues to move away from us.

Invest 94L - Weather Underground

Tropical Storm Alex made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula at about 04:30.  It will move into the Gulf of Mexico and is currently forecasted to make another landfall near Tampico, Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane.

T/S Alex - Weather Underground

I’m running a little late this morning so I have to dash off to the 07:30 staff meeting.  I will update this post later in the day if warranted.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape