Posts Tagged ‘arrivals’



in Staff  •  0 comments


I ventured from the Florida Sea Base to Marathon Thursday for groceries.  Based on the traffic (both ways) I am assuming that spring break has begun.  Which brings up a good point to make to our spring crews.  There is one way into the Keys and one way out, US 1.  Within the Keys, US 1 is primarily a two lane road.  There will be millions of people driving on this two lane road during the spring.  This makes drive time to/from the Miami or Fort Lauderdale Airport longer than you think.  You should add at least an hour to your anticipated drive time.  Also, we have 20-25 fatalities a year on US 1.  When this happens, the road can be closed in both directions for hours; MANY hours.  There is also a drawbridge on US 1 in Islamorada.  When a boat of more than 40′ needs to cross from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean (or vice versa) the bridge stops all traffic in both directions.  Additionally, traffic will likely be traveling well below the posted 45 mph limit.  So PLEASE take this into consideration as you plan your travel to and from the Florida Sea Base.


The first crews of the 2013 spring season check in this afternoon at the Florida Sea Base.  We only have sailing arrivals today.  Tomorrow we will have scuba and sailing arrivals.  This is my 13th spring – TOO many.  We will start the day with a staff meeting at 07:30.  Ready or not, the 2013 program season is here.

Captain Giuseppe Passanisi arrived Thursday to prepare for today’s Coral Reef Sailing trip.  I also saw Captain Brian Stolzenberger on the dock yesterday.  These are two of our most tenured captains.  The crews will have a great time with these guys at the helm.  Captain Brian said his wife, Brenda, was concerned about my failure to write a post for several days.  Thanks for your concern Brenda.  The next time you’re here I’ll fill you in on the details.  In the meantime, all is “normal” around here.


The first few days of program are not going to be the typical warm, sunny Florida.  The rain has been light but is clearing out; the organized showers are in the Straits of Florida and moving SE, away from us.  The National Weather Service is forecasting a breezy week:


Today: Northwest to north winds 10 to 15 knots early…increasing to near 25 knots and gusty in the afternoon. Seas 1 to 3 feet…building to 3 to 5 feet in the afternoon. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop…becoming extremely rough. Isolated showers in the morning.
Tonight: Northwest to north winds near 25 knots and gusty. Seas 3 to 6 feet. Nearshore waters extremely rough.
Sunday: North to northeast winds near 25 knots and gusty…decreasing to near 20 knots in the afternoon. Seas subsiding to 3 to 5 feet. Nearshore waters becoming very rough.
Sunday Night: Northeast winds near 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters rough.
Monday: East winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.
Monday Night And Tuesday: East to southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.
Tuesday Night And Wednesday: East winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop.
Wednesday Night: Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.

High Adventure!!!

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



in Weather  •  0 comments


The  Christmas weather at the Florida Sea Base was incredible; sunny, 75°F, and a gentle breeze.

National Weather Service forecast  for the 180 Scouts and Scouters arriving at the Florida Sea Base today and tomorrow:

Today: A slight chance of showers after 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Southwest wind around 15 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tonight: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 65. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming
northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers before 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. North wind 10 to 15 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
Friday: A slight chance of showers after 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 10 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Saturday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Sunday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 72. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. Breezy.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 73.
Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 66.
New Year’s Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.


The DMA candidates spent Christmas morning performing a 100 yard tired diver tow.  This is a timed skill.  Times ranged from about 2.5 minutes to 4.5 minutes.  The diver and victim must both be in full scuba gear.  This is an exhausting exercise.  All of the candidates gave full effort.

They also performed the Equipment Exchange skill in the swimming pool.  In this exercise, two divers descend in the deep pool.  They share a single regulator and have to exchange all equipment with each other except their weights and wetsuit.  Everyone performed well.  The intent of this skill is to evaluate the candidates’ ability to deal with unusual circumstances while underwater.

Assistant Galley Manager David Mitchell and his staff prepared an excellent Christmas dinner for the DMA candidates and the Florida Sea Base staff.  After dinner, most of the DMA candidates and several staff members (including Captain Dennis Wyatt) made a night dive at Alligator Reef.  Captain Christy Clemenson was kind enough to drive and Captain Kari Dahlquist served as First Mate.

This morning the cadre will discuss the wind conditions and possibly consider changing our scheduled deep dive for a shallower diver option to avoid the heavy seas.  The trade-off will be reduced visibility.  But having seasick staff and students is not a good recipe for success.


We have two Scuba Adventure crews, one Scuba Certification crew, one Scuba Liveaboard crew, two Sea Exploring crews and five or six Coral Reef Sailing crews arriving at the Florida Sea Base after lunch today.  More sailing crews will arrive tomorrow.


Most of the winter staff rolled in yesterday;  I have two who had not reported in as of bedtime so hopefully the will report for the 07:30 staff meeting.  If not, we will figure something out, we always do.

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



in Weather  •  0 comments

I’ve mentioned the winding down of the 2012 summer season at the Florida Sea Base (a lot lately), but Tuesday held true evidence of this inevitability.  NO new sailing crews (Coral Reef Sailing, Eco-Adventure or Sea Exploring) crews checked in.  The only check-in for the day was a Scuba Liveaboard crew from Texas.  There are four more Coral Reef Sailing, one more Eco-Adventure and two more Sea Exploring crews this summer.  Scuba is still pretty busy with 10 Scuba Adventure, one Scuba Certification and three Scuba Liveaboard crews arriving.

The Atlantic is pretty quiet for this time of year.  I copied this from

Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Aug 14,  2012 5:16 pm ET

Graphical tropical update: Tropics Watch


– At the moment it’s overall fairly quiet for mid-August, though there are a few systems we’re watching.

– The remnant of Tropical Depression Seven is moving across the western Caribbean and into Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s still a healthy tropical wave, with a fair amount of convection (thunderstorms), and some spin evident on satellite loops, and upper-level winds are not as unconducive to tropical cyclone development as they were. Any chance of that will be cut off as it moves over land, though then one of our forecast models has been consistently showing another attempt over the southwest Gulf of Mexico this weekend or early next week.

– Speaking of attempts at tropical cyclone development, that wave/low which looked so healthy when it was over Africa but then struggled is making another one, with a chance of it being successful this time. In any event, it’s far out at sea, and won’t even get as far west as Bermuda.

– A tropical wave which more recently came off the coast of Africa is not expected to become a tropical cyclone in the near future, though we’ll be monitoring it as it heads west across the tropical Atlantic.

– Models are keying on the one after that, now over central Africa, to have a better chance at developing, as it moves across the Atlantic next week. Initial projections have it staying out at sea, though that’s a long way off and it’s too early to be sure.

The chances of the Florida Sea Base completing the 2012 program season without a major wind event continues to look bright.  The situation is so quiet that Dr. Masters of Weather Underground had no comment in yesterday’s post about the current tropical systems.

We had a very light shower early Tuesday morning.  Otherwise, it has been seasonably warm, mild breezes and mostly clear skies.  Our forecast for the next several days is for a high of 90°, a low of 80°, and gentle breezes.  What a great way to wind down our season!

Some of you have been asking about used scuba gear for sale.  We do have some BCDs and regulators that are in very good shape available.  The regulators are Aqua Lung Calypso models with an ABS octopus and Apex 3 gauge analog consoles (depth, tank pressure and compass).  MSPR for this combo is $730.  The BCDs are Aqua Lung Wave models (by SeaQuest) but do NOT include the optional weight integration.  MSRP is $335.  You can view these items at  I will make an official announcement with our prices in the very near future.  Quantities and BC sizes are limited.  All pieces were purchased in 2010 and used for the 2011 and 2012 program seasons.  We check everything before we ship it out but it is used gear and sold as is without warranty.  We STRONGLY encourage you to take the gear to an authorized Aqua Lung dealer for inspection and any recommended servicing.  I don’t have an exact price yet but it will be less than half of MSRP.  I have a budgeted amount to collect.  The price per unit will in part depend on the number of units I can release for sale.  The equipment will be sold at a loss, but the proceeds are used to off-set the cost of  replacement gear.  I will sell it for the lowest price possible.  I am more interested in moving it than anything else.  With that said, the advertised price will be our bottom dollar price.  Please don’t expect us to haggle or make deals.  The price will be an outstanding deal.  BE PATIENT.  When I announce the prices I will also announce an email address for placing orders.  In the meantime, you can email me at and I will forward the email for you when the account is opened.  DO NOT EXPECT A REPLY BEFORE 01 SEPTEMBER.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I need to remind everyone that this is a private site and is NOT owned, maintained or sanctioned by the Florida Sea Base or the Boy Scouts of America.  Any questions or issued raised by comments on this site should be directed to Captain Steve Willis at 305-393-7373 or or by clicking on the comment button.  Please do not contact the Florida Sea Base directly.  They are not responsible for any comments made on this site and some of the individuals do not appreciate my blog adding to their workload.  More information can be found on the ABOUT page on this site.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI CD #39713
Aboard S/V Escape

The first crew to arrive for the Florida Sea Base 2012 summer season, a Scuba Liveaboard crew from the Boston, Massachusetts area, checked in yesterday afternoon.  Divemaster Kevin Schmidt was assigned to the first crew.  The crew will be aboard S/V Silent Harmony with Captain Mike Lucivero and S/V Endeavour with Captain Kelly Stickney-Lucivero.  Office Manager Sue Mahoney survived her first crew check-in.  Another Scuba Liveaboard crew will arrive today.  On Sunday,  Sue will be SLAMMED by a full compliment of crew arrivals.

Invest 94L has made it all the way to the Carolina coast and has intensified to become Subtropical Storm Beryl.  Our marine forecast looks pretty good for the next several days.

Click to enlarge.


The staff was very busy yesterday with more training and season preparations.  Today is the last official day of staff training and the final round of Captain’s training; busy, busy day.

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

Sorry for posting so late. The server was done.

The seven Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew scheduled to arrive yesterday at the Florida Sea Base were successful.  One crew arrived much later than scheduled, but they made it none the less.

We are starting out about 5 degrees cooler than yesterday.  Yesterday was productive but miserable on the water.  Capt. Dennis and I had on most of the clothes we own and we were still cold.  The good news is it starts warming up slowly beginning tomorrow.

The DMA candidates completed three open water dives yesterday and took on test last night.  They are scheduled for three more open water dives today and two night dives tonight.  They are going to be cold, tired puppies by the time they finally get to bed.  The Scuba Liveaboard crew are out on the water aboard the Schooner Conch Pearl.  The Scuba Adventure crews completed their scuba review yesterday morning and completed their first scuba dive yesterday afternoon at Alligator Reef as scheduled.

I am about to head out with the DMA candidates for the day.  I have on thermal underwear, sweatpants, a shirt, a hooded coat, gloves, a watch cap, warm socks and insulated boots.  I don’t like being cold.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The good news from yesterday was that all incoming participants were successful in getting out of the snow and arriving at the Florida Sea Base except one young man from New York.  We have 7 Coral Reef Sailing crews scheduled to arrive today.  I am very concerned that some may not be able to make it.  I will let you know tomorrow.

The staff did and INCREDIBLE job yesterday of going forward with program despite the gale force winds.  My hat is off to all of them.  What an incredible display of determination, teamwork, and professionalism.

At 14:00 yesterday we had an official wind speed of 39 knots from the Northwest.  The temperature was near 62º at the time.  It is 51º this morning (10º warmer than forecasted yesterday) with 18 knots of wind from the North.  Life on our dock is much easier with the wind shifting to the North.

With gale conditions out of the WNW yesterday we had many issues.  Many of the captains on the dock contributed time, knowledge and equipment in an attempt to keep S/V Siesta from being damaged by the dock.  This was no fault of Capt. Ed, the owner.  Our dock is currently full for the Christmas season and Siesta was docked on the outside of the T-dock head which is fully exposed to the westerly winds.  She was being bashed into the dock.  Fenders were put in place multiple times but kept shifting and popping out.  Finally one anchor was set to windward and that helped pull Siesta off the dock – but was not enough.  Later, a second anchor was added and I think that proved to be barely enough make the situation acceptable.  The bad news was that the upper lifeline on the port side was broken before the anchors were set.  I am not aware of any additional damage.

I ran into former staff members Lindsay Kuc and Dave Rumbaugh in the Chartroom last evening watching TV with Capt. Luke of S/V Lady Nell.  They seem to be happy and healthy.  They are great young adults.  I am sure they will find great success in their future.

Here we go!  The quote of the week will be, “Its high adventure”.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape (and running a little late)

This is going to be short.  It’s already an hour past my bed time and I have quite a bit to do.

The four Scuba Adventure crews had their last dive this morning.  One Sea Exploring crew returned to Sea Base to end their adventure.  Two new Coral Reef Sailing crews checked in today.  They are aboard S/V Adventure with Capt. Hans and S/V Excalibur with Capt. Michele.  A new Scuba Liveaboard crew also checked in today.   They will spend the week aboard the S/V Conch Pearl with Capt. Denny, Capt. Holly and Scuba Instructor Dave Ball.

They weather was very spring break appropriate; high 70s, sunny, east wind at 15 knots.  The traffic was horrendous.  We had a new staff member arrive today, Scuba Instructor Chuck Grempler,  It took Chuck four hours to get from the Miami Airport to the Florida Sea Base.  That’s fairly routine for spring break.

Tomorrow is Easter.  I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Sunday.

The plan was to sleep in and catch up on my sleep this morning.  Apparently Mother Nature disagreed.  The wind picked up considerably out of the west at about 0230 and I was up.  I went topside, adjusted lines and walked the dock making sure there were no major issues.  I tried to go back to sleep, but alas, it was not meant to be.  So I spent a while culling through some of the stuff in the aft cabin deciding what needs to stay on the boat and what needs to be stored elsewhere.  I did finally lay back down around 0650 and slept for and hour or so.  Then I fixed a nice breakfast, showered and made my way to the office.

Sometime before noon Capt. Rich and I headed to Marathon.  We had shopping to do at West Marine for program supplies.  Our first Eco Adventure crew arrived today.  This program was conceived by Capt. Kelly and Capt. Mike over a year ago.  It is a twist on the existing Coral Reef Sailing program.  This is the first year it was offered and it is sold out for summer.  I have written previous blogs with most of the details if you want to look back or do a search on “eco”.

In addition to the Eco Adventure crew, we also had two Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew arrive today.  Plus the shark research group was here.  Capt. George Clements aboard S/V Silver Crow arrived yesterday to receive one of today’s Coral Reef Sailing crews.  Capt. Harrison “Hammer” Kinnard arrived today aboard S/V Jewel of Athena.  Capt. Hammer’s First Mate is a Jack Russell Terrier named Stevie Nicks.

As promised, business is picking up.  We will be VERY busy for the next month and then it starts tapering off again.  “Spring forward” tonight – set the clocks up an hour or you may be late for church or the 0730 staff meeting.