Posts Tagged ‘bonnie’

As noted yesterday, T/S Bonnie made landfall in Miami and had very minimal effect on the Florida Sea Base.  It is VERY difficult to not be frustrated with the “science” of weather forecasting.  For three days the forecast said the center of Bonnie would come very close to the Florida Sea Base.  Even as Bonnie was coming ashore in Miami (90 miles away) the data available on the internet showed it to be on track to hit the base.  Since it came ashore about 10:30, it seems reasonable that the 05:00 or 08:00 update could have updated the location and track.

This is not unusual, but that makes it no less frustrating.  Most people in Miami were caught unperpared and those of us in the Keys spent untold man-hours in preparation and – in our case – the kids missed a day of normal program.  About 30 minutes after Bonnie made landfall the “forecasters” corrected the path.

So what’s the good news?  The staff at the Florida Sea Base were being lulled into a false sense of security by a lack of tropical weather.  Now they understand that my “be prepared” speeches are real.  The facilities are a little better prepared for future severe weather.  The newer captains got a taste of how crazy it will be when the real deal happens.  I suspect that there will be some additional purchases of line, chain, hardware, fenders and other storm necessities in the coming week.  It even gave me the motivitation to clear my decks and revisit my level of preparation.  (I really want to add some mid-ship cleats.  Maybe I can make time for that next week.)  In the end, the management, staff, captains and participants all handled the situation exceptionally well.

The weather is fairly cooperative at the Florida Sea Base this weekend.  In a perfect world the wind would lay down to 10 to 15 knots and clock around to the north or northeast.  It’s GREAT to have so little to complain about.

Capt. Steve
Posted from Coconut Grove

Good morning.  It’s 03:36 at the Florida Sea Base.  I got up to check the 02:00 weather update.  All is well here.  All of the sailboats are docked at Sea Base or in some other marina.  The scuba divers on base completed a night dive last night.  The divers on the Scuba Liveaboard Conch Pearl completed three or four day dives plus a night dive last night.  They are at dock on Stock Island.

Right now we are experiencing the calm before the storm.  There is almost no wind on the Florida Sea Base dock and it is not raining.  I can see the moon through the clouds to our southwest, maybe an hour and a half before it sets for the night.  I checked US and Cuban radars.  There is a large area of gentle rain over Andros Island, Bahamas, right now.  Not much else.  Maximum winds from T/S Bonnie are estimated in the 40 mph range.  The National Weather Service forecast for our area reads:

Today: Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 88. North wind 20 to 25 mph increasing to between 40 and 50 mph. Winds could gust as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tonight: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 80. Windy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph becoming east. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

So we are expecting some rain and a few hours of fairly serious wind.  The winds should be back to normal by this evening.  We will do our best to entertain the kids on the base today and should be back to normal operations on Saturday.

All of the ships have been ordered off the Deepwater Horizon site until the storm makes landfall in Louisiana.  That will obviously stop the skimming and other oil recovery efforts.

2 a.m. update, 23 July

I have time to get 2 hours sleep before the 07:30 staff meeting.  I will post more details after the storm passes.

09:30 UPDATE – Miami and Fort Lauderdale are experiencing an hour or so of intense rain.  There is nothing more than a light drizzle and very mild winds here.

10:30 UPDATE – It looks like T/S Bonnie has missed us and has made landfall near Miami.  The buoys near Miami are reporting 45+ mph wind speeds.  The buoys in the Keys are reporting North winds at about 15 knots.  We are making plans now to get the sailors sailing and divers diving after lunch.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

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