Posts Tagged ‘crews’

24Aug

BACK SURGERY

in Weather  •  2 comments

I had an MRI a few months ago.  Disk L7-S1 was torn.  If the excruciating pain is an indication, it may now be gone.  If anyone happens to be cousins with the best back surgeon in the known universe, please email me at steve.willis@scouting.org.  Carrying 45 pound anchors and outboard motors on rocking boats and across gaps between said vessel and the dock has me almost bed ridden.  I have some limited time this fall/winter to get this fixed.  But I need to be able to go diving by mid December for the 2012 Divemaster Academy.

Several people were kind enough to help me out yesterday while preparing S/V Escape for the imminent storm.  Captain Bruce from S/V Barefoot, Captain Drew from S/V Comfort Zone II, Galley Mate Brandon and Coral Reef Mate Aaron were life savers.  And CAPTAIN RICHARD T. BELIVEAU who despite more pain than I can imagine, helps everyone with everything all of the time.  If you search this site for “Saint Michael” you can read some of my comments of admiration for one of the least selfish, most caring, most giving men to have ever graced my life.

The Coral Reef Sailing crew from S/V Pirate’s Choice completed their Florida Sea Base adventure this afternoon.  The crew will depart tomorrow morning.  There is one more Coral Reef Sailing crew still on the water, aboard S/V Tradewind.  They are scheduled to end their adventure on Sunday and go home on Monday.  However, the trip may end at any time in the next couple of days for either of two reasons; (1) Monroe County may issue a mandatory evacuation of non-residents order or (2) Captain Martin Ivey may receive instructions from the vessel’s owner to secure it at a harbor of safe refuge.

Speaking of safe refuge, two more of the Florida Sea Base dive vessels were put on the hard in Marathon yesterday afternoon.  That leaves only one vessel available for our remaining divers.  The boat will be crowded tomorrow, assuming the wind conditions allow us to go out.  Most of the sail boats have left the Florida Sea Base dock for safer harbors.  Captain Rich’s schooner, Sienna Belle has too deep draft to fit into any of the more protected locations so we will secure his vessel in place.  I will be the last one to leave the dock.  But if time doesn’t allow, I may have to secure S/V Escape in place as well.  I have another day or two to work that out.  I have prepared the boat except for removing the bimini and dodger.  I will wait as long as possible because it is really a mess coming below when it’s raining with no cover over the cockpit.

Tropical Storm Isaac is about 1,000 miles from the Florida Sea Base.  The models were in agreement yesterday that the system would cross the Florida Keys.  The storm was approximately 1,000 miles in diameter so the leading edge is less than 500 miles away.   The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, or NOAA if you prefer, do a great job of predicting a storm’s path.  But the intensity forecast is still less certain.  The forecast for the system’s strength has waiver between tropical storm and category 1 status.  But experience has taught us that it could self destruct or arrive as a major hurricane.  “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is never more accurate than when preparing for a hurricane.  We have been caught napping a couple of times.  “Prepare for the worst” is the only reasonable course of action any time you find yourself in the “cone of death”.

By the end of today we should be about as ready as we can be for Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac.  The forecast this morning is a little encouraging; the center of the track has moved from very near the Florida Sea Base down to Key West and we are (again) at tropical storm status instead of category 1 hurricane status.

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It is common for the news and weather companies to focus on the immediate issues but we don’t want to loose site of what’s on the horizon.  Tropical Depression Joyce has been forecasted to curve north and east since its beginning.  But the track of newly designated Invest 97L is less certain.

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With Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac rapidly approaching we need to not get totally focused on this single system.  We are into the most aggressive part of hurricane season.  High Adventure!

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We have a little wind this morning but that is not related to Isaac.  Puerto Rico is experiencing rain and near calm wind.

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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 Steve.Willis@scouting.org 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

Chrystene (Matthews) Speed, former Director of Conferences and Food Services at the Florida Sea Base, sent this announcement on Friday, 17 August 2012:

Dear Sea Base Staff and SBAFA Committee,
As of yesterday evening, the final scoring of the 2012 SBAFA Scholarship Committee was completed.
We received 17 applications, removed one because of termination, and thoroughly enjoyed reading what a a great group of staff members have been serving Sea Base this summer.  There were many qualified individuals, but due to budgetary limitations in this inaugural year, we are awarding only 2 scholarships – one from each Base.  Each applicant was rated on Scouting & outdoor experiences, high school experiences, percent of college earned, percent of grants and scholarships they might already be receiving, their unique and individual needs, potential to return as a staff member, and any supervisor evaluations we might have received.
We are pleased to announce the following recipients for this years $1500 scholarship gifts:

Michelle Kroll – BEC
Christy Clemenson – FSB
Emails have been sent to the recipients as well as those that did not receive a scholarship this year informing them of their status.
It is our hope to grow this fund so that many more staff members may be served by this opportunity.  Thank you for your support in executing this process.  If you have any suggestions for improvement and growth of this endeavor, please feel free to communicate them our committee.  We would appreciate any and all help.
Yours sincerely,
Chrystene Speed – Nancy Wells – Paul Wieland
2012 SBAFA Scholarship Committee

Congratulations to Michelle and Captain Christy!!!  I am a charter, life member of the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association.  Membership is open to “friends” of the Florida Sea Base; you do NOT have be a former staff member or participant.  Please consider joining and contributing to this great cause.

One Coral Reef Sailing crew arrived on Saturday.  Today we have 4 Scuba Adventure crews, 1 Scuba Adventure, and 2 Coral Reef Sailing crews or approximately 56 participants arriving.  Compare that to last Sunday when we had 6 Scuba Adventure crews, 1 Scuba Certification crew, 5 Coral Reef Sailing crews and 1 Sea Exploring crew or approximately 116 participants arrive.  I am sure Office Manager Susan Mahoney is appreciating the reduction in arriving crews.  That job is INSANE on Sundays and Wednesdays (scuba arrival days).  If you read my post a few days ago you may recall that I don’t have an Office Manager lined up for spring 2013.  I mentioned some of the qualifications in that post.  While the position is classified as “seasonal” I have budgeted that as a 9 month position for 2013.  So a person could conceivably work from say 05 January to 05 September.

I’m going to address the progress of Invest 94L.  THERE IS NO HURRICANE APPROACHING THE FLORIDA SEA BASE.  Please direct any concerns or questions to me as indicated in the last paragraph of this post.  DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL OTHER PERSONNEL AT THE FLORIDA SEA BASE.  Some of them get mad when you call them about information posted in this blog.  I am looking at weather forecasts, computer models and various scenarios.  It is all public information and there are no hidden agendas.  I am trying to remain optimistic that we will complete the 2012 summer season without a major wind event.  Invest 94L may bring us some weather, or the system may turn north or south, or just die out.  There is no need for alarm at this time.  Here’s what Dr. Masters had to say on Saturday:

Forecast for 94L
The latest 2 pm EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will be low, 5 – 10 knots, and ocean temperatures will fluctuate around 28°C over the next five days, as 94L tracks westwards towards the Lesser Antilles. As is typical with storms making the crossing from Africa to the Antilles, dry air to the north will likely interfere with development, and the SHIPS model predicts increased dry air as 94L approaches the Lesser Antilles. However, with shear expected to be low, dry air may be less of an issue for 94L than it was for Ernesto or TD 7. The storm should maintain a nearly due west track through Monday night, to a point near 50°W, about 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. At that point, a trough of low pressure passing to the north of 94L may be able to pull the storm to the northwest well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles, as suggested by the latest 12Z (8 am EDT) run of the NOGAPS model. The 12Z UKMET model shows a more west-northwesterly motion resulting in a near miss of the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. Our two best performing models–the GFS and ECMWF–have both been taking 94L through the Lesser Antilles with every run for the past 24 hours, though. The latest 12Z run of both models now agree on the timing, with 94L arriving Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The BAMM model, which performed as well as the ECMWF and GFS at 5-day forecasts in 2011, is also showing a track through the Lesser Antilles. Given this agreement among our top three models for long-range forecasts, I give a 60% chance that 94L will pass through the Lesser Antilles. In their 2 pm EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 94L a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday afternoon.

If the system gets to the Lesser Antilles on Thursday, it would have over 1,500 miles to go before arriving close to the Keys.  So even if it makes a bee line our way, we should still clear out all but our very last crew before the weather becomes an issue.  Think positive!  As you can see by the below graphic from The Weather Channel, the track is very uncertain; it is simply too far out with too many variables.  Despite how it looks on this graphic, all but one of the computer models indicate the system will stay south of Cuba and the lone dissenter has the system hugging the western shore of The Bahamas.  Those tracks then define the cone of uncertainty depicted in The Weather Channel graphic.  Either of those tracks keeps a land mass between us and the storm which is a good thing.

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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 Steve.Willis@scouting.org 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

Welcome to FloridaSeaBaseNews.com.  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 Steve.Willis@scouting.org 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.

Fifteen days left for all adventure participants except Scuba Liveaboard who will be gone in 21 days.

The tropical weather forecasts seem to be in our favor.  TD7 should stay well south of the Florida Sea Base, following the same general path as Ernesto and possibly falling apart by Monday.  Invest 93L is expected to make a hard turn to the north and not be a threat to the USA.

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The Florida Sea Base programs are definitely winding down.  The Bahamas programs are done.  The Brinton Environmental Center has 48 crews to go and the Sea Base has 53 more crews.

Our dive boat captains and Coral Reef Sailing captains are complaining almost daily about all of the lobster traps and the nuts who are snorkeling and diving in the marked channels near the Florida Sea Base.  This is an annual challenge, but seems to be much worse this year.  Locally, the participants are called S.P.O.R.E.S., Stupid People on Rented Equipment.  Every year several of them die trying to catch a lobster.  Believe me, it is MUCH less expensive to buy a lobster tail in the Keys than it is to catch your own; and it’s safer too.

We had a decent thunderstorm at about 22:00 (10 pm) last night.  I am not aware of any damages or injuries but its always a little nerve racking when you’re on s sailboat in a lightning storm.

Enjoy your weekend.

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

The harbor overhaul showed great progress today.  The crane on shore was removing tons of sand that had dried.

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At the same time, the barge mounted crane was installing pilings at the chapel seawall.  Click the link to view a short video.

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I took this photo last week but forgot to post it.  I guess the hospital was anticipating some cases of gastric distress.

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Five Scuba Adventure crews and one Sea Exploring crew had a great luau dinner last night as they prepare to return home.  Once again, despite the weather, the captains, mates, divemasters, galley and store staff made it a great week for these young men and women.

One Scuba Certification crew, one Scuba Adventure crew and three Coral Reef Sailing crews arrive today.

We are expecting another windy week:

Sunday And Sunday Night…East winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Isolated showers.
Monday Through Tuesday…East winds near 20 knots. Seas 5 to 7 feet. Isolated showers.
Wednesday…East to southeast winds near 20 knots. Seas 5 to 7 feet. Isolated showers.
Thursday…East to southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Isolated showers.

We topped out at 82º yesterday.  The water was 79º.  Wetsuits?  We don’t need no stinking wetsuits!  Actually, wetsuits are still a good idea.  But just a degree or two warmer and we will definitely be diving in swim suits and t-shirts.

Before dinner, Divemasters Steven Raymond and Mike Roesel and I drove up to Florida Keys Dive Center.  I introduced Mike and Steven to PADI Course Director Bert Hubby.  Mike and Steven are registered to start their PADI Instructor Development Course this coming Friday.  The plan is for both of them to stay onboard this summer as Scuba Instructors.

Make it a good one.

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

The Florida Sea Base is forecasted for a 20% chance of showers and an overnight low around 70.  As is common, our real weather event will be brisk, westerly winds.

We had two Coral Reef Sailing crews and a Scuba Liveaboard crew arrive yesterday.  The Coral Reef Sailing crews will be with Captain Dave Muenzel on S/V New Horizon and Captain Martin Ivy on S/V Silent Harmony.  The Scuba Liveaboard crew will be with Scuba Instructor Dave Ball and Divemaster Mike Roesel.  They will spend the week on the Schooner Conch Pearl with Co-Captains Denny Webb and Holly Whitley.

I am on my way to assist PADI Course Director Captain Bert Hubby with an Instructor Development Course candidate.  Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras picked up her dad, Rick Kuras at the Fort Lauderdale airport last night. He is visiting for a week before leaving the country for a few months.

Have a great day.

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

My parents are getting hammered in southeast Texas by severe weather this morning.  It is raining but not near as severe in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where the rest of my family resides.  While the weather conditions at the Florida Sea Base will remain better than much of the country, we are expecting a cold front Sunday night that will lower temperatures and bring us strong northerly winds.  WeatherUnderground is forecasting a low of 63º and WNW winds at 15-25 mph.

Our Coral Reef Sailing and Sea Exploring crews that arrived at 0230 yesterday morning, got a few hours of sleep, joined the staff for flags and breakfast and completed a service project before lunch.  In the afternoon they played volleyball and went through the usual check-in routine.

Our friendly US Coast Guard Inspector, CWO Roger Fisk, performed a routine annual inspection on the BSA Explorer at the Florida Sea Base yesterday.  Captain Rich Beliveau spent hours and hours working on drug consortium paperwork.  The dredging continues.

Here’s the marine weather forecast from the National Weather Service:

Saturday And Saturday Night…Southeast to south winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Isolated showers.
Sunday…South to southwest winds near 15 knots…shifting southwest to west and increasing to 15 to 20 knots late. Seas 2 to 4 feet…building to 3 to 5 feet late. Isolated showers in the morning…then scattered showers in the afternoon.
Sunday Night…Northwest to north winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet…building to 4 to 6 feet late. Scattered showers in the evening…then isolated showers after midnight.
Monday…North to northeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet.
Tuesday…East to southeast winds 15 to 20 knots early…decreasing to near 15 knots late. Seas 4 to 6 feet…subsiding to 3 to 5 feet late. Isolated showers.
Wednesday…Southeast to south winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet. Isolated showers.

Sleeping may be a real challenge Sunday night.

I hope to get some laundry and boat keeping done today, plus preparing for tomorrow’s day of diving with the PADI Instructor Development Course.  I was hoping to take Sunday morning off, but duty calls.

Enjoy your weekend.

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

The invasion of the jellies continues, but may be dissipating slightly.  What we are seeing at the Florida Sea Base are minor stings from Moon Jellies and their larvae.  If you happen to be coming to the Florida Sea Base (or sending a child) in the next few days, PLEASE bring some Benadryl®, hydrocortisone creme and vinegar in your first aid kit.  If you are trying to carry-on all of your luggage, try to make a brief stop on your drive from the airport to purchase these items.  We also sell a product in the Ships Store called “Wipe Away Pain”.  It is very effective for reducing the itch and sting of jellyfish envenomizations.  PLEASE purchase a package of this product to carry aboard with you.  Stings from Moon Jellies are relatively mild for most people.  But if you know that you or your child is unusually susceptible to bee or wasp stings, you should bring at least TWO epi-pens (prescription required).  Remember, we are two to four hours from professional medical intervention.  One last suggestion is to search the internet or printed references for instructions on how to treat jellyfish stings.  ALL NIGHT DIVES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL THE JELLY INVASION SUBSIDES.  If all goes well, I will be diving some next week and can make a personal evaluation.

Captain Rich and I were van drivers yesterday, shuttling one crew about 12 miles north to Tavernier for the Scuba Liveaboard program, then back to the Florida Sea Base for lunch, then 25 miles west to Marathon to pick up a Sea Exploring crew and returned them to the base.

The tropics remain active with (fortunately) weak storms.

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Invest 93L should remain well to our south.

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The next wave is a long way off and has not been assigned as an invest, but the forecasted track requires our attention.  Regardless of what happens to this system, it likely will not be able to arrive at the Florida Sea Base before our summer session ends.

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If my count (done at 0320) is correct, including today we have the following number of crew arrivals left in the 2011 summer program season at the Florida Sea Base (I don’t have access to the schedules for the Brinton Environmental Center of the Bahamas programs):

Coral Reef Sailing – 16 crews
Eco Adventure – 1 crew
Scuba Adventure – 2 crews
Scuba Certification – 1 crew
Scuba Liveaboard – 2 crews
Sea Exploring – 2 crews

That totals approximately 228 more smiling faces for Dr. Ellen to check in.  That’s a definite sign that the season is winding down.  On a single busy day during mid-summer we can have:

Coral Reef Sailing – 5 crews
Eco Adventure – 1 crew
Scuba Adventure – 6 crews
Scuba Certification – 1 crew
Scuba Liveaboard – 1 crew

That’s a total of 120 participants.  (We had a few days that were overbooked this past summer so we had as many as 134 participants arrive on a single day.)

It’s 0345.  I’m going to try to get some sleep.  (The staff will appreciate it.)  Have a great day!

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape

Invest 94L remains relatively disorganized this morning.  One of the scenarios forecasts it moving towards the Keys and bringing us some rainfall on Thursday or Friday.  The system is currently tracking NNW but may turn northwest towards Yucatan or northeast towards Haiti.  Only time will tell.  Regardless, it appears this will NOT be a wind event but may, at worst, bring some much needed rain to south Florida.

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We are pretty much into the summer routine at the Florida Sea Base.  I’m not sure the arrival/shore leave/departure schedule is worth repeating every day.  Here is the general schedule for the remaining 83 days of the 2011 summer season at the Florida Sea Base:

* Four (sometimes five) Coral Reef Sailing crews arrive every day, seven days a week.  Four or five other Coral Reef Sailing crews are in for shore leave every day and another four or five more crews end their program each day.  One Eco Adventure crew arrives each Friday and departs the following Thursday.

* Six Scuba Adventure crews and one Scuba Certification crew arrives each Sunday and Wednesday.  If they arrive on a Sunday they go home the following Sunday to make room for the incoming crews; likewise for the Wednesday rotation.

* Scuba Liveaboard crews arrive each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and go home on the same day of the week (one week later) as they arrived.

* Sea Exploring crews arrive each Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and go home on the same day of the week (one week later) as they arrived.

* Open Oceans Adventure crews arrive each Friday and go home the following Friday.

I don’t have access to the Bahamas or Brinton Environmental Center schedules.

Here’s our marine forecast (courtesy of the National Weather Service):

This AfternoonEast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet…subsiding to 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet…subsiding to 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop.
Tonight
Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. isolated showers.
Tuesday
Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots…increasing to near 15 knots late. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop…becoming a moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Tuesday Night
East winds near 15 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop to choppy. isolated showers. 
Wednesday
East winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet…building to 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms. 
Thursday And Friday
Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. scattered showers and thunderstorms.

And the terrestrial forecast from the NWS:

Today: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Tonight: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Wednesday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. Breezy, with a east wind between 15 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Thursday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 88. Breezy, with a east wind between 15 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Thursday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy and breezy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy and breezy, with a high near 88. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy and breezy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 79. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Monday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Gotta go!

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I woke up at 0200 to use the bathroom and then got to thinking about one of our scuba instructors who will be in my office for some “counseling” later this morning which in turn really woke me up, so here’s an early morning post.

We are watching Invest 94L, a low pressure system in the Caribbean, below Jamaica.  Dr. Jeff Masters made the following post on Friday:

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 – 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 – 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

This system poses no immediate threat to the Florida Sea Base but we will remain vigilant in monitoring its progress.  There is some concern by Miami forecasters that it will effect our weather on Thursday but that is not yet confirmed by the most recent computer model forecast for 94L:

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Sunday we welcomed six Scuba Adventure crews, one Scuba Certification crew, four Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew to the Florida Sea Base.  Five Coral Reef Sailing crews were in for shore leave.  Four Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew returned to base for Luau.

I received the following comment from former Sailing Commissioner Kaitie Kessler:

Hi Capt Steve!
I truly enjoyed ready your current blogs! It sounds like the 2011 summer is off to a good start! I agreed to spend 2 months this summer as an Aquatics Director for a council camp near Terre Haute IN. Our staff week started yesterday hut ive been here since wed. I oversee 2 staff and a man-made lake that offers rowing, canoeing, swimming and life saving merit badges. I will be teaching life saving and then rotating through the other three. I also will be incharge of any events that take place on my waterfront. Our first round of campers arrive on sunday so we have been mostly setting our areas up and discussing lesson plans, campfires etc.
I spent a grueling week at National Camp School where interestingly enough i saw one of my adult leaders from the only sea exploring crew I had in 2007. After a few memory triggers ( Jolly 2 Rover, Capt Joey Mike Simpson) he did recognize me and later that day we caught up. He told me that that was the best time he has ever had and he says he still talks about that week. I of course agreed because I also had a fantatstic 2 yrs working for Sea Base.
As I am thrust back into scouting, I have flashbacks to my days there and I miss it. I miss the people, the programs, the diving and the ocean. I hope someday soon to visit and to go diving again( because i havent dove since 2006- which is a sin for a marine scientist!)
Hello to all Staff and I hope the weather continues to be fair and the hurricanes few. Have a fantastic and safe summer!

Kaitie Kessler CRM/SEM, Sailing Commissioner Summer/Fall 2006, 2007

Kaitie did an excellent job for us and the local council is very lucky to have her.

I’m going to try to get back to sleep.  The staff can usually tell when I’ve had a tough night.

One last thing…….Capt. Rich was notified on Friday (I think it was Friday) by our Director of Program, Mr. Rob Kolb that two captains positions and several mate positions are open immediately on the 123′ Halie and Matthew that will be sailing weekly from Key West to the Dry Tortugas in our Open Oceans adventure.   Anyone interested should call Capt. Rich Beliveau at 305-394-0365 today!!!  The Halie and Matthew is a gorgeous boat and this is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.

Good night.  I mean good morning.  You know what I mean – back to bed.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

05Jun

Scuba Liveaboard

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I realize a lot of non-scuba diving parents are sending their kids to the Florida Sea Base.  I think its great that the parents are supportive of the kids.  But, I would like to encourage the parents to try scuba for themselves.  It can be a great family activity, even if you don’t come to the Florida Sea Base.  I first poked my head under water in the azure waters of the southern Mediterranean Sea in 1961.  I still go diving when circumstances permit.  And now that I am getting back down to my fighting weight, I hope to make more opportunities to get back underwater.

I entitled today’s post “Scuba Liveaboard” because I get a lot of calls from parents of kids who are signed up for the program but they don’t know how to pronounce “liveaboard”.  That word doesn’t pass spell check and was invented by the scuba industry.  It is frequently mispronounced as “liv”; as in “this is a live broadcast”.  The proper pronunciation is “layhv” (according to dictionary.com); as in “I live on a boat”.  Instead of living in on-base housing, the participants live on the boat; therefore they live aboard which the scuba industry merged into liveaboard.  I hope that’s at least as clear as mud.  Liveaboard diving is considered the ultimate style of dive trip for hard core divers.  Since you do not have to return to shore each day for housing, you can travel to more distant dive sites and you can dive more frequently.  One of our recent scuba liveaboard crews came back to base dived out.  By the last day of their trip they asked if they could spend the day sailing.  They were exhausted from all of the diving.  Which is another advantage to the Scuba Liveaboard program – more options.  Dive, snorkel, sail, fish or lounge; the choice is yours.

When I originally proposed bringing the Scuba Liveaboard program to the Florida Sea Base we discussed the rigors and challenges the program would present the participants.  (And before I go any further, I need to give half credit to Captain and PADI Course Director Bert Hubby for being my partner-in-crime.)  This is the Florida National HIGH ADVENTURE Sea Base and Scuba Liveaboard is the most adventurous of our scuba programs.  We were not sure if the program would sell.  Most of the divers attending the Florida Sea Base are inexperienced.  So we thought we might open that program only to those who had previously participated in the Scuba Adventure program.  But that would be impossible to enforce.  So to make a long story a little shorter, the General Manager of the Florida Sea Base conspired with Captain Denny Webb (Schooner Conch Pearl) and our Scuba Liveaboard program was under way for 2005.  In 2008 we added Scuba Liveaboard #2 by popular demand.  This year we added Scuba Liveaboard #3 and Scuba Liveaboard #4 is under serious consideration for 2012.  One of the advantages of the program is it allows us to bring more kids to Sea Base with minimal impact on our near capacity dormitory space.  But it is one of our most expensive programs and is very challenging logistically.  We already have a sufficient waiting list to fill SL-4 if we decide to pursue that option for 2012.

Saturday saw the arrival of one Scuba Liveaboard crew and four Coral Reef Sailing crews.  Four Coral Reef Sailing crews were in for shore leave.  Four Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew returned to base for Luau.

The Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certification crews on Sunday rotation completed their last dive on Saturday morning.  The Wednesday rotation Scuba Adventure crews completed two dives and the Scuba Certification crew completed their pool training and one open water training dive.  The wind continued to build through the afternoon and I had to cancel last night’s dive.  The wind is scheduled to drop to more comfortable levels this week:

Sunday…East winds 15 to 20 knots…decreasing to near 15 knots during the afternoon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet…subsiding to around 2 feet. Nearshore waters choppy…becoming a moderate chop. isolated showers.
Sunday Night…Northeast to east winds near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Monday And Monday Night…Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Tuesday…Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Wednesday And Thursday…Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Northeast is much better for the divers than north winds.  And 15 knots is very good wind for the sailors.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape