Posts Tagged ‘dive’

As I am writing this, Paul Beal, General Manager of the Florida Sea Base, and Rob Kolb, Director of Program, are having a working dinner with the visitation team.  Paul and Rob will review several of the inspection standards with the group tonight since we have a very limited time (9 hours including lunch) tomorrow to demonstrate compliance with almost 90 operational and procedural standards.  As I mentioned a day or two ago, the inspectors will be divided into three teams.  Capt. Keith Douglass, Facilities Director, and I are guides for Team 3.  Our team has responsibility for 37 of the inspection standards.

Today was busied with our normal program responsibilities plus last minute preparations for the visitation.  Overall it was a good day.  One sad note was that Laura Kuras had to return home to start summer school.  She is a very dynamic staff member and we will miss her.  Otherwise, it was just another “first day” at the Florida Sea Base.  We constantly remind ourselves and the staff that every day at the Florida Sea Base is some participants’ first day.  One of the differences we have with local camps is that participants are arriving and departing seven days a week.  So every day is opening day for 50 to 106 newly arriving participants.

My Office Manager, Ellen Wyatt, was sick and missed work on Monday.  But she recovered quickly and was back on the job and in outstanding spirits yesterday.  She and her husband, Capt. Dennis, bring laughter and a wonderful spirit to the base daily.  And speaking of Capt. Dennis, I think I hurt his feelings a little bit the other day when I posted the photos of the three Newton Dive Specials.  Capt. Dennis drives BSA Tarpon, a 45′ Corinthian dive boat.

BSA Tarpon - the first of the dedicated dive vessels in our fleet.

The BSA Tarpon is an incredible scuba platform.  She is quieter and faster than the Newtons.  She induces a party atmosphere aboard.  She is fabulous in moderate to calm seas.  Her only weakness is she doesn’t do quite as well as the Newtons in rough seas.  Corinthian dive boats are popular in the Keys.  I believe the Florida Sea Base bought the BSA Tarpon in 1994 with money donated by one of our generous benefactors.

We own another 45′ Corinthian, BSA Scoutmaster.  She started her life in the scuba program at the Florida Sea Base but was transfered in 2005 or 2006 to the Brinton Environmental Center.  I started my career at the Florida Sea Base as a Scuba Instructor in 2000.  Later I was promoted to captain of the BSA Scoutmaster which I drove until being hired as the Program Director.  So I too have fond feelings for the Corinthians.

I hope you enjoy the photo Capt. Dennis.  Thanks for all you do for the members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Today is Memorial Day, please take a moment to reflect on the the soldiers who have fought and given their lives to protect the American way of life.  If you happen to see a soldier today, make an effort to tell them “thank you.”  And if you know a relative of a soldier thank them too.  They also sacrifice and suffer.  They deserve your thanks.

There seems to be no significant update to the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.  Winds should remain relatively light next week pushing the oil on-shore and possibly east as far as the Alabama / Florida border.  The off-shore oil stills appears to be caught in the Loop Current Eddy and posing no threat to the Florida Keys or the Florida Sea Base for the immediate future.  It may be MONTHS now before BP can shut this well down.  Current estimates suggest more than a million gallons of oil may be released through this one well by 01 August 2010.  I am not educated enough to find words to express my feelings.  This is simply unbelievable, incomprehensible, and criminal.  I appreciate all of the benefits of oil.  But the safety regulations have to be enforced and the safety devices have to be tested periodically for functionality.

On happier news, Captains Rich, Carol and I will be departing at 0630 tomorrow morning for Slidell, LA to take delivery of the Florida Sea Base’s third Newton 46 Dive Special, the BSA Centennial Eagle.  I have some housekeeping and packing left to do.  This is not a convenient time for us.  The boat was supposed to be ready before now.  Oh well.  It looks like we have a good weather forecast for the delivery.  That means a lot.

I’m not sure if I will be taking a laptop or not.  Even if I do, there will be a few days that I can’t post anything.  I will do my best to post whenever I can.  Thanks for your continued support.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

One of the essential pieces of equipment for a scuba diver is a device to track time.  In the ’60s I had no such device, nor dive tables, not even a pressure gauge.  It got harder to breath from the tank as it got low on air and that was the clue that it was time to surface – simple enough.  Sometime back in the 1970s I upgraded to dive tables, a pressure gauge and a very nice dive watch.  My recollection is the watch cost about $165.  I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I was grossing less than $1,000 a month back then so it was a fairly substantial investment.  It was a good watch and lasted several years before I killed it on a deep dive more than 10 years later at Cozumel.  I mounted it in a shadow box as a reminder.

I eventually replaced it with a digital Casio G-Shock.  It was waterproof, lighted, had alarm functions and was cheap.  I think I paid about $25 for it.  Then on a dive trip to Florida the battery quit.  I found a mall with a jewelry store and asked if they could change the battery.  They did and charged me about $10 including the battery.  Off I went not noticing until the next day that the time was running okay, but the date was running backwards.  I put up with that for a while and the next jeweler I went to said the watch was not repairable.  So I bought a new Casio G-Shock with even more features for $35.  When the battery finally croaked (about 7 or 8 years later) I just tossed that one and bought another new one, with even more features for $50.  That one too lasted many years.  The battery died about 2 months ago but I am thinking about getting a new battery and keeping the watch as a back-up.

I bought a new one last year for about $100 on the internet.  This one has no battery; it’s solar powered.  It synchronizes every night with the atomic clock in Colorado.  It has a thermometer, barometer, altimeter, plus all of the features of the previous watch.

So what’s my point?  I’m not sure.  Sometimes I think about buying a Tag or Rolex or some other expensive watch.  But for 100 times the money they don’t do nearly as many tricks.  Plus I would be upset if I killed it.  Not so with the Casio; buy it, wear it, throw it away.  I’m too old to worry about being cool.


DMA Class 6

in Scuba  •  2 comments

Monday afternoon DMA Class 6 loaded their gear aboard BSA Adventure and headed to Alligator Reef for dives 1 and 2.  The water was much warmer than the air.  These two dives gave the instructional staff and opportunity to assess the candidates’ comfort in the water and gave the candidates an opportunity to make a couple of dives without being tasked with a lot of skills or responsibilities.  These will be the last “fun dives” for several days.  The instructional staff noted strengths and identified a few weaknesses.  After dinner, Milly McCoy. Dave Ball and Capt. Alex Bergstedt had a good debrief session with the class.

DMA Class 6 aboard BSA Adventure