Friday was Trevor O’Keefe’s last day at the Florida Sea Base. He has found a real job in the Upper Keys putting his architecture degree to use. Trevor has been with us for several years and is one of the artists who contributed to the mural on our ice-house wall. Trevor’s older brother, Vaughn, worked for us for several seasons as well until accepting a position as a Deputy Sheriff with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The youngest O’Keefe, Ryan has attended the Florida Sea Base as a participant but has not worked on staff (yet). The three brothers seem to have great support from father Danny and mother Donna. Danny finds his way down to the Keys a couple of times a year. Donna doesn’t make it as often. They have raised three great son’s and Trevor, like his older brother, has been a popular and productive staff member.
Keith MacDonell is attending the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) this weekend. Keith came to the Florida Sea Base as a PADI Assistant Instructor. He had completed his PADI Instructor Development Course in Indiana but did not have the required 100 logged dives to attend the IE. I have been working with the PADI IDC candidates at Florida Keys Dive Center of and on this past week. We were able to have Keith included into the team of candidates from FKDC at the IE orientation last night. The candidates will perform some basic skills for the examiners this morning and then make a teaching presentation in the confined water (pool). That will take until lunch time. After lunch they will have an hour and a half to take a written exam on PADI standards and another hour and a half to take a comprehensive exam on dive theory, including the dreaded physics and physiology exams.
My day is a little scattered. I will be a the IE early this morning to cheer on Keith and the candidates from FKDC. Then after lunch I will drive back to FKDC to meet with Coral Reef Sailing staff member Eric Bergman. Eric is working on his PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Certification and needs to complete two practical assessments that including analyzing the oxygen content in at least two scuba cylinders. The cylinders will have enriched air, meaning they contain more than 21% oxygen. Enriched air is also referred to as nitrox. The primary advantage to diving with enriched air is increased bottom time for a given depth. The primary disadvantage is oxygen becomes toxic at depth. So increasing the percentage of oxygen in the breathing gas decreases your maximum operating depth and monitoring your depth becomes more critical than with conventional air. When I finish with Eric I will return to the IE. Hopefully we will finish there around dinner time.
Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it is a safe, fun and productive endeavor.
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape