Posts Tagged ‘josie’

Tuesday was a long, hot, hard, exhausting day at the Florida Sea Base.  Recovering from these storms is always harder than the preparations.  I assume that’s because we generally have several days to prepare and the recovery is mostly a one day event.  Regardless, we are thankful that no one was injured and there was no significant property damage – YET.  The VHF antenna tower at the program office broke loose from the mount that attaches it too the building.  If it is not fixed VERY soon it is going to fall.  That has happened before and it took a long time and a lot of money to erect the new one.

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Isaac has finally developed into a category 1 hurricane and made landfall near New Orleans.  My prayers are for minimal damage along the coast and much needed rains throughout the mid-west.  Unfortunately, at of 05:15 this morning, Plaquemines Parish, LA (south of New Orleans) has, and is continuing to receive significant rain, surge and wind damage.  The system seems to have stalled in the southernmost tip of Louisiana.  While the system remains at category 1 strength, the cumulative effects are frightening.  It looks like the rain will not quite reach my dad’s place in southeast Texas.

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Invest 97L intensified and is now Tropical Storm Kirk.  It is making a u-turn and poses no threat to the Florida Sea Base.

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But, now we are watching Invest 98L.  The computer models are suggesting that it will not pose a threat but it is a long way out and conditions could change.

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How about a look at the cutest one year old in the universe?  Josie turned one on 03 August.  I was able to sneak back home for her birthday party and will get to see her again in about 3 weeks.

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With help from several staff members and a few captains, I am back aboard S/V Escape.

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

06Aug

CATCH UP

in Weather  •  0 comment

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Let’s start with good weather news for the Florida Sea Base.  Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground posted on Sunday:

Forecast for Ernesto
Ernesto’s rapid forward speed of 23 mph has been part of the reason for its lack of intensification, but the storm is expected to slow down Monday and Tuesday in response to a trough of low pressure passing to the north. This slowing, in combination with low wind shear, a moister environment, and increasing heat energy in the ocean, may allow Ernesto to strengthen some before making landfall in Belize or Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday night. However, the storm will be passing very close to the north coast of Honduras, putting a portion of its circulation over land and limiting intensification potential. It is unlikely Ernesto will become a hurricane in the Caribbean; NHC is giving just a 19% chance that this will occur. The main threat from Ernesto will be heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and Jamaica. The track forecast for Ernesto has become a bit easier, since the storm’s current disorganization and more southerly path make will make it more difficult for the storm to make a northwesterly turn into the Gulf of Mexico like the UKMET and GFDL models are predicting. A stronger Ernesto would have been more likely to turn northwest under the influence of a trough of low pressure passing to the north. If Ernesto survives its crossing of the Yucatan Peninsula, the potential exists for it to re-strengthen over the Bay of Campeche, and make a second landfall on Mexico’s coast on Friday, between Tampico and Veracruz. It’s pretty unlikely that Ernesto will hit the U.S.– though Brownsville, Texas could see some rain from Ernesto’s outer spiral bands on Friday, if the storm survives that long.

Tropical Storm Florence 
Tropical Storm Florence continues to plow westward at 14 mph over the Eastern Atlantic, and is not a threat to any land areas for next five days. The SHIPS model is predicting a moderate 5 – 15 knots of wind shear for Florence Sunday and Monday, but the shear will increase to the high range as Florence encounters an upper-level trough of low pressure on Tuesday. The latest Saharan Air Layer Analysis shows that a large area of dry air lies to the north and west of Florence, and this dry air will likely cause problems for the storm. Ocean temperature are near 26 – 26.5°C, which is right at the threshold for where a tropical storm can typically exist. It is possible that Florence could pose a threat to Bermuda next weekend, if the storm survives that long. Both the GFS and ECMWF models dissipate Florence before then.

Here’s the National Weather Service forecast for the Florida Sea Base:

Monday: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Monday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tuesday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Wednesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Wednesday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Thursday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Thursday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

And here’s our marine forecast from the National Weather Service:

Synopsis…MODERATE EAST TO SOUTHEAST BREEZES WILL VEER TO THE SOUTHEAST TODAY…THEN CONTINUE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY AS TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO MOVES WESTWARD INTO THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA. EAST TO SOUTHEAST BREEZES SHOULD THEN GRADUALLY DECREASE DURING THE MIDDLE TO LATER PART OF THE WEEK AS WEAK ATLANTIC HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ACROSS THE FLORIDA PENINSULA.

Today: East to southeast winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Winds and seas higher in and near numerous showers and scattered thunderstorms.
Tonight: Southeast winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Scattered showers and thunderstorms.
Tuesday: East to southeast winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.
Tuesday Night And Wednesday: East to southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Wednesday Night Through Friday Night: East to southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Bottom line?  A little breeze  from the Tropical Storms.  Hot.  A little bumpy on the reef for the divers but great sailing conditions.  It might rain, it might not.

I will try to explain my absence.  Thursday my post generally reflected the disapproval I had received on Wednesday about my blog.  This caused some concern on my part and that concern was commented on by many of you.  Thursday evening I was working on what would have been Friday’s post because I was leaving early Friday morning for Dallas to attend my granddaughter’s first birthday. It was a nice post (in my humble opinion) but when I tried to upload a photo I received an error message.  Then I tried to save the existing draft and received another error message.  I had lost communication with my host server.  So I left the computer running and went to bed for an hour or two.  I checked again and it appeared the server was back up so I tried to save the draft again.  Yet another error message.  I tried once more and everything vanished.  I entered the url and all that appeared was the water background and the administrative page.  I showed 0 posts, 0 comments, 0 everything except 700 and something “tags”.  Everything was GONE.

I sent a text message to my son, Aaron, in Dallas.  He is my tech support and my inspiration.  Sometime around midnight he had “recovered” the missing data.  If you tried logging into this site between 22:00 and midnight (Eastern Time) Thursday you probably received some sort of error message.  I was up at 05:00 Friday morning.  Aaron was not sure of the cause of the crash and felt I should leave everything alone and not post.  (The draft was never saved anyway.)  So I headed to the airport and flew to Texas.  Saturday was the birthday party.  Sunday evening I returned to the Florida Sea Base and posted a quick few paragraphs.  That went well.  Now I’m trying a larger post and hoping for the best.

Josie Arlene Willis celebrates her first birthday.

Hopefully the glitch will not recur.  We are back to the normal Florida Sea Base status of controlled chaos.

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

09Feb

102

The Boy Scouts of America turned 102 yesterday.  Happy Birthday to us!

I haven’t heard any news from the base so I hereby declare all is well.  Warm temperatures and a chance of rain continues in the Nation Weather Service forecast:

Thursday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 77. Northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Thursday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 80. Northeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Northeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Saturday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 79. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 66. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Sunday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 74. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy and breezy, with a low around 67. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Monday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Monday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

I am taking the next four days off to spend with my family and work on my PADI Course Director Training Course application.  I will be traveling to Slidell, Louisiana Monday to check on the progress of the 36′ Newton Dive Special we have under construction.  I will try to post a photo or two Monday night.  I hope to be back to work on Thursday at the latest.

Here’s a new photo of my 6 month old granddaughter, Josie:

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Have a GREAT weekend.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Enjoying a few days off.

Today is Josie Arlene Willis’ 6 month birthday.

“No news is good news”.  And so it is this morning regarding the Florida Sea Base.  I am keeping up with emails and phone calls while away from the base.  Yesterday I was one notch above zombie status.  I was up for 34 hours, slept for an hour and a half and spent the rest of the day in a fog.  I cleaned the snorkeling gear from the manatee encounter and unpacked.

I have three missions for today.  First, prepare for the BSA Aquatics Task Force meeting that will be held Saturday and Sunday at BSA headquarters.  Second, enroll in the PADI Dive Theory course to help me prepare for the Course Director exams.  Third, study the PADI Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving and old PADI quizzes to further prepare for the CD exams.

I probably will not post anything on Saturday or Sunday due to the meetings.  I appreciate Captain Rich Beliveau providing notes on his parasailing meeting in Orlando.  The Aquatics Task Force is very interested in the Florida Sea Base running a pilot program to see if we can get it approved as an official BSA activity.  Our General Manager, Captain Paul Beal, is not overly thrilled about the prospect of the Florida Sea Base investing $300,000 or so in a specialized boat and related equipment to be a testing ground for a program that may or may not receive approval.  Parasailing may be an activity that local councils could do by contracting with a vendor.  But having your own program will require a USCG licensed captain, USCG inspected vessel, and some very expensive equipment.

Have a great weekend.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™

The first day of the 2011 Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy is complete.  Rich Goldman, Dave Ball, Captain Alex Bergstedt and I made presentations yesterday.

Capt. Bergstedt addresses the class.

Captain Alex and Rich Goldman lead the candidates through a practical exercise refilling scuba tanks yesterday afternoon.  (It was nice to get out the classroom for a while.)  I noticed the #2 compressor making an unusual noise so I shut it down and took it off line.  It is our oldest compressor.  I will call Rob Bleser, owner of Quiescence Diving Services this morning and hopefully he can get down today or tomorrow to determine the cause.  Mr. Bleser is one of the finest people I have ever met.  We have a spare compressor if the situation is dire enough to warrant pulling the old one out and installing the back-up.  or we can get by with just one compressor, assuming it doesn’t fail.

Today’s schedule calls for classroom in the morning, two dives in the afternoon, and back to the classroom after dinner.  The wind was near calm Saturday, built up yesterday (hit 25 knots at 1500/3 pm) and has been holding steady at 22-23 knots all night.  it will be very bumpy on the reef this afternoon and a challenge to find any visibility.  But it is not an unrealistic scenario for Divemasters.  We will be preforming navigation skills this afternoon; limited visibility, surge, current, vomiting through the regulator – perfect!

Josie Willis @ 4 months

Here’s a picture of my cutie-patutie granddaughter.   She cracks me up.  I get to see her (briefly) in less than three weeks and again in February.

It’s back to work day.  I’m going diving; yes, I get paid for it.  But under conditions like these, I’m not getting paid near enough.  (Dave Ball volunteers for this.  He is a great Scouter, incredible diver, knowledgable instructor and the kind of buddy I want when conditions get tough.  He assures me that these conditions are nothing to e Jersey wreck diver.)

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

Today is my 26th wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately, I gave my stomach virus to Sue and, while I am feeling better daily, she is not doing well today (or all of last night).  Regardless, she’s off work and we will get to spend the day together.  [I’m not sure that sounded as nice as I intended.]

In the “Keeping Tabs with Former Staff Members” departments, former Florida Sea Base Divemaster Alex Lipsky has received another honor.  Click HERE for the report.

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In the “Keeping Tabs on My Granddaughter” department, here is a photo of 10 week old Josie’s first underwater experience with her dad, Aaron.  Her eyes were like giant blue saucers watching the colors and forms throughout the Sea Life Aquarium in the Grapevine Mills Mall, just north of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.  I hope that this experience in some way becomes ingrained in some part of her memory or helps to instill within her an undying appreciation of the underwater world.

 

 

 

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The weather at the Florida Sea Base is improving.  The bad news is the wind is still fairly stout and clocking to the west.  At 0100 EDT Wednesday the weather buoy on Sombrero Reef (off Marathon, FL) was reporting SSW winds gusting to 36 knots, which is gale force.  This is a very uncomfortable direction for those on the dock.  The good news is the rain should be gone soon.  The National Weather Service in Key West recorded almost 14.5″ of rain Monday.   The upper image was generated Tuesday morning by the NWS radar near Key West.  The lower image was generated by the same site this morning.  Not a lot of relief yet, but looking at the bigger picture, the rain should let up in a few hours.

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It has been a somewhat sleepless night here.  I am optimistic that the rains will end today at the Florida Sea Base.  I hope you have a good day, wherever you are.  I’ll be taking my bride to see the doctor in a few hours.  I feel really bad that she contracted this stomach junk while taking care of me.

Capt. Steve Willis
Waiting on the doctor’s office to open.

 

We enjoyed another quiet day at the Florida Sea Base.  The rangers are still working in the scuba dorms.  Kyle Moran cleaned the scuba compressors and serviced the scuba carts.  I worked on Divemaster Academy preparations.

Captain Brian Stolzenberger and his lovely wife Brenda (owners of Coral Reef Sailing vessels Misty Shoals and  Seminole Wind) stopped by the office and visited for a little while yesterday.  They are going to head west on S/V Misty Shoals, past Key West to the Marquesas Keys and hang out for a little while before returning to the New Port Richey area (on the west coast of Florida).

Laura Kuras returns to work this morning.  I’ve made a “do list” for her and Kyle to start working on.

The hard westerly turn for Tropical Storm Nate is in and out of the forecast.  Yesterday the storm was forecasted to move further north, towards Texas, with discussion of it swinging all the way to Louisiana.  This morning it is again forecasted to turn hard to the west and make landfall in Mexico.  The steering currents are very unclear for Nate so this may be a day-to-day swing.

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The forecast track for Tropical Storm Maria has also shifted – a little more to the west yesterday (this potentially put the Florida Sea Base within the cone of death on Wednesday) and back to the east this morning.  At worst, we could be on the weaker side of Maria when she passes.

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Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.  Her’s a new photo of Josie Willis at about 5 weeks of age.

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Have a great weekend.  I may sleep in a tad over the weekend so my posts may be later than usual.  Thanks for your continued readership.  As crazy as it may sound, I am busier now than during summer but I have much less to report.  Anyway, thanks for hanging in here with me.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape 

06Aug

Emily

I’m sure the Bahamas base is getting some nasty weather from Emily (or the remnants thereof), but I don’t have any details.  The Florida Sea Base and Brinton Environmental Center was fortunate to suffer very little impact from this system.  Just a few days ago we were very concerned.

I’m still in Texas.  I will get to visit Josie this afternoon.  This will be my last in person visit until late September or early October.  But my son set up my MacBook so we can use FaceTime to video chat.

The weather at the Florida Sea Base looked very good for the divers today.  The wind may have been a little too calm for the sailors.  But that’s why the sailboats have motors and they are likely having a good day snorkeling and fishing.

The applications for the 2011 Divemaster Academy are starting to roll in.  If you are interested, or might be interested in attending the DMA, go to the LINKS page on this site, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a link for an informational flyer and a link for the current application.

I have no reports of negative incidents at the Florida Sea Base so I can only assume everything is going flawlessly, as usual.  I hope you had a great weekend.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape 

As luck goes, as soon as I hit the submit button on the previous post, the BSA webmail came back to life.  I would like to introduce you to my new granddaughter.

Click to enlarge.

Capt. Steve “Grandpa” Willis

T/S Emily has dissipated to the extent that she is no longer even being identified as a wave (Invest 91L).  However, there is potential for the system to reform so we will continue to be vigilant.  While the temperatures and wind will remain seasonable at the Florida Sea Base, the chance of rain is pretty good through the weekend.

Relatively quiet for now.

I apologize for not posting for the last few mornings.  I received a call from my son at 0430 Tuesday; his wife had gone into labor with their first child.  By 0528 I was on the highway and drove 1,478 miles in 22.5 hours. Josie Arlene Willis was born before I got here (thank goodness from Mom’s point of view).  Mom and daughter are doing great and will go home today.  I will have to post photos later.  I sent all of them to my BSA email account and for some reason the account is not accessible this morning.  Josie weighed in at 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 18.5 inches tall.  I’m not sure who’s more sleep deprived, my son, daughter-in-law, or me.

I’ll be back on base early next week.  In the meantime, I will post when I can.

Capt. Steve “Grandpa” Willis
Posting wirelessly for the Mother Country