Posts Tagged ‘padi’

VOLUNTEERS

The Florida Sea Base volunteers were hard at it yesterday.  Recently a section of the walkway adjacent to our sea-life habitat collapsed.  Steve Martin and Warren Bacon were busy making repairs.  They had to remove all of the decking to get to the rotted boards that had supported the structure.

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PADI MEMBER FORUM

The Florida Sea Base hosted a session of the 2013 PADI Member Forum in the Matecumbe Rooms last night.  Member Forums are held in several locations annually to afford the PADI Regional Managers the opportunity to bring PADI members up to date on changes that have been made over the past year and tell us about pending changes.  Our local manager is Mike Kurczewski.  He always does and outstanding job and did not let us down last night.

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WEATHER

We are expecting the continued strong winds that started yesterday.  Otherwise, we have a very decent forecast from the National Weather Service for the second week of January.

Today: A slight chance of showers before 7am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81.
Breezy, with a east wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. Breezy, with a east wind 15 to 20 mph.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Breezy, with a east wind 15 to 20 mph.
Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. East wind around 15 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. East wind around 15 mph.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70.
Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 80.
Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 71.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.

The ocean side water temperature is holding at an amazing 77°F.

Our General Manager, Captain Paul Beal, is attending a meeting at Philmont Scout Ranch today.  The National Weather Service station in nearby Angel Fire, New Mexico reported a temperature of 1°F at 05:00 Eastern time.  At 05:30 the NWS report was updated to -1.5°F.

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

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Yesterday was a travel day; 350 miles in 7 hours (including three trips through downtown Dallas, Texas at morning rush hour).  One pass throughDallas would have sufficed.  But just as I emerged triumphantly on the northeast side of Dallas, my phone rang.  It was my daughter – I had left my wallet on the counter.  She was kind enough to head my way as I turned around and traversed the Dallas morning rush hour a second time.  We met on the south side of downtown and I made yet a third trip through the 57 billion vehicles trying to get into downtown Dallas.  The rest of the trip was very uneventful.

SUPER STORM SANDY

I heard from Rich Goldman and Dave Ball yesterday.  They are fine.  They hope to have electricity in two or three days.  I am relieved. 🙂  I also talked with Kyle Moran yesterday.  He said the wind is finally subsiding at the Florida Sea Base.  Dr. Masters’ blog is definitely worth a read.  There is a link to Angela Fritz’ post within Dr. Masters’ post.  The last I read, Sandy was responsible for at least 65 deaths as it passed through the Caribbean.  The highest report I have seen for US deaths is 50 so far.

BSA AQUATICS TASK FORCE

The plan was to have dinner with Brad Smith last night.  Brad is the PADI liaison with the BSA.  He is also a PADI Course Director, personal friend, and all around good guy.  We were going to discuss a minor change for the Scuba BSA Award (NOT the Scuba Diving Merit Badge) but his plane had mechanical problems and his flight was delayed.  We will discuss the possible revision with the BSA Aquatics Task Force this morning at Gus Blass Scout Reservation near Damascus, Arkansas.  I’m optimistic  it will be a non-issue and I’ll try to remember to post details tomorrow.

BSA AQUATICS WORKSHOP

The bi-annual BSA Aquatics Workshop starts tomorrow.  As always, it will be very difficult to cram two years worth of improvements, issues, comments and suggestions into three and a half days.  Aquatic programs are crucial to Scouting.  The “Every Scout a Swimmer” program began in 1924 and the BSA continues to work towards ensure that happens.  Cubs aquatic program are the specialty of Jay Fox, Ph.D., member of the BSA Aquatics Task Force.  The task force has been looking at creative ways to encourage Cubs to learn to swim for several years.  The limited availability of year ’round swimming pools is a key impediment.

 HMS BOUNTY

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The HMS Bounty sank during Hurricane Sandy.  Fourteen survivors were recovered by the US Coast Guard.  One victim was recovered and I believe the Captain has not been located.

Captains Harold and Margie Ochstein are the Eco-Adventure program at the Florida Sea Base.  They also have asuccessfull private sailing charter operation.  Captain Harold posted this comment:

I thought you might want to read my thoughts on the HMS bounty sinking and hurricane prep on our blog at http://sailingtheislands.com/2012/10/30/should-the-hms-bounty-have-stayed-in-port/.
Harold

I’m running late.  Have a great day.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713

Congratulations are in order for new certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Keith MacDonell.  Keith took a non-conventional path to his OWSI certification but was successful none the less.  All four candidates from Florida Keys Dive Center were also successful in the bid for this coveted achievement.  It was my honor to be chosen to evaluate the rescue skills at the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) Sunday.

The weather pattern was disappointing yesterday.  It was descent enough for the divers to head out yesterday morning but they were chased back in by rain and lightning.  Then, once it was essentially too late to go back out, the weather became much better.  When I returned from the IE, some of the Coral Reef Sailing crews were having a blast sailing the small Hunters and stand-up paddle boarding.

A new tropical system Invest 90E has developed in the Eastern Pacific but the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is remaining void of tropical development.  The low pressure system off Florida is bringing fresh breezes and some rain, but nothing severe.

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I am very fortunate to have an Apple iPad.  My do list would require a ream of paper if hand written.  It will be a busy Monday.

The annual DEMA Show is in Las Vegas again this year.  The honorees for 2012 are Dan Orr and Dick Rutkowski.  DEMA has posted and good article.  The Florida Sea base Health Advisor has collaborated with Mr. Rutkowski in hyperbaric medicine for over 30 years and is very excited for his friend’s recognition.  Mr. Orr is the President of Divers Alert Network and an exceptional public speaker.

Gotta go!  I wish I had more time, but I have to rush to the morning staff meeting.  Make it a good Monday.

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

21Jul

STAFF ACTIVITIES

in Staff  •  0 comments

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 

The day went very well at the Florida Sea Base.  Crews arrived, crews went sailing and diving and some crews went home.  The air conditioning repair crew finally showed up and repaired the unit in the Program Office.  I really don’t have any news today.

I am reviewing the BSA booklet 19-176, BSA Snorkeling Safety.  This publication was written in 2002 by the BSA Aquatics Workshop group with significant input from Brad Smith, PADI Americas, and is the guide for the Snorkel BSA Award.  I have been snorkeling since 1961.  The equipment has changed a little (no more masks with twin snorkels built in so you breath through your nose) but the art of snorkeling at the surface and skin diving to 10-12′ is still pretty much the same.  Monday Brad called me from PADI headquarters to congratulate me on completing the PADI Course Director course.  I asked him (since he is the originator of the document) if he would look through it for any errors.  I found one small typo, but no material errors.  I think we may try to add some color photos if the National Office approves.  The document makes reference to a PADI publication so I confirmed it is still in print and available.  I even ordered a few copies to keep on hand at the Florida Sea Base.

I am going to go diving early this morning with some of the staff.  We are doing a 100′ dive on the wreck named Eagle.  The weather conditions should be very good.  Captain Christy “Awesome” Clemenson reported that conditions were excellent yesterday.  Captain Ed Miller has volunteered to drive the boat.  Timing is critical as we must be back on base no later than 11:30.  The divers loaded the boat yesterday so we can depart without delay.

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Have a great day.

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

30Jun

HOT!!!

in Scuba  •  0 comments

I returned to the Florida Sea Base at about 20:30 last night.  The skies were clear and there was a gentle breeze from the west.  The temperature was 84ºF with a heat index of 90.  It was 94º inside Escape.  I turned on both air conditioning units and was sweating like a pig long before I got anywhere close to unpacked.  At 1 minute after midnight the a/c finally cycled off for the first time as the cabin temperature cooled to 75º.

Thanks to everyone for the support and congratulations.  Our next step is to put my PADI Course Director certification to good use at the Florida Sea Base.  Divemaster Scott Patton has expressed interest in being in the inaugural Florida Sea Base/ PADI Instructor Development Course.  Richard Goldman, David Ball and maybe even Captain Alex Bergstedt are on the list to promote from Master Scuba Diver Trainers to Instructor Development Course Staff Instructors.  I have a few things to work out with PADI Regional Manager Mike Kurczewski and the PADI International Retail and Resort Association about upgrading the Florida Sea Base from PADI 5 Star Resort to PADI 5 Star IDC Resort.  Then I have to work on pricing and scheduling.  MAYBE I can put something together for this fall or January.  I’m already working on it. 🙂

In weather news, Invest 97L is on the horizon.  It is too far away to be of major concern.  We will, as always, keep an eye on this  system.

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Dr. Masters must be away.  He had a guest blogger post for him:

By Angela Fritz

 Published: 2:53 PM EDT on June 29, 2012

Invest 97L

A tropical wave in the central main development region of the North Atlantic is still producing thunderstorm activity as it moves west, and the National Hurricane Center has increased its chance of development to 20%. 97L’s circulation continues to be moderate and in the past day has realigned with the thunderstorm activity, which is likely why NHC gave the go to invest the wave and begin running models on it. This wave continues to be in some moderate wind shear, 10-15 knots, and sea surface temperature is around average, 28° C (82° F), which is warm enough to support tropical development. Many of the track models are forecasting 97L to continue trekking west into the Caribbean, crossing the Lesser Antilles around July 1.

Angela

I expected to lay down and pass out, but that has not been the case.  Once I overcame the heat issue I realized there were mosquitoes in the cabin.  I finally smashed one on the wall and he had obviously fed a bit as evidenced by the blood.  The second one was so gorged that it couldn’t fly.  I didn’t smash it, I simply touched it and it exploded.  There was so much blood that it puddled on the pillow case.  I killed a couple of non-bleeders and then feel asleep for about 2 hours.  Then I woke up gaging from cigarette smoke.  The aft portholes were cracked open to allow some of the heat to escape.  Apparently one of our adult leaders was on the dock smoking.  I was too tired to get up, get dressed and go yell at him/her.  So I closed the portholes and tried to go back to sleep.  But I wound up writing this post instead.  Nows it’s 02:35 and I am going back to bed.

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

23Jun

HALF WAY

in Scuba  •  0 comments

We have reached the midpoint of the 2012 Dominican Republic PADI Course Director Training Course.  We made a 20 minute open water dive today at an unnamed site on the reef line about a mile off the coast.  The conditions were decent with 84ºF water and 30′ of visibility.  The corals on the reef were healthy.  We spent about 10 minutes on a training exercise and then were allowed 10 minutes to explore the reef.  The lack of fish was shocking.  I tried to count every fish I saw.  The total was less than 40 individual fish in 10 minutes.

The weather for the Florida Sea Base looks like it may be improving soon.  Invest 96L has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Debby.  The consensus seems to be the storm will track towards Texas.

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However, computer models are still in significant disagreement.

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The US model has the system going west.  The European model has it moving east.

Captain Rich posted earlier today about the local weather at the Florida Sea Base.  Conditions seem to be pretty nasty, but nothing of serious concern.  Captain Rich, Commissioners Laura Kuras and Stephanie Mansburger, the captains and seasonal staff will work together to ensure the participants have a safe and rememberable adventure.   I’m sorry I’m not there to help.  This is the third time in a row that the weather has turned horrible while I was away from the base.

We are scheduled to go on a real dive Sunday morning and then we have the rest of the day to work on a bazillion training presentations that we have yet to make.  If I can make time, I hope to travel into “the village” Sunday to pick up some fruit juice and snacks.  At resort prices of $3.00 per soft drink and almost $2.00 for 8 ounce bottles of water, it is worth making a trip to the market.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
República Dominicana

23Jun

Invest 96L

in Weather  •  0 comments

Thanks for the post Captain Rich.  It’s really nice to read about the sailing staff and activities.  It’s also good to hear that the divers are getting in most of their dives despite the general weather conditions.  It’s disappointing to hear about BSA Burglar butI know that if you can’t fix it no one can.

Here’s a quick update on Invest 96L.  The computer models are very confused by this system.  That could be good news for the Florida Sea Base, but you never want to wish misfortune on others.  It’s weather.  We will see what happens.

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Today is our first time to go open water diving at the PADI CDTC in Punta Cana.  Apparently this is not a huge diving destination.  I’ll give more details tomorrow.  Right now I’m running late for the boat.

I appreciate Captain Rich and Laura Kuras taking up the slack.  It’s like I’m not needed there at all. Hummmmm.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Ocean bound

Yesterday I posted:

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!  The Florida Sea Base has a pathetic internet capacity.  Many leaders are scanning and emailing their scuba crew medicals.  Yesterday, the whole computer network at the Florida Sea Base shut down from data overload.  Please fax the medicals to 305-664-5632 or mail them to Florida Sea Base, PO Box 1906, Islamorada, FL 33036.  If you must send them electronically, consider copying them onto a CD and mail that to us OR email the medicals ONE PARTICIPANT AT A TIME.

We are still in internet overload and need you to refrain from sending large data files.  I do NOT use the Florida Sea Base internet system for this post.  I pay $70 a month for an AT&T air card for my personal internet use.  In critical weather situations it is not unusual for Captain Rich and I to have to depend on our iPhones for weather data or we have to go to the boat (we both live on boats) and use our personal internet access and computers.  When I purchased my MacBook Pro it gave me the ability to be more mobile when these issues arise.

But none of this fixes our current dilemma.  All of the on base business computers (about 20 of them) are hardwired to a single server that is fed by a single DSL connection. This same feed supports two wi-fi systems that are used by our seasonal staff and participants.

The 2012 Daytona 500 is finally over.  If you didn’t watch it, you missed some incredible, real life action.  Wow!

Another round of termite treatments is complete.  The tents have been removed from the dorms, GM’s residence and Quarterdeck.

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A few days ago I wrote a post about the annual inspection of our scuba tanks.  Here are some photos I took yesterday of the staff hard at work.

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The Florida Sea Base hosted a session of the PADI Member Forum last night.  I have explained this is previous posts. Essentially, we host the Forum each spring.  It is a three hour session for PADI Divemasters and Instructors to see what’s new with PADI.  PADI Regional Manager Mike Kurzcewski makes the presentation.  Last night we had a special treat; Bob Coleman, one of PADI’s Vice Presidents (of sales I believe), came along with Mike.  Bob (like everyone at PADI) is a really great guy.

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

PADI has an unimaginable number of liability releases to cover a myriad of circumstances; divers in basic training, divers in advanced training, certified divers who are not taking a training course, divers taking various highly specialized training courses, divers on boats, divers on excursions, ad infinitum.  So it is easy (especially for persons not in the diving business) to get the forms confused.  I have made similar posts previously, but forms also get updated and BSA, FSB and PADI policies change.  So I will try again.

If you are attending the Florida Sea Base SCUBA CERTIFICATION program in 2012 you must submit anAnnual BSA Health and Medical Record form (parts A, B, and C), a RSTC/PADI Medical form, a PADI Standard Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding and a PADI Liability Release and Assumption of Risk Agreement.  The Safe Diving Practices form and the Liability Release are in the Student File Folder that is included in the “crew pacs” that also contain your PADI Open Water Diver manual.  If Dr. Ellen emails you a copy of the Liability Release, please execute that form and send it with your other paperwork.  The RSTC/PADI Medical form is also in the student file folder, but you need to use a paper copy (click on the above link) so it can be signed by a doctor.  The PADI policy says the form does not have to be signed by a doctor if all health questions are answered with “NO”.  HOWEVER, the BSA requires this form be signed regardless of the answers provided in the health history.  Therefore, both the BSA medical form and the RSTC/PADI medical form must be signed by a doctor.

If you are attending the Florida Sea Base SCUBA ADVENTURE or SCUBA LIVEABOARD program in 2012 you must submit an Annual BSA Health and Medical Record form (parts A, B, and C) and a PADI Liability Release and Assumption of Risk for Supervision of Certified Divers.

I apologize for the confusion.  This is an annual “event”.  I wish I could explain why this seems to be a recurring issue, but it would not be well received.  The information and forms provided above are correct.  The correct paperwork may or may not have been included in the crew packets that were sent to the registered crew leaders.  The information on the official BSA and/or Florida Sea Base web sites may not be accurate.  Once again, the information provided in this post is correct for 2012 Scuba Certification, Scuba Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard crews.

I am headed back to the IDC this morning.  They need me for an hour or two and then I’ll be back on base.  Maybe hopping into the pool will help wake me up.  I feel like a zombie this morning.

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