Posts Tagged ‘Sailing’

WEATHER

The National Weather Service forecast indicated a drop in the wind for Tuesday afternoon.  But when the Scuba Adventure crew returned to the Florida Sea Base, the wind was still gusting in the 18-19 knot range.  (The wind did lay down, just later than forecasted.)  The current forecast calls for 8-9 knots today.  Hope for the best and prepare for the worst; that’s the nature of high adventure!

SCUBA

The crew completed their scheduled dives despite a lot of gastroenpukeulitis on behalf of the divers.  The dive boat left the dock around 09:30 expecting a drop in wind speed around noon, but that did not materialize.  The divers gutted it out and returned to the Florida Sea Base around 15:30 (3:30 pm).  We had scheduled a night dive (due to the weather forecast) but postponed it until tonight or tomorrow night.

SAILING

The sailing crew was in for shore leave yesterday.  They too were hoping for a little less wind, but still accomplished all of the planned activities for the day; small boat sailing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing and volleyball.  Meanwhile, Captain Giuseppe was working on his second boat, S/V Endeavour.

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

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

Class 9 of the Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy will conclude this evening.  We started New Year’s Day with concerns the wind might have on our planned dives.  Regardless, we were in do or die mode, so we loaded the boat after breakfast and headed to sea.  Captain Christy Clemenson is not feeling well but, being a real trooper, delivered us to our target – Alligator Deep.  The BSA Centennial Eagle was secured to the mooring by Divemaster Kyle Moran.  Once completed, our concerns increased.  The waves were only 2′-3′ with occasional 4′ rollers, but the mooring ball refused to float to the surface due to the strain of the vessel.  This gave us concern about the strength of the current.  I decided to do the conditions check.  Our fears were unjustified; there was no notable current, water temperature was 75°F and the visibility was 30′-40′.  We enjoyed a very successful dive, completing the PAD Deep Diver Specialty course.

Following the deep dive we returned to the Florida Sea Base for lunch.  I stayed on base after lunch, paying bills, catching up on emails and completing my December expense report.  The Divemaster candidates and cadre went to Alligator Reef and completed the PADI Search and Recovery Specialty Diver certification course and a third dive of the day.  Since Captain Dennis Wyatt was finished with his driving responsibilities for the other scuba crews, he relieved Captain Christy and drove for the afternoon dives.

After dinner we worked on paperwork until after 21:00 and the cadre and I left the classroom after 22:00 (10 pm).

SCUBA

The Scuba Adventure and Scuba Certification crews went to the Landing Strip for their final Florida Sea Base dive.  The Scuba Liveaboard crew returned to the Florida Sea Base.  All of the (non-DMA) scuba crews will depart today.

SAILING

Two Sea Exploring crews and several (5 or 6) Coral Reef Sailing crews also returned to the Florida Sea Base to wrap up their Florida Sea Base adventure.  I believe our last Coral Reef Sailing crew returns to base today.

WEATHER

Today’s weather forecast is excellent for diving; sunny, calm winds, temperatures near 80°F this afternoon.

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  There is much gloom and doom in the news.  I will leave my political views out of this.  I sincerely hope that 2013 is a great year for all of us.

MISSED POST

I apologize for not posting yesterday.  It has been an active month at the Florida Sea Base.  Most nights for the last two weeks I have been getting to bed at midnight.  I usually get up at 05:30 to write this blog and prep for the day.   A lack of sleep, plus diving, the stress of having scuba crews on base and still trying to handle my administrative duties finally caught up with me and I could not find the energy nor make the time to write a post.  I will be traveling Friday through Monday, so I apologize in advance for any of those days that I can’t put together a post.

SAILING

In all honesty, I have lost track; I THINK six of the Coral Reef Sailing crews go home today.  Two Sea Exploring crews and another 5 or so Coral Reef Sailing crews return to base today.  That leaves one loan sailing crew on the high seas aboard S/V Misty Shoals with Captain Brian.  I apologize if that is inaccurate.

SCUBA

The Scuba Certification crew chose to not dive yesterday.  The Scuba Adventure crews went to Alligator Reef under less than optimal conditions for their dives.  The scuba crews will have the opportunity to make one more dive this morning before their program ends.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

Sunday the DMA candidates completed two training dives in the morning at Port Antigua.  In the afternoon we returned to base and worked on skills conducted in the swimming pool.

Click to enlarge.

Monday morning was also spent in the pool.  We were in the classroom all afternoon and again after dinner.

CIRCLE 10 UNIVERSITY OF SCOUTING

The DMA will conclude Wednesday evening.  I have Thursday to complete all of my 2012 year end business and pack for Dallas.  I leave Friday morning, attend the Circle 10 University of Scouting on Saturday (I need to be there between 06:30 and 07:00 for set-up), get Sunday off (my first day off since 11 December), and fly back to the Florida Sea Base on Monday.

I will be headed out for a deep dive and a search and recovery dive with the divemaster candidates this morning.  Make it a great day!

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

30Dec

SHORE LEAVE!

in Weather  •  0 comments

WEATHER

Yesterday afternoon we topped out at 78°F at the Florida Sea Base.  This morning it is 60° with 25 knot winds screaming from the north.  The National Weather Service forecast is not too great for diving today, but improving thereafter:

Today: Sunny, with a high near 69. Breezy, with a northeast wind 15 to 20 mph.
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. Breezy, with a east wind 15 to 20 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 75. East wind around 15 mph.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. East wind around 15 mph.
New Year’s Day: Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Southeast wind around 10 mph.
Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers after 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

The good news is the water temperature has remained unusually warm for this time of year.  Yesterday, The Molasses Reef Buoy was reporting an official water temperature of 77.2°F and my dive computer showed 75.2°F at 85′ below the surface.

SAILING

The first wave of Coral Reef Sailing crews returned to the Florida Sea Base yesterday for shore leave.  They went small boat sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and tubing.

SCUBA

The Scuba Certification crew finished their final two open water training dives and are now certified PADI Open Water Divers.  The Scuba Adventure crew completed two more dives plus a night dive.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

The DMA candidates completed two deep dives at Victory Reef and a third (shallow) training dive at Alligator Reef yesterday.

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Click to enlarge.

Divemaster Kyle Moran took this photo a couple of days ago as the dive boat was outboard for a night dive.  Captain Alex Bergstedt is modeling the first issue of the Professional Scuba Bum™ t-shirts.

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Click to enlarge.

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

SAILING

The final Coral Reef Sailing crew of our brief winter season checked in yesterday.  They will be spending the week with Captain Brian Stolzenberger aboard S/V Misty Shoals.

SCUBA

The Scuba Certification crew spent the morning in the pool with Scuba Instructors Laura Kuras and Will Yanni.  Captain Rich Beliveau took them to Alligator Reef for Open Water Training Dives in the afternoon aboard BSA Burglar.  The class only has four students so they are progressing rapidly.

The Scuba Adventure crews enjoyed two dives on the reefs yesterday but I fail to get a report on the sites visited.   Emily Sepeta and Captain Ed Miller are the Divemasters.  They are spending the week with Captain Dennis Wyatt and Captain Sargon Smith as crew aboard BSA Explorer.

The Scuba Liveaboard crew is spending the week aboard the Schooner Conch Pearl with Captain Denny Webb and Captain Holly Whitley.  Charles Kantlehner and Hank Gordon are their Divemasters this week.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

We aborted the deep dive yesterday morning due to strong currents.  The candidates completed their mapping assignments after two very long dives at Alligator Reef.  The maps were very well done. 🙂

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Click to enlarge.

They are scheduled for three training dives today and a fun night dive tonight.

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

I thought I was running late yesterday.  I am running even later this morning.

SAILING

All of Wednesday’s sailing crews left the dock yesterday morning to truly begin their adventure.  Five more Coral Reef Sailing crews arrived yesterday afternoon.  The wind is blowing just enough for sailing while not trashing the scuba diving and snorkeling.  The water temperature is 75°, very nice for snorkeling without a wetsuit.

SCUBA

The Scuba Certification spent the day in class learning the basics.  The Scuba Adventure crews completed their scuba review yesterday morning and went to Alligator Reef yesterday afternoon for the first dive of the week.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

The DMA had a GLORIOUS day at sea.  We were diving from the BSA Centennial Eagle and our first dive was on a sunken freighter named Eagle.  The visibility was 50′, no current, 1′ or less seas.  The candidates completed the second of four dives for their PADI Deep Diver Specialty certification.

Then we moved to a patch reef known as Capital.  We have not visited this site before.  It is similar to a site we call Landing Strip; 20′-25′ feet deep, a lot of soft corals and tons of juvenile fish.  It’s very much like diving in a home saltwater aquarium.  Adjacent to the patch reef is acres of sandy bottom.  We used that are for the candidates to complete the second and third dives of the PADI Search and Recovery Diver specialty.

I used my GoPro Hero2 underwater for the first time yesterday.  The video is still unedited and too large to upload.  Here’s a photo:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Gotta go, gotta go.

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

I have very little time this morning so here’s the CliffsNotes version of what’s going on.

SAILING

All of the scheduled crews (plus two crews that arrived a day early for some reason) checked in yesterday.  Our sunset is around 17:30 (5:50 pm) so the their was not sufficient time to get the participants through the required gear issue, shakedown, swim review, snorkel lesson and dinner before dark.  So the boats will be blasting out of here at first light.

SCUBA

All of the scheduled scuba crews and staff also arrived yesterday.  The two Scuba Adventure crews did not complete their scuba review because of the early nightfall so they will knock that out this morning.  The Scuba Liveaboard crew has a boat to catch this morning so we turned on the pool lights so they could complete their exercises after dinner.

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

The DMA candidates spent another LONG day in the swimming pool yesterday.  Other than an hour for lunch, they were in the pool from 09:00 to nearly 17:00 (5 pm).  Then we had dinner and went to the classroom from 18:45 to 20:00 (8 pm).  We have a LONGER more arduous day ahead.  If ll goes well, we will complete a deep wreck dive, two search and recovery dives PLUS an early dinner and a night dive tonight.  Wowie Zowie.

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

SAILING

Florida Sea Base Sailing Director Captain Rich Beliveau has returned from the US Virgin Islands.   A few of the sailing staff have arrived.  Captain Scott and Gail Penfield arrived Tuesday aboard S/V Chanticleer for the Christmas season.  Almost all of the boats sailing this season are on the dock now.

SCOUTING GOES HOLLYWOOD

I received my copy of Scouting Magazine Wednesday.  There is an article about the upcoming National Geographic Channel reality series, “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?”  The article says, “Tune in to Are You Tougher? on National Geographic Channel this spring.  For a list of show times and more information, check scouting magazine.org/tougher.  Plus, you can find recaps of each weekly episode at blog.scoutingmagine.org/tougher.”

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

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Click to enlarge

Welcome to Florida Sea base Divemaster Academy Class 9.  Most of the DMA cadre were in the classroom, making final preparations, by 06:30.  We met with the candidates at 07:45 yesterday with a brief hello, flags and breakfast.  Class began at 09:00.  We shut down for the night at about 20:00 (8 pm).  I have a Team Meeting from 0900 – noon today.  If I can get my gear together fast enough, I may be able to catch the boat at it’s scheduled 12:45 departure time and actually get to go diving.  Captain Christy “Awesome” Clemenson made a boat seating assignment yesterday.  Since I am so old and decrepit she put me in the slot closest to the transom so I wouldn’t have far to walk getting off an on.  OR she put me there because it is the wettest, coldest seat on the boat.

WEATHER

Senior NOAA Marine Weather Forecaster Chip Kennard sent this email Wednesday:

Hi everyone,

You may have noticed that December has been a very warm month so far in the Florida Keys.  This is about to change — Friday morning, to be specific.  A cold front currently located over west Texas will sharpen and accelerate toward the Gulf coast tonight, as freezing air rushes southward over the southern Plains, behind a northeastward-moving cyclone. This front will travel several hundred miles during the next 48 hours, as an expanding dome of cold, dry, continental air floods over the Gulf of Mexico and toward the Tropics.  Exact timing of the wind shift and surge in the Florida Keys is still uncertain, but Friday forenoon looks like the best bet.  Following the frontal passage, northwest winds will quickly turn out of due north, freshening to a steady 25 knots and likely gusting over 30 knots for a time.  The northerly trajectory will transport cold, dry air into the Keys faster than the adjoining mild waters can warm it.  The steady 25-knot breeze will persist Friday night, and the wind will retain a very gusty character owing to the nearly 20-degree air-water difference by Saturday morning (50s versus 70s).
Seas will grow fast with the rising winds, first in the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico Thursday night, and then through the day Friday across the Straits of Florida.  Our experimental nearshore wave prediction system is indicating seas in excess of 7 feet in most deep water around the Florida Keys by Friday afternoon.  The attached graphic shows a nice view of predicted significant wave height and peak wave direction at 4:00 p.m. Friday.
Small Craft Advisories likely will be issued for Friday through Saturday night, with winds and seas subsiding Sunday and Monday.
For the latest marine weather information, please visit our web site at www.weather.gov/keywest
To see an hourly weather graph for your favorite Florida Keys marine location, visit this site:
Take care,
 Chip K.
Kennard “Chip” Kasper
Senior Forecaster-Marine Program Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service
1315 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040
 Mobile:    (305) 304-6712
Office:    (305) 295-1316
FAX:       (305) 296-2011
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

This weather is being generated by winter storm Draco.  The GOOD news is it is forecasted to warm up again by Christmas, the westerly wind component should be short lived, most of the wind will be from the north which will not totally trash the diving.  We expect Friday and Saturday to be yucky but hopefully conditions will improve quickly thereafter.

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

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY

All but one of the remaining candidates for the 9th annual Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy checked in yesterday.  Day 1 officially begins at 07:30 this morning.  This year’s candidates include former Florida Sea Base staff members Erik Bergman, Jenna Burton, James Dreger, Brandon Jones and Ryan Mantel plus Jay Blodget, Niki Carpenter, Mitchell Evans, Scott Ferron, Tyler Giblin, Robert Gordon, Maximilian Gritz, Brenda Mallory, Will Morris, Will Nedds, Robert Steckler and Tina Steckler.  Max Gritz wins the prize for longest distance, he currently lives in Germany.

Our schedule is from 07:45 to 21:00 (9 pm) daily through 03 January with a half day off on Christmas.  I’m already tired!  Due to the DMA schedule and my other duties I may not be able to post every day.  So please be understanding.

SAILING

It is always challenging for me to keep up with anything going on in the sailing department and VERY challenging to post news from the Brinton Environmental Center or the Bahamas programs.  The next two weeks will be even worse as I will be immersed in the DMA.  I still have responsibilities for the Scuba Adventure, Scuba Certification and Scuba Liveaboard crews.  However, I have hired excellent, returning staff members to lead those programs.  Most of my attention will be on the DMA which will produce most of the PADI Divemasters that I will hire in 2013.

Anyway, back to sailing.  What I do know at this point is Captain Rich Beliveau is back from the US Virgin Islands. As mentioned in recent posts, Bryce is in place.  More of the sailing staff will start to trickle in soon.  They have a week of preparations ahead for their winter guests.  We have a busy sailing program this Christmas.

WEATHER

NWS Key West, FL
Zone Forecast: Hawk Channel from Ocean Reef to Craig Key out to the reef (GMZ042)
Marine Zone Forecast

Synopsis…A RIDGE CENTERED OVER FLORIDA WILL MOVE EASTWARD TODAY…REACHING THE ATLANTIC TONIGHT. A COLD FRONT WILL MOVE QUICKLY DOWN THE FLORIDA PENINSULA TOWARD THE FLORIDA KEYS THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT…PASSING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING. A STRONG RIDGE WILL BUILD ACROSS THE WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO PRODUCING FRESH TO STRONG NORTH TO NORTHEAST BREEZES ACROSS THE KEYS THROUGH SATURDAY.

Today: North to northeast winds near 10 knots early…becoming northeast to east and increasing to 10 to 15 knots. Seas building to around 2 feet. Nearshore waters becoming a light to moderate chop.
Tonight: East to southeast winds near 15 knots and gusty. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop.
Thursday: Southeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop.
Thursday Night: South winds near 10 knots…becoming west and increasing to 10 to 15 knots late. Seas 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Friday: Northwest winds near 15 knots early…becoming north and increasing to 20 to 25 knots. Seas 1 to 2 feet early…building to 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy early…becoming very rough. isolated showers.
Friday Night: North to northeast winds 20 to 25 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet. Nearshore waters very rough.
Saturday: North to northeast winds near 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Choppy to rough.
Saturday Night: North to northeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.
Sunday And Sunday Night: Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy.

NWS Forecast for: Lower Matecumbe Beach FL
Issued by: National Weather Service Key West, FL
Last Update: 4:15 am EST Dec 19, 2012

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. East wind 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Southeast wind around 10 mph.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 71. West wind 10 to 15 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 57. Windy.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69. Breezy.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 61.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 72.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 64.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 75.
Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 67.
Christmas Day: Partly sunny, with a high near 78.

Today and most of tomorrow are going to be nice.  Then the cold front comes through.  Hopefully all traces of the front will pass before the regular program crews arrive on 26 and 27 December.

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

18Dec

GHOSTS

in Staff  •  0 comments

STAFF

Some folks believe in ghosts; some don’t.  I have no intent of starting a debate.

Florida Sea Base Scuba Instructor Dave Ball is not an official part of the Divemaster Academy cadre this year.  His physical presence is missed.  But, he is still with us in spirit, and by telephone.  Diver Dave is not dead; quite the opposite.  At dinner last night the staff was trying to add up how many Christmas seasons Dave had devoted to the Divemaster Academy.  Too many.  Dave is at home in New Jersey, enjoying a Christmas with his family and working hard to help his mother and others recover from Superstorm Sandy.  I hope to see you this spring.  Those of you who are volunteer Scouters understand the devotion and passion for Scouting.  The Florida Sea Base is blessed to have a core of dedicated staff members, many of whom are volunteer Scouters, who go AMAZINGLY above and beyond the call of duty.  David Ball is certainly one of those individuals.  Dave, we really miss you.  Stay safe.

The Prince of the Florida Sea Base full time staff, Captain Rich Beliveau, returns from his working vacation in the US Virgin Islands some time today.  Bryce Dallmeyer, will serve as Captain Rich’s right hand man for the winter season.  I failed to mention (sorry) that he arrived a couple of days ago.  Bryce has worked at the Florida Sea Base as a Coral Reef Mate and Sea Exploring Mate and has a good understanding of the sailing programs.  If he does a good job, Captain Rich might keep him on for the spring season as well. 🙂

DIVEMASTER ACADEMY PREP

DMA candidates Brandon Jones, Max Gritz, Tina Steckler and Robert Steckler arrived yesterday.  Scuba Instructor Rich Goldman, Scuba Instructor/Captain Alex Bergstedt and Scuba Instructor/Captain Kari Dahlquist made significant progress on the DMA paperwork.  Scuba Instructor/Captain Christy Clemenson completed a working schedule.  Divemaster Kyle Moran ramrodded the field work being undertaken in the scuba areas.  Scuba Instructor/Captain Dennis Wyatt and Bryce Dallmeyer delivered the BSA Burglar from dry dock in Marathon to the Florida Sea Base.  The ranger staff, Preston Bush, Ian Tichelbaut and Michael Runowich, chipped in with mowing, weed-eating, etc. in the scuba area.

05:30 Tuesday- Crickets are chirping aboard S/V Escape! Oh yeah, it’s my alarm. Today is the last day of preparation for our 9th Annual PADI Divemaster Training Academy. Now through 03 January (including Christmas, New Year’s Day and weekends) we will be working long days. I get up at 05:30 (unless I wake up earlier) to write this post and make my personal preparations.  We will work until 21:00 (9 pm) many days.  Then on 04 January I fly to Dallas to participate in the Circle 10 University of Scouting at SMU on 05 January. (Maybe I’ll see you there.)  I get a day off on 06 January and fly back to the Florida Sea Base on 07 January. Ho, Ho, Ho!

 SAD NEWS FOR THE SCOUTING FAMILY

To: National Board, Advisory Council, and our BSA family:

We are all struggling to come to grips with the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. I have the sad responsibility to report that this tragedy has also struck within the Scouting family.

We’ve been informed two of the young victims, 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler, were new Tiger Cub Scouts with Pack 170 in the Connecticut Yankee Council. In addition, three of the victims were siblings of other boys in Pack 170. Victoria Soto, one of the hero teachers, was an Explorer as a youth.

Please join me in remembering these victims and families in your prayers.

We have been in touch with council leadership. The National Council is offering any support possible during this difficult time.

Working with the leadership of Pack 170, the Connecticut Yankee Council has established a memorial fund in support of the five families. If interested, donations, cards, and letters can be sent to the Pack 170 Memorial Fund, c/o Connecticut Yankee Council, P.O. Box 32, Milford, CT 06460

God bless everyone as we take a step back and think about the safety and well-being of our own families and loved ones in the midst of this national time of mourning.

Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive

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