Posts Tagged ‘Scuba’

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

19Feb

PRESIDENTS DAY

in Weather  •  0 comments

WEATHER

It is trying to warm up at the Florida Sea Base.  We MAY have broken 70 yesterday.  The wind clocked to the east earlier than expected (not good for the divers) and continued blowing in the 18 knot range.  We are hoping for a high in the upper 70s today and around 80 for the rest of the week.  The wind should be less intense for the next two days.

SCUBA

The Scuba Liveaboard crew loaded provisions and dive gear at the Florida Sea Base and headed to Stock Island yesterday morning to begin their adventure aboard the Schooner Conch Pearl.  The Scuba Adventure crew spent the morning in the pool completing a scuba review and went diving at Alligator Reef in the afternoon.  Captain Christy Clemenson reported good visibility, 3 to 4 foot waves, and “some pukers”.  (Captain Christy can be SO sympathetic.)

SAILING

All of the sailing crews were on the water Monday.  To the best of my knowledge there were no negative incidents.  The wind was great for sailing.

THANKS

I want to thank Florida Sea Base Administrative Assistant Cheryl Ferreri for coming into work yesterday, an official BSA holiday.  We found ourselves in a bit of a bind on some very time sensitive documents and she came in to bail us out.  Thanks Cheryl.

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

 

WEATHER

A cold front arrived at the Florida Sea Base at 22:00 (10 pm) and brought some brief showers and gusty breezes.  The front is expected to stall for a few days.  Opening day 2013 may be a little wet, but the system should be moving out by Monday.  We have a decent chance of rain today and it is going to be chilly Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings, but overall, not bad.

Here’s the official forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 77. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Tonight: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. Northeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 75. Breezy, with a northwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51. Windy, with a northwest wind around 25 mph.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 62. Breezy, with a north wind 15 to 20 mph.
Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 56.
Washington’s Birthday: Partly sunny, with a high near 72.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64.
Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 77.
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 68.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 70. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

The good news is the water remains a very comfortable 75°F. 🙂  From my Facebook page:

It’s no Nemo, but we have a cold front coming in, mostly a rain event until Monday when it should turn cool and breezy. I went to the grocery store and filled the water tank on Escape. Be Prepared!

NATIONAL CAMP ACCREDITATION PROGRAM

In 2012, the camp standards for the Florida Sea Base were 14 pages long and covered every aspect of life from accounting to sewage.  The annual camp “visitation” took two half days and one full day.  The new BSA National Camp Accreditation Program was provided to me Wednesday.  It is 322 pages of standards.  For decades, 14 pages (or less) have been adequate to insure a safe experience of a lifetime for our participants.  322 pages?  I cannot think of one positive thing to say.  (Makes a nice paperweight?)  Really bored?  Having a tough time on the toilet?  Click on the above link and you can read all 322 pages for yourself.  Reading 322 pages is a career.  Demonstrating compliance with 322 pages of standards may take longer than 2 half days and one full day.  The paperwork part will take months of preparation on our part.  (The practical parts are performed every day.)  The accreditation team arrives at the Florida Sea Base in mid June.  I spent from 17:00 (5 pm) to 21:00 (9 pm) Wednesday evening reviewing the new manual and making notes.  (No, I did not get through 322 pages in 4 hours, but I did get started.)  I know some very nice folks dedicated a great deal of their life to writing these standards.  I am very appreciative of their dedication.

SCUBA

Rob Bleser and Bart from Quiescence Diving Services / Breathing Air Concepts overhauled our back-up scuba compressor Thursday and put it in service.  We pulled our oldest compressor and it will get a major rebuild.

David Kirkenir, who worked for us last summer as a Divemaster, is attending the PADI Instructor Development Course at Florida Keys Dive Center.  I am hoping to get time to assist with the course for a few days, but being the first week of our spring season that looks doubtful.

 SAILING

The sailing staff (accompanied by most of the scuba staff) went to Alligator Reef yesterday to practice their snorkeling technique.  On arrival days, all of the sailing crews spend time in our harbor brushing up on their snorkeling skills under in-water staff supervision and instruction.

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

END OF AN ERA

I will be on the road early (VERY early) Wednesday morning on my way to Slidell, LA to check on the BSA Sea Scout and then to Dallas for the BSA national committee meetings.  So today is my last day of working with Captain Rich Beliveau.  He will be on his way to North Carolina and a new beginning before I get back.  Captain Rich and I have been a great team.  I love him like a brother.  I will miss him very day.  BUT, never say never; there remains the chance of a sequel on a future endeavor.  A plan for future collaboration is afoot.  Godspeed & fair winds Captain Rich.

SCUBA

With the combined efforts of Florida Sea Base staff members Captain Christy Clemenson, Captain Sargon Smith, Divemaster Brenda Mallory, and Captain Rich Beliveau the pros from the BSA Centennial Eagle have been removed, resurfaced, and reinstalled.  Captain Christy reports the vessel is running better than ever.  Way to go team!!!

CONFERENCES

The Bay Lakes Council conference attendees were taken on an eco-tour that included Lignum Vitae State Park, Indian Key State Park and the Alligator Reef lighthouse.  I was busy elsewhere so I am not sure what staff members attended.  Food and Conference Director Tim Stanfill spent most of the day at the Brinton Environmental Center where the Ortho-Biony group is meeting.

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

22Jan

MLK DAY

in Staff  •  0 comments

HOLIDAY

Monday was a BSA holiday.  However, most of the full time staff at the Florida Sea Base reported for duty.  If you were fortunate enough to have a three day weekend I hope you made the most of it and had a great time.

CONFERENCE

The BBYO departed yesterday morning and another Volunteer Development group arrived yesterday evening.  The Florida Sea Base Food and Conference Director, Tim Stanfill, has done an excellent job of keeping the non-program dates filled with conference attendees this year.

SCUBA

The last time Captain Christy Clemenson drove BSA Centennial Eagle she noticed a vibration.  So Captain Sargon Smith jumped in the water yesterday to inspect the props and shafts; we assumed that the boat had run over a lobster trap and line was wrapped on a shaft.  What Captain Sargon found was much worse; two of the four blades on the port prop were bent.  Captain Christy and Captain Sargon suited up and a few hours later had removed both props.  (The props have to be balanced for proper performance.  So if one prop is worked on they both require adjustment.)

Late in the afternoon I caught Divemaster Brenda Mallory assembling scuba carts.  Rob and Bart from Breathing Air Concepts showed up around 16:00 to work on our scuba compressors.  They are and incredible, competent, fair team.  It is rare in the Keys to find a service company that is completely above reproach.  Breathing Air Concepts is a rare gem.

WEATHER

Between 15:00 (3 pm) and 16:00 (4 pm) our wind speed almost doubled from 8 knots to 13 knots.  By 19:00 (7 pm) we were at 16 knots.  I did not foresee this change when looking at the forecast Monday morning.  Here is today’s marine forecast from the National Weather Service.

Today: North winds near 15 knots…decreasing to 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon. Seas around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop…becoming a light to moderate chop.
Tonight: North to northeast 10 to 15 knots early…increasing to near 20 knots. Seas building to 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters becoming rough. Isolated showers.
Wednesday: Northeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. nearshore waters choppy.
Wednesday Night And Thursday: Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.
Thursday Night: Northeast to east winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.
Friday: East winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Friday Night: Northeast to east winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Saturday: Northeast winds near 15 knots. Seas around 2 feet. nearshore waters a moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Saturday Night: North to northeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.

As of this morning, the week looks like lows in the mid 60s, highs in the mid 70s, very breezy, and a 10% chance of light scattered showers daily.

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.

Click to enlarge.

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.

Click to enlarge.

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. 🙂

Click to enlarge.

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