Posts Tagged ‘spill’

All is well today at the Florida Sea Base.  Staff members are starting to pour in.  Staff training starts at 0730 Sunday.

There is mixed news for the Florida Sea Base regarding the oil disaster today.  My comments yesterday about the route of the Loop Current actually protecting the Gulf of Mexico side of our part of the Keys was reinforced.  There are reports of oil as close as 350 miles west of Key West today but NONE of that is a threat to our bay side operation.  [The Florida Sea Base is on the “bay side” or Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys.  We should remain safe for the foreseeable future.]  And even better news is that the Loop Current may (in the next few days) break from it’s usual path and actually form a clockwise rotating circle loop that would literally carry the oil back to Louisiana.  (Not what the folks in Louisiana or Alabama want to hear.)  This circular loop occurs every six to eleven months.  Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground thinks this may happen as early as tomorrow.  Even so, Dr. Masters still feels some oil will make it’s way past Key West on Wednesday.  If you are trying to keep up with this, I would suggest you check Dr. Masters’ post daily.  Today’s full post is at  Dr. Masters also mentions the first “invest” system, 90L, is sitting just northeast of the Bahamas and may bring some nasty weather to North Carolina by Tuesday.  The system will not be any threat to the Florida Sea Base.

After our Team Meeting yesterday, Keith Douglass, our Facilities Director, attended a meeting in Marathon that primarily focused on hurricane information for 2010 but also got into the oil disaster.  Capt. Pat DeQuattro, Commander of US Coast Guard Sector Key West, said (according to Capt. Douglass) that the Coast Guard will remain vigilant and prepared for a worse case scenario but all he is expecting to happen in the Keys from this oil disaster is the presence of tar balls.  Again, that supports the comments I made yesterday.

So everything continues to be good at the Florida Sea Base; hectic and insane, but good.  have a pleasant day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Sargon Smith and I attended a course in Visual Inspection of High Pressure Cylinders today.  The certification expires every three years,  This was my third time to take the class.  Steve Campbell of Quiescence Diving Services did a great job.  I left the Florida Sea Base before breakfast and didn’t get back until after dinner so I don’t have a clue as to what went on here today.  Capt. Rich and Capt. Carol will be back at work tomorrow.  We have our monthly Team Meeting tomorrow morning and then Capt. Rich will probably have to go to Key West to meet with the US Navy in reference to our Memorandum of Understanding regarding our Sea Exploring vessels docking at the Navy Base.  Rob Kolb is in the Bahamas on business at the Florida Sea Base location in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt, Scuba Commissioner, returned to work after visiting his family in Indiana for a couple of weeks.

There is an update on the oil disaster posted at  I’m sure there are several others.  Way down in the article there are a few sentences saying that the tar balls that washed ashore in Key West a few days ago are NOT from Deepwater Horizon.  That about the only good news.  Here are some excepts copied from the MSNBC article.

The latest satellite and overflight data shows a “small portion” of the BP oil slick has reached the Loop Current “in the form of light to very light sheens,” the federal government said Wednesday.

But the update also cautioned that “in the time it would take for oil to travel to the vicinity of the Florida Straits, any oil would be highly weathered and both the natural process of evaporation and the application of chemical dispersants would reduce the oil volume significantly.”

The statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration added that the oil might not be carried to the Florida Straights at all if it gets caught in a clockwise eddy in the middle of the Gulf.

“Oil entrained in the Loop Current would require persistent onshore winds or an eddy on the edge of the Loop Current for it to reach the Florida shoreline,” NOAA said. “If this were to occur, the weathered and diluted oil would likely appear in isolated locations in the form of tar balls.”

Also Wednesday, the Coast Guard said that tar balls that floated ashore in the Florida Keys are not linked to the oil spill, but that did little to soothe fears a blown-out well gushing a mile underwater could spread damage along the coast from Louisiana to Florida.

“The results of those tests conclusively show that the tar balls collected from Florida Keys beaches do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

But the Coast Guard remained on the alert for oil contamination.

“The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys,” said Coast Guard Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Sector Key West.

Despite the laboratory result, Florida Keys authorities are still preparing for possible impact from the Gulf spill as many forecasters see some oil from it being sucked by a powerful ocean flow, the Loop Current, around the Florida Keys and perhaps even up to Miami beaches.

The U.S. and Cuba were holding talks on how to respond to the spill, a U.S. StateDepartment official said, underscoring worries about the oil reaching a strong current that could carry it to the Florida Keys and the pristine white beaches of Cuba’s northern coast.

BP said it is now collecting 3,000 barrels of oil a day from the leaking well.

BP said it hopes to beging shooting a mixture known as drilling mud into the well early next week. Engineers hope to start the procedure known as a “top-kill” by Sunday. It could take several weeks to complete, but if it works it should stop the oil.

The first sea turtle has been treated for oiling. The baby Kemp’s ridley turtle was found Tuesday night.

If you believe that BP is actually capturing 3,000 barrels of oil per day, then that means they are getting 33% to 50% of the oil being spewed from the crippled well depending on whose numbers you want to believe about the amount of oil being discharged into the water.  Much of what I read in this article is good news to me – under the circumstances.  It really could be MUCH worse.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worse.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Here is the latest word from Paul Beal, General Manager, Florida Sea Base:

Information Regarding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

As this crisis continues to unfold the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base is closely monitoring the situation.  The most recent reports show that there is a possibility that some of the oil has reached the Gulf Loop Current, which would direct contaminants towards the Florida Keys.  The majority of the oil plume is still to the north and west of the spill site, however some oil is drifting towards the south. The news on May 18 noted that tarballs had washed up on shore at Key West, however tests to see if these were from the Deepwater Horizon were inconclusive.

We are in constant contact with local civil authorities concerning the safety of persons being in and on the water.  At this time there is no danger and water activities have not been curtailed in the Keys. Please know that the Florida Sea Base will close programs ONLY when directed to by local authorities or when we feel that the conditions presented are unsafe to our participants and staff.  Any cancellation on our part will result in full or prorated refund of fees under the same guidelines as severe weather cancellation (please see page 28 of the Participant Guide).  Should this contingency arise, we will notify crews as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding as we diligently watch this situation.  As evidenced by industry and governmental response this is a new and unknown issue.  We will keep you posted as we know more.

Paul M. Beal
General Manager

This statement is also posted at the official Florida Sea Base website.

Joe Schreiner sent this link to a video clip from the Today Show:

Tar balls have definitely come ashore in Key West.  But Key West is 75 miles from the Florida Sea Base and much closer to the Loop Current than we are.  The tar balls have been sent to a lab to determine if they are from Deepwater Horizon.  We are planning for business as usual at the Florida Sea Base and I will let you know IMMEDIATELY if there is any change to our scheduled programming.

Capt. Steve

It’s 0420 at the Florida Sea Base.  It’s partly cloudy, 79 degrees with calm winds.I was checking the weather and saw that Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground had posted a blog yesterday afternoon that I missed.  Please read his report about the Deepwater Horizon oil and the Loop Current at

This is sort of like sitting and waiting for a hurricane.  The scientist and forecasters are not sure what’s going to happen so we don’t know what’s going to happen.  Two days ago they were saying the oil might miss us.  Yesterday’s forecast said it might miss the bay side but be an issue on the ocean side.  It’s reminiscent of the “cone of death” during hurricanes.  The forecast says you are in the clear so you’re not too worried, then they move the cone and you might get hit so you start worrying and making a few preparations – just in case, then they move it again and you’re at ground zero so you fly into full crazy batten down the hatches mode, then they move it again and you’re out of danger and then the hurricane does whatever it wants and doesn’t seem to pay attention to the forecasters at all.  Same here.  We are simply going to have to wait and see what happens.  But since we have never experienced this sort of disaster we really don’t know how to prepare.  My personal motto is “prepare for the worse and hope for the best”.

Maybe oil will affect us and maybe not.  The “experts” are comfortable in saying the oil has connected with the Loop Current – at least temporarily – and some oil is headed our way.  Know one knows when it will get here (3 to 20 days depending on who you ask), what form it will be in (oil slick or tar balls or both), how weathered (or detoxified) it will be, if it will stay off-shore in the current or come on-shore,  how long this will last or what the long terms effects will be.

When I know something you will know something.  If you have access to some verifiable information that you want to share with me on this topic please click the comment button and send me the info to share with the other readers or email the information to me at

If I hurry I might be able to get another hour or sleep before the alarm goes off.  Don’t panic.  Stay tuned and stay informed.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The news of the day is that the oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon blowout may be sucked into the Loop Current.  We knew this was a matter of time, but hoped it would be later rather than sooner.  NBC news quoted sources who are estimating the first signs of oil may approach the Florida Keys in five to ten days.  No one knows  for sure what effects this will have on the Florida Sea Base or the world for that matter.  Please stay tuned.  I will post any program related information as soon as I know it.  For now, everything is proceeding as usual.  Summer staff training starts this Sunday and we are planning on a full program season.

I made a mistake on a post a few days ago and I always like to correct my mistakes as quickly as possible.  Nate Johnson is still here with the very few other staff members.  Nate is working as a ranger (maintenance) until the program season starts.  I think I may have left him off the remaining staff list because he drove Hannah to the airport and I didn’t see him all day.  Sargon will be going out with the shark tagging crew today with Capt. Tom.  Dom and Christi are off today.  Dutch and Jan Van der Laan are working on the snack bar.

Locally the forecast continues to call for a chance of rain, but so far we have remained dry.  Other than the grass needing some rain, I don’t mind a shower every now and then (and that’s what we usually get).  Sometimes we get the monsoon type rains that last for a few days.  Those are tough on program.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I have made so many posts regarding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and its potential effects on the Florida Sea Base that I thought I should start numbering them for organizational purposes.  By my account, this is my 6th blog on the topic with a few other posts having small references to the spill.

Today’s news is somewhat optimistic.  I commented last night that time is not on our side and the sooner they can get this situation under control the better it will be for everyone – including the Florida Sea Base.  The previous forecasts indicated that IF the oil gets to the Loop Current it would be in the Keys in 5 days.  The new report forecasts a delivery time of 10 to 14 days.  So IF the oil heads our way we will have more time to prepare and to inform our participants of what’s happening.  The other part of the report that I feel is good news is that IF the oil gets to the Loop Current and heads our way, it may not have any near-shore impact; that is to say the oil may stay in the current (several miles off-shore) and not impact our operations at all.  And IF the oil does have an on-shore or near-shore impact, there is a good chance that it will be in the form of tar balls which are much easier to deal with than a big slick of raw oil.

I was super stressed out about this issue last night and slept very poorly.  As a matter of fact, I got up at 0300 simply because I couldn’t sleep.  This news came at a good time and hopefully I will rest a little easier tonight.  Keep in mind that the spill is still over 500 miles away and – so far – is NOT migrating towards the Loop Current.  Please click on the link to read the full report that I am referring to.  OilQ&AAdv9

While this site contains more frequent updates on the oil spill and I try to share any info posted on the official Florida Sea Base website, please check their site frequently for any updated information that I may have missed.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Good morning from the Florida Sea Base.  Here are two excellent posts from Dr. Jeff Masters that you should make time to read.

The first one is very optimistic for the Florida Keys for the forecast period.  (But also reminds us that we could have a very bad situation on our hands IF the oil spill gets into the Loop Current.)

The second one explains the interaction of a hurricane on the oil spill.  It also notes that the first tropical wave of the 2010 season came off the African coast yesterday (Sunday); a reminder to those of us at the Florida Sea Base to keep a daily watch on such events.

Since the weather effects our personal and professional lives daily, the full time staff of the Florida Sea Base spends a lot of time monitoring television and internet weather forecast data.  (I have a TV in my office that stays on the Weather Channel.)  For the time being, we will have the daily forecast, short term forecast, long term forecast, marine weather forecast, tropical forecast and Deepwater Hoizon forecast to monitor.

Remember to check back here and at the Florida Sea Base’s official site for updated information on the weather, the oil spill and other urgent news affecting the Florida Sea Base programs.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The staff members of the Florida Sea Base continue to keep an eye on updates of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for the benefit of our patrons.  The news today is that the giant containment box did not work as planned.  They company was aware of this possible scenario and is working on Plan B.  Meanwhile, globs of oil (not yet clinically confirmed to be from the Deepwater Horizon spill) have washed ashore unexpectedly on Dauphin Island, Alabama.  There is a good report on

What impact this will have on the Florida Sea Base and Brinton Environmental Center remains uncertain.  We are watching the news, weather, and internet, listening to the radio and reading any print media available to keep up with the situation.

Make bookmarks for and  Any official announcements about the impact on our facilities will be posted at those sites.  All I can say for now is so far so good.  But possible oil on shore in Alabama is worrisome.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I received an email with the following attachment today.  It has some links and some FAQs about the effects of the gulf oil spill on the Florida Keys.  Information is power, so take a few minutes to review this document if you wish.  It is from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  The Florida Sea Base and Brinton Environmental Center are located in Monroe County, Florida.


I also found

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

We are receiving inquiries about how the BP oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast will affect the summer programs at the Florida Sea Base.  Obviously, it is too early to tell.  Here is the statement released by Paul Beal, General Manager, Florida National High Adventure Sea Base:


The Florida Sea Base is closely monitoring the oil leak situation in the Gulf of Mexico.  Currently (as of May 4, 2010) it is concentrated in the northern Gulf many hundreds of miles from the Keys and poses no threat to the Sea Base, however we know that these condition can easily change.  Please note that the majority of our Florida programs take place in the Atlantic Ocean which is currently unaffected.  We foresee no threat whatsoever to the Bahamas program as they are conducted in the Sea of Abaco, which is on the eastern edge of the Bahamas and far from the Gulf Stream.

To help us keep in touch with you should it be necessary to make program adjustments, please make sure that the emergency contact information we have on your crew is correct and up to date.  You can check this by logging onto your Sea Base account.  As recommended in our planning information, we recommend that you look into the possibility of obtaining trip insurance as a contingency.

Please know that we are on top of this situation and will notify you immediately if there is any change to your plans from this.  Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you this summer for a GREAT Sea Base adventure!

Paul Beal, General Manager

One of the Florida Sea Base supporters sent this information in an email:

Here is a link to the public information release web site for “Transocean Drilling Incident” that is spreading oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  This site is constantly updated and contains the most current official information. 

This is Part of the Government effort is to keep information flow current & transparent, so everyone can stay aware of the latest known information.  

Agreed there is still way too much uncertainty to be immediately concerned with our Sea Base Trip & the Keys.

  The information & NOAA Surface projection plots are updated continually.

A very interesting set of reads. 
I recommend saving this Web Site for future official US Government information releases.

Rob Lowe

The bottom line is we don’t know – no one knows – what will happen with this catastrophe.  For those of us working at the Florida Sea Base the current situation is business as usual.  We are monitoring the available information.  Please re-read Mr. Beal’s statement.  Please purchase trip interruption/cancellation insurance and please keep your crew contact information updated on the FSB Reservations site.  Also, check here and at for any updates.  Until you hear differently, we are planning on having a full summer of outstanding program experiences.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape