Posts Tagged ‘trip’



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Captain Luke Knuttel has officially accepted the position of Sailing Director for Florida Sea Base.  Welcome aboard Captain Luke; enjoy the ride!


Former Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras has agreed to re-join the team for this spring.  She has an incredible job lined up for the summer but has made her services available to us for the spring. Welcome back Commish!


I will be on the road by 04:00 Wednesday morning (about 9 hours from this writing).  With a little luck I will make it to Slidell, Louisiana by 20:00 (8 pm).  Thursday morning I will meet with Newton Dive Boat personnel to discuss the electronics and installation aboard BSA Sea Scout which is currently under construction.


I will post Wednesday evening or Thursday morning if possible.

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



My son and I arrived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex around 0430 CT Thursday morning.  Wednesday morning we rolled out at 0500, reported to Bird’s Underwater (dive shop) at 0615 and spent the 3.5 hours swimming with manatees in the wilds of Crystal River, Florida.

Aaron and Manatee

We got some good photos and Captain Chris shot some great video for our group of 6.  We were on the road for Dallas shortly after 1100 ET.  Aaron drove the first half and I drove the second half.  We made the trip in 18.5 hours.

I hope to get a nap shortly (I’ve been up for over 30 hours). I appreciate Captain Rich keeping everyone apprised of the happenings at the Florida Sea Base.  It sounds like he and Drew are having a great time.

Nap time!!!  Have a great day.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Alive but tired in the Mother Country

The forecast for the Florida Sea Base calls for a 40% chance of rain, a high of 79º and a low tonight of 69º.  I will meet with Richard Goldman this morning to discuss his strategy for today’s scuba training for the seasonal staff.  Christy Clemenson said she would also be available if needed.  We will see how it goes.

I expect it to be a quiet weekend at the base, no conferences and no program participants.  In addition to possibly assisting with the PADI Open Water Diver course, I have laundry to do and a car to pack.  I will drive to Tampa, Florida on Monday, the beginning of a two week road trip.

Here are two interesting items to check out:

Enjoy your weekend.

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


What a day.  0300 – up.  0330 – computer on, coffee making, day officially started.  Blog post, emails, IDC assignments, start packing for Texas.  0700 – in the office.  Expense report, DMA paperwork review & filing, create distribution lists in Outlook, jump start the GMC (it’s been sitting too long), organize the GMC for the trip to Texas, wash and dry two loads of clothes, call the National Office re VPN (I don’t know what it is, but I have it), visit with Kyle Moran, later visit with Laura Kuras.  1000 – on the road.  Subway for brunch, then on to the IDC update.  1600 – drive to Key Largo.  Pickup car dolly, get gas, ATM withdrawal.  1730 – back in the office.  Finalize expense report, work on invoices, emails.  1930 – on the boat.  Put away laundry, sort the fridge, more packing, take a jacket?  Take drugs for a major headache.  I’m pooped.  And stressed.  And tired.  Oh yeah, I already said that.

Although Ophelia has strengthened to hurricane status, she is well north of us and no threat to the Florida Sea Base.  Phillipe is forecasted to weaken and turn north.  It looks like I may be driving through a (mostly dry) cold front between here and Texas.

Click image to enlarge.

Dr. Jeff Masters posted some worrisome news yesterday regarding the Texas drought.  Click HERE for the full article.  The bottom line is possibly 9 more years of drought.  That would be disastrous.

I hope to get out of here today, but there is a decent chance that I won’t be able to leave until Sunday.  I wish I was going to be here for the beginning of the dredging project but I am really looking forward to be gone for a while.

I may not be able to post for a few days once I get on the road.  So stay safe and I’ll post as soon as I can.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape 

I arrived back at the base right at 18:00 yesterday evening.  All was well with the boat.  I unloaded the car and fixed a quick bite of dinner.  Dr. Ellen and Dutch were in the Galley when I arrived, preparing dinner for the staff.  I didn’t see any other staff members.

I have a do list a mile long.  Catch up is never fun.  The weather looks pretty decent for the next several days; partly cloudy with highs around 79.  We have one Coral Reef Sailing crew on the water this week.  They are on board S/V Spindrift with Capt. Joe Wischmeier.  Business picks up big time this coming weekend.

Dan Orr, President of the Divers Alert Network, is making a presentation at the History of Diving Museum this evening.  Rob Kolb called me yesterday and said he thought “we” should attend.  I will find out today if “we” meant Rob and me or if “we” meant me.  If should be a good networking opportunity and I’m sure Mr. Orr’s presentation will be very interesting.

I’m running a little late this morning.  Fortunately we are NOT having a 07:30 staff meeting.  I hope you have a great day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Capt. Rich and I were at the 07:30 staff meeting.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt, Matt McClure and Dom Alesandrini did a great job of keeping the lid on the boiling caldron while we were gone.  Thanks guys, and thanks to all of the staff members for doing your jobs competently and following Capt. Rich’s #1 rule – Don’t be Stupid!

Tomorrow we will refocus on our annual camp “visitation”.  This used to be called an inspection but I guess some bureaucrat thought visitation sounded less threatening.  It is what it is.  A bunch of folks are going to arrive at the Florida Sea Base on Wednesday to audit our procedures.  The actual inspection, I mean visitation, is on Thursday.  This is a one day event (it could easily be a day and a half or two days) that requires the inspectors to split into three teams, two at the Florida Sea Base and one at the Brinton Environmental Center.  Friday morning they will make a report.  This will be my 11th “visitation” at the Florida Sea Base.  It is always hard to have a team of people come in and do their best to find some type of deficiency.  One year one of the inspectors was displeased because one of our signs read something like “No Unauthorized Personnel” but was supposed to read “Authorized Personnel Only”.  So we went across the street to the hardware store, bought the proper sign and put it in place.

I  was hoping to find more info on the Deepwater Horizon debacle to report on today but in all honesty I am still dragging and simply haven’t made time to catch myself up.  I am very interested in any news any of you can provide with references so I can take a look.  Just click on the comment button and type away.  I will try to do a better job and have some information to post tomorrow.  The bottom line for right now is the Keys – including the Florida Sea Base – are oil free and open for business.  Sometimes you just have to take things one day at a time.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The Florida Sea Base is now in the capable hands of Capt. Alex Bergstedt, Scuba Commissioner, Matt McClure, Sailing Commissioner, and Dominic Alesandrini, Dockmaster.  Captains Rich, Carol and I left the Florida Sea Base early this morning and have arrived in Slidell.  Capt.  Tom Faralli met us here.  But the day didn’t go quite as planned and there are some issues to be resolved.

We left the Florida Sea Base at 0630 this morning for what is normally a two hour drive to the Miami International Airport.  Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1035.  No worries.  We arrived at MIA at 1030.  BIG worries.  The only good news was that the departure had been postponed for 15 minutes due to the bad weather.  We had a bag that had to be checked due to the contents.  As many of you know, I have a crippled leg.  So the decision was made that  Captains Rich and Carol would run for the gate with their carry-ons and I would take the checked bag and catch the next flight.  Captains Rich and Carol were successful and BARELY caught the flight.  I stood in line for an hour and a half to get booked on the next flight and check the bag.  Thirty minutes later I was through security and at the gate.  But the flight did not leave for another four hours.

Captains Rich and Carol went to Newton to check on the status of the BSA Centennial Eagle.  The boat has still not been sea trialed by the US Coast Guard or the representatives from John Deere (required for the engine warranties).  So that will happen tomorrow morning if we are lucky.  Adding to our woes is the weather forecast (50% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow).  And finally, we are concerned that some of our route may be closed because the prevailing winds are pushing the oil from Deepwater Horizon towards Mobile, Alabama.  Oh yeah, on top of all of that, we need to return to the Florida Sea Base ASAP because we have our annual national camp inspection next week.

I have been watching the local news while preparing this post.  The oil spewing from the Deepwater Horizon site is killing this part of the world.  It is unexcusable.

I will post a report tomorrow if we aren’t able to get underway.  If you don’t here from me, it means we are on the water headed for the Keys.

Capt. Steve