Posts Tagged ‘wind’

FOREWARNED

The spring season at the Florida Sea Base is slowing down and the staff is thinning out.  I will be assisting as needed with a Scuba Certification crew of 13 divers this week.  I will make every effort to post daily, but they posts may be short and I could even miss a post.

SAILING

Two Coral Reef Sailing and one Sea Exploring crew arrived Sunday.  The were no crews on shore leave and no crews returning to base at their adventure’s end.

SCUBA

A Scuba Liveaboard crew, a double Scuba Certification crew and three Scuba Adventure crews checked in Sunday.  The Scuba Certification crew is being led by Scuba Instructor/Captain Alex Bergstedt and Scuba Instructor David Kirkenir with Divemaster Paul Mangone and yours truly assisting.  The Scuba Adventure crews are being led by Captain Sargon Smith, Divemaster Brenda Mallory, and Scuba Instructor Steven Raymond.  The Scuba Liveaboard crew will spend the week with Scuba Instructor Dave Ball and Divemaster Jenna Burton.

WEATHER

According to the National Weather Service the wind will not be kind to the scuba crews this week.  Bonine® for everyone!

Today: East to southeast winds near 15 knots and gusty. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop to choppy. Isolated showers.
Tonight And Tuesday: East winds near 15 knots and gusty. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop to choppy. Isolated showers.
Tuesday Night And Wednesday: East to southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.
Wednesday Night And Thursday: Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.
Thursday Night: Southeast to south winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.
Friday And Friday Night: Southeast to south winds near 15 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

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

28Mar

BETTER

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WEATHER

We are struggling a little with near record low temperatures.  The skies were clear at the Florida Sea Base yesterday but the wind was still ripping in the morning.  The wind dropped significantly in the afternoon.  It is up a little this morning, around 15 knots from the NNE.  It’s 59°F but should warm up to 70 this afternoon under clear skies.  We are expecting sunny conditions through Saturday.  The wind should remain at a tolerable 10 to 15 knots for the rest of the week.  Temperatures are creeping up very slowly.

SAILING

The sailors are doing well.  They too have weather challenges but have more flexibility within their program than do the divers.  But cold is cold and it has been pretty cool at the Florida Sea Base.  Six crews were in for shore leave yesterday.  One of the scheduled events for the crews is volleyball.  We apparently had two very dedicated players who managed to head-butt each other during the game.  One was transported to Mariners Hospital for a lacerated forehead.  OUCH!  He will be fine but no more in water activities for the rest of his week.

SCUBA

The divers at the Florida Sea Base completed all of their scheduled dives yesterday.  I was out with the Scuba Certification crews.  Our first dive was at the Pillars of Atlantis.  We had a lot of sand for completing skills without damaging the coral.  It was a fairly strong current, surge and only 10’=15′ visibility.  The instructors were stressed a little, but the participants had a BLAST.  We moved to Alligator Reef for our second dive.  During the drive the wind dropped significantly.  We had about twice as much visibility, very little current and much less surge for our second dive.   I want to thank Captain Alex Bergstedt and Commissioner Laura Kuras for helping out with the Scuba Certification crews yesterday.  Half of our Scuba Adventure crews went to Alligator Reef for their night dive last night.

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

03Jun

More Wind

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On Thursday the Florida Sea Base welcomed four Coral Reef Sailing crews and one Sea Exploring crew (Schooner Pirate’s Lady) aboard.  One Scuba Liveaboard crew and three Coral Reef Sailing crews returned for Luau.

Four Coral Reef Sailing crews were on base for shore leave.  They spent the day small boat sailing, kayaking, tubing and playing volleyball.

The Sunday Scuba Certification crew completed open water training dives three and four and are now certified divers.  The crew was lead by PADI Scuba Instructors Brittany Haury and Brian Sevald.  They will complete two fun dives today and another tomorrow before preparing for check-out.  The Sunday Scuba Adventure crews made two dives yesterday and the Wednesday Scuba Adventure crews completed their scuba reviews in the morning and then went to Alligator Reef in the afternoon for Dive 1.  The Wednesday Scuba Adventure crews are on BSA Adventure with Capt. Scott Costa and BSA Explorer with Capt. Ed Miller.

This has been a windy week.  At about 2300 (11:00pm) Wednesday the wind topped out at 30 knots.  It is forecasted to stay near 20 knots from the Northeast until Monday when it may drop to 10 knots.  This will make diving very challenging through Sunday.  Here’s the latest marine forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today…East winds 15 to 20 knots…becoming gusty late. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy. Isolated showers.
Tonight…East winds near 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 5 to 7 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters rough. Isolated showers.
Saturday…East winds near 20 knots in the morning…decreasing to 15 to 20 knots by afternoon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 7 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. nearshore waters rough…becoming choppy.
Saturday Night…East winds 15 to 20 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy to rough. Isolated showers.
Sunday…East winds 15 to 20 knots…decreasing to near 15 knots during the afternoon. Seas beyond the reef 4 to 6 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet…subsiding to around 2 feet. Nearshore waters choppy…becoming a moderate chop. isolated showers.
Monday…Northeast to east winds around 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef subsiding to 1 to 2 feet. Nearshore waters becoming a light chop. Isolated showers.
Tuesday…Northeast to east winds near 10 knots. Seas beyond the reef 1 to 2 feet. Seas inside the reef less than 1 foot. Nearshore waters smooth to a light chop. Isolated showers.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Above and beyond all else that I have to say today, I want to say “thank you” to current and former military personnel who have defended my freedom.  God bless you all.

Our first Sea Exploring crew of the summer season arrived Sunday.  They will be aboard the Schooner Jolly II Rover for the week.  Four Coral Reef Sailing crews also arrived at the Florida Sea Base yesterday.  They went out on Sprindrift, Wandering Star, Conchy and Dutch Love.  Five Scuba Adventure crews and one Scuba Certification crew checked in.  The 2011 summer season has begun in earnest at the Florida Sea Base.

The wind started out at 11 knots yesterday morning but built to near 20 knots by dinner time.  Otherwise the weather was great.  The wind is forecasted to stay near 20 knots from the East for the next several days.  That is going to make conditions very dicey for the divers and borderline for the sailors.  But a forecast is only that and hopefully conditions will improve very soon.

Captains Rich and Carol rode their bikes to Key West yesterday.  Sailing Commissioner Stephanie Mansburger did a great job during Capt. Rich’s absence.  Scuba Commissioner Laura Kuras lead the scuba staff through last minute preparations yesterday morning and through our first crew arrivals of the summer yesterday afternoon.

Time to head out for the 0730 staff meeting.  Have a great Memorial Day.  If you get a chance, say “thank you” to a soldier, sailor, marine or coastie.  They certainly deserve much more.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

04Mar

Windy

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Wowy-zowy; the wind is howling.  Our maximum wind speed was 30 knots yesterday.  Otherwise, the weather is quite pleasant; low 70s and lots of sunshine.  Courtesy of the National Weather Service:

Friday And Friday Night…East winds near 25 knots and gusty. Seas beyond the reef 6 to 9 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters very rough. Isolated showers.
Saturday…East to southeast winds near 20 knots and gusty early…decreasing to 15 to 20 knots. Seas beyond the reef 6 to 9 feet early…subsiding to 5 to 8 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 4 feet. Nearshore waters rough early…becoming choppy. Isolated showers.
Saturday Night…Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots early…decreasing to near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 5 to 8 feet early…subsiding to 4 to 7 feet. Seas inside the reef 2 to 3 feet. Nearshore waters choppy early…becoming a moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Sunday…Southeast to south winds 10 to 15 knots…becoming southwest to west and decreasing to near 10 knots in the afternoon. Seas beyond the reef subsiding to 2 to 4 feet. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop…becoming a light chop. Isolated showers.
Monday…Winds becoming northeast to east 10 to 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 2 to 4 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a light to moderate chop. Isolated showers.
Tuesday…East winds near 15 knots. Seas beyond the reef 3 to 5 feet. Seas higher in the gulf stream. Seas inside the reef around 2 feet. Nearshore waters a moderate chop. Isolated showers.

Scuba tank preparations are coming along nicely.  They still have a long ways to go, but we will be ready for the onslaught of scuba crews arriving on 13 March.  The facilities department will spent a few days making additional preparations in the scuba area next week.  Several additional scuba staff members arrive on 10 March and that will help us meet our deadline.

Capt. Carol and I talked a little while this morning and she is now on a crusade to do what we can to protect our carrying capacity on the dive boats.  The solution may cost a pretty penny, but we may not be as impacted by the new limitations as some of the other dive centers.  We have some smart cookies working for us and tend to creative ways to meet these challenges.

Captains Dennis, Allan and Mike have returned after a successful oat delivery to Belize.  Maybe Capt. Dennis will find time to write an essay on the adventure.  If so, I’ll post it if he will let me.

The refrigeration guy diagnosed the problem with Escape’s refrigerator yesterday.  Another week and $500 – $600 and it should be chillin’ like a villain.  I’m scheduled to drive to Aventura this morning to see the fat doctor.  But I may put that off until next week.  Gas prices have hit $3.75 a gallon here and the weekly trip is getting to be pricey.  I am considering an every-other-week schedule to save gas money and wear and tear on the car.  The good news is I’m still losing weight.  The bad news is I’m not losing as fast as I was and I am struggling with my lack of patience.  Losing weight is expensive.  Besides gas and doctor’s bills, I have given away most of my clothes in the past two weeks.  I’m only replacing what’s absolutely necessary because, if all goes well, I should lose another size or maybe two before this struggle is over.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

23Oct

Windy Day

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Good morning.  I have been up since 04:00.  I’ve having one of those “I’m tired but can’t sleep” episodes.  I also have a killer sinus headache and I’m sure that’s making the situation worse.  I didn’t notice until just a minute or so ago that yesterday’s post did not display properly.  I apologize for that.  It is fixed now.

Yesterday was breezy with ENE winds holding at over 15 knots from 09:00 through the day.  By 18:00 the winds were consistently over 20 knots, gusting to 27.  Since 01:00 this morning the winds have been from the east at 23 to 27 knots.  The good news is that the direction and intensity of the wind has been just right to rock the boat just enough to make you feel like you’re swaying in a havoc or relaxing in a rocking chair.  A very smooth back and forth motion.

The wind will definitely impact our scheduled programming for this morning at the Florida Sea Base.   NOAA issued a Small Craft Advisory yesterday that is still in effect.  The wind and seas have been building all night.  There is no instrumentation at the reef line that measures wave or duration.  My guess, based on 10 years of experience at the Florida Sea Base is the waves are in the four feet range.  The shark research team MIGHT get out on the water this morning.  They frequently operate on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys and conditions will be rough but safe enough.  The snorkelers need to go the reef line on the Atlantic Ocean side of the islands.  If the group was scuba diving I would say they might be able to get in a dive.  It would be sloppy with poor visibility, but doable.  Snorkeling will be worse.  The reduced visibility (caused by the waves stirring up the sand) may obscure the reef from the surface and the snorkelers bobbing around in 4′ seas equals a lot of queasy stomachs.  I will discuss the situation in a few hours with Captains Rich and Carol and with Chrystene Matthews who is in charge of the groups wanting to go out today.

I have been putting up with a minor (yet very annoying) leak on S/V Escape where the mizzen mast goes through the deck.  I think (hope) I corrected the problem yesterday.  I am going to let the new caulk dry until this afternoon and then I will put a cover over my work to reduce UV damage.  Having a leaking mast boot is very much like having a leaky roof; it can cause a lot of unseen damage that is difficult and expensive to repair.

Hot off the press – the 05:00 update on T/S Richard.

Click to enlarge.

The track continues to look good for the Florida Sea Base.  But I have many interests in Texas as well and this system could be bad news on that that end.  By tomorrow the system will be right on top of Roatan and the other Bay Islands of Honduras.  That is a very popular scuba destination so I am sure there a a lot of disappointment from those vacationing there.

That’s all I have this morning.  My head’s feeling a little better so I am going to try to get back to sleep for an hour or so.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

8 a.m. update - 21 July 2010

The updates continue to be good news for the Brinton Environmental Center and Florida Sea Base programs.  Te tracks keep creeping to the north.  The senior management had a meeting at 09:00.  We are making preparations for a Tropical Storm even though this may be a non-event for us.  In either case, we do not anticipate even a Cat 1 hurricane or any forced evacuations by Monroe County.  The local forecast still calls for winds from the east, shifting to northeast, back to east and finally to southeast with wind speeds 15 – 20 knots through Sunday (well after Invest 97 has passed).  We see all of this as encouraging.

The National Hurricane Center will issue it’s next update at 14:00 EDT.  I will try to sneak in another update this afternoon if warranted.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Today’s weather at the Florida Sea Base calls for 90º, mostly clear skies and ESE winds at 15knots.  It should be a warm but pleasant day.  Invest 94L continues to move away from us.

Invest 94L - Weather Underground

Tropical Storm Alex made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula at about 04:30.  It will move into the Gulf of Mexico and is currently forecasted to make another landfall near Tampico, Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane.

T/S Alex - Weather Underground

I’m running a little late this morning so I have to dash off to the 07:30 staff meeting.  I will update this post later in the day if warranted.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Good afternoon from the Florida Sea Base.  Just hours after I made this morning’s post NOAA recognized another Invest system, 94L.  We had Invest 92L last week and now 93L and 94L simultaneously.  It looks like it will be and active season in the North Atlantic as predicted.

From Weather Underground

From Weather Underground

We certainly had an active day at the base.  In the morning, Capt. Kim on S/V Rainbow Connection broke a steering cable and was towed in by Capt. Rich for repairs.  This afternoon, Capt. Geoff was unable to start S/V Silent Harmony to return to the Florida Sea Base so Capt. Rich and I towed him in.  Then one of the little sailboats blew out its mainsail and ran aground so Capt. Rich and I towed them back in.  While we appreciate all of God’s gifts, including the wind, we are experiencing just a little too much wind currently.  It will slow down to zero before long and we will be lamenting the lack of wind.  So we do our best to take what we are given and make the best of it.

We received another load of sand for the volleyball court today.  Added to yesterday’s delivery, the court is much better.  If we get really lucky we might get one more load.  We also received a third washer/dryer for the staff laundry.  It’s not connected yet, but we are looking forward to the expansion.

That’s about all for right now.  Tomorrow is my scheduled day off.  I have a lot of personal projects that need my attention.  I may not post tomorrow.  If not, I will certainly be back at it on Sunday.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The strong winds will dominate for even longer at the Florida Sea Base.  NOAA forecasts 20 knot winds from the east through Saturday and 15 knot winds through Tuesday (the end of the current forecast period).  The wind actually shifted to the east-northeast (ENE) yesterday and gave us a very tolerable day of diving.  As I have mentioned before, the wind has been okay for the sailors.  They are reefing sails and staying mostly on the bay side.

EHre’s the morning report on Invest 93L from Weather Underground:

Credit: Weather Underground

Capt. Alex Bergstedt and Matt McClure are off today.  I am “recovering” from yesterday afternoon and last night.  Without being too graphic, I will just say that I have spent more of the last 12 hours on the toilet than off.  I haven’t felt “bad”; no nausea; but I obviously found some type of bug somewhere, somehow.  I’m doing my best to stay hydrated.  I fixed dinner on the boat and ate well (although it was a challenge to not burn anything while running back and for to the head).  Things seem to have slowed down so maybe the worst is over.  But believe me, I will do my best to not stray far from the bathroom today.

We received one load of good sand for the volleyball court yesterday (we need three more).  We expanded from one to two courts this summer and we are having some growing pains.  I expect the courts will be in pretty good shape about the end of summer (of course).  The courts are in near constant use.  I think we could cut out the sailing and diving and just have volleyball and hammocks under the palm trees and most of the kids would still have a blast.

Some of you may remember that 50 feet of chain disappeared from a bucket on the dock by my boat while we were delivering the BSA Centennial Eagle from Slidell, LA to the Florida Sea Base.  I am very disappointed to report that no one has acknowledged borrowing the chain.  Capt. Dennis Dugas of S/V Wandering Star even snorkeled around the dock to see if the chain somehow fell out of the bucket and into the water.  No luck.  I spent $154 to replace the chain.  The new chain is secured on my boat.  When I was a kid this situation would have been considered theft.  But in today’s society it is apparently my fault because I presented some otherwise honest person with too much temptation and caused them to take the chain.  Shame on me.

It’s time to hit the shower and prepare for another “opening day” at the Florida Sea Base.  So far, we remain oil free, there are no imminent threats of hurricanes for the next week and only 60 days of summer program are left.  Time flies when you’re having fun!!!

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape