We only had one dive this morning and the rest of the afternoon has been free time until a few minutes ago when the divers turned in their gear. We didn’t have a second dive because you can’t fly for a period of 18 hours and better 24 hours after the last dive. This is to allow the nitrogen to come back down to normal. With the dive we took this morning that only took a few hours. But, better safe than sorry.
The best conditions were save to last. The visibility was 75 feet, and we dove on Chuck Norris. This was a patch reef built from bridge rubble. We met at the bottom when we first got in and met with our dive masters where everyone received their Sea Base patch. Then it was time to explore the reef. Because of the depth, 30 feet, we had a longer time to explore the reef. Every one was satisfied and enjoyed this reef as well. We saw blue angelfish and queen angelfish. Not much in the way of lobster hear but bustling with color and interesting shapes. Blankey Boy took pictures of everyone entering the water and getting their patch.
Tonight is our Luau and the menu includes blackened Mahi Mahi, rice, and for desert Key Lime Pie. There will be a “camp fire” and the boys have their skit ready. Should be a fun evening.
Tomorrow our bus will pick us up at about 9:30 and we will head to the Everglades for lunch and an air boat ride. The to the airport. We are on two flights on the way back with the latter, Delta flight 1527 arriving back in Atlanta at 8:48 PM. Jennifer, Tracy, Mary and Laura will be waiting in the cell phone lot and I will call when we are ready to be picked up. I anticipate we will be back at Fairview around 10:00, but will call when we are about 20 minutes out, just like on campouts.
Everyone is tired, but satisfied and all had a good time. Hopefully there will be lots of memories made.
Thank you for allowing me to share this experience with the sons and spouses. This is truly an experience that few get to do. With 7/10 of the Earth’s surface being covered by water, the boys got to enjoy something truly unique.
Bill “Turtle” Faulkinberry
Sorry there was no post yesterday, but as you will see, it was a busy day. Everyone is up by 6:30 to get ready for the day. At 7:15 the Midnight Rambler, Slush Puppy, Keeper, Doc, FroZone, Annarobic, Nemo and The Inquisitor are working on the Duty to God Patch. They have to attend chapel in the morning, lead a prayer and do a devotional with the crew. Afterwards it flags, then breakfast. Food is good with no complaints I am aware of. Usually scrambled eggs and different fixings. We are then back to the dorm to change, put on sunscreen and change for diving. We load our gear on the boats get two tanks and make a sack lunch. Then its off to the reefs. Conditions have approved greatly since the first day. We went to the Pillars and Tennessee. Pilars bridge debris from the destruction of the first bridges that was dumped in piles to start artificial reefs. These are a favorite among the scouts. Lot’s of sea life and interesting formations. Tennessee is ledge dive and again good visibility and lots to see. We had lunch on the boat at about 2:00 and then back to base. We arrive at about 3:30 and rinse our gear, unload tanks, and shower. Then it was dinner, pot roast, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. Instead of class room we had our third dive of the day, a night dive!
We got a late start and got to Alligator Reef at sunset. Everyone was give a light and tank marker so the dive masters could see where everyone one. The first half of the dive was led by our dive masters and then we were released to continue with our dive partner. The reward for me was when everyone, got back on the boats and was just astonished as to what and how much they say. We got back at about 10:30, cleaned up and went to bed exhausted. This was a memory I hope they have for ever.
Today we followed pretty much the same schedule. The dives to day were are Aquarium and Ham. The conditions were even better with 60′ visibility. You can ask your son what it was like diving with sharks. If they said they did, they really did. We think there were two at Aquarium but they moved around. We were within a few feet of them. FYI, they are nurse sharks, and have no interest in us unless they feel trapped, they just swim away. They are one of the two species of sharks that don’t have to swim to pump water over their gills. Also saw morays eels (green and spotted) and sea turtles (green and leatherback).
Some of the boys (Stinky, Tree, Nemo, and the Inquisitor) like to ride up with the captain on the bridge. Slush Puppy and Bookworm generally stay below and sleep. The trips to the reefs take about 45 minutes to an hour.
Have to end this here as it is time for flags and dinner.
We had two good dives today. The seas were higher, but we went further east and dove on Crocker and Davis. Bother were fairly shallow but had lots of fish. We saw sting rays, queen angels and french angels to name a few. Everyone went on both dives and all were pleased.
Because of the type of certification some of us have, an adult was required as a partner for everyone under fifteen. In all but one case a parent was teamed with the scout. Nemo and Sleepy teamed as did The Inquisitor and Mr. Wizard, Doc and Keeper. Tree and FroZone were the non-parent/scout team. The two youth teams Stinky and Midnight Rambler and Slush puppy and bookworm. The one last time consisted of Turtle, Blankey Boy, and Annarobic. Our dive masters are Sasha and Eggs.
Each evening we have a class room session and tonight was on night dives which we will do tomorrow night. Seas are supposed to be down some tomorrow so hopefully the visibility will be improving.
Food has been good. Usually eggs in the morning. We make sandwiches for the boat as we are out on the water at lunchtime. Dinner tonight was tariyaki chicken.
All are healthy and doing well and some will have a great tan when they return except for the Midnight Rambler who likes to burn no matter how much sun screen he puts on.
We had a good day today and got two dives in. The first was at Rocky Top. This was patch reef. The seas had been two to four feet high so we were a little disappointed with this dive as visibility was only 10 to 15 feet. This was better than the quarry. After about a 30 minute interval we had moved to reef called Arnos. This was another patch reef and was quite a bit better. We had several people not do the second dive due to not feeling well. They missed a good dive with visibility about 50 feet. Blanket Boy and I saw lots of fish. Their colors were a little muted but still a sight to see. We even saw a nurse shark 5 to 10 feet away. We saw a small green sea turtle and lots of Florida lobster.
All had a good time as we stopped for lunch on the water and the scouts were given time to snorkel and earn the BSA snorkeling award.
This evening we had more class room time. Everyone remains safe and sound and looking for more down time.
As I mentioned last night we came up with nick names for everyone on the trip. They boys came up with this. The reason we do this is for youth protection. We can’t use the boys names on the webpage as it is open for viewing. As we post I’ll let you know about things the individuals scouts/scouters are doing but only by the nick name. You will have to guess who I am talking about. Four of the names are the same as the last trip. I am Turtle. The rest of them are:
Blanket Boy, Anaerobic, Slush Puppy, Sleepy, Midnight Rambler, Stinky, Book Worm, Frozone, Doc, Keeper, Nemo, Nole, Inquisitor, and Tree.
We finished up our training this morning, worked on proper weighting for salt water and bouyancy control. After lunch we went on our first dive. The trip out with the seas reported to be 2 to 4 feet, but everyone did well and we had no motion sickness. The dive was at Alligator Reef, a shelf reef at about 25 feet. Visibility was only about 50 feet but there was a lot to see. Lobsters and stone crab as well as barracuda, grouper and many other reef fish were seen. The most unusual was a pancake ray. All the scouts enjoyed their first salt water dive and can’t wait to tomorrow.
Food is getting good reviews. Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread and mixed vegetables were for dinner. Afterwards we reviewed log books and attended a coral reef conservation program.
Two dives are scheduled for tomorrow but the guys still haven’t come up with nicknames yet. All are healthy.
we have arrived safely and all are well. We left the hotel at about 10:30 and 5.5 hours later we were here. The holiday traffic was bad and the only highway is US 1. Two lanes most of the way through the keys.
after arriving were checked in, got our base orientation. After that it was time for our swim test in the harbor and all passed. After dinner we all pass our skill review. In the morning we will do a weight check.
more tomorrow after out first dives.
We are in Ft Lauderdale and have checked into the hotel. The flights were uneventful and took about 15 minutes. Definitely a holiday weekend as traffic is bad. Guys are going to the beach or pool or looking at cars.
Breakfast at7:30 and we load the buss at 9:30
24 hours from now crew SASU052415AB will be on it’s way to the Florida High Adventure camp in the Florida Keys. Weather looks favorable at this time for a week of Scuba Diving.
I will keep you updated as the week progresses. Names will be changed while communicating. See if you can tell the nicknames assigned to each of the crew members.
Signing off now until tomorrow evening