Sea Base adventures all have an educational component to them, how can you not learn new things after spending days living in and exploring a new environment? The Eco Adventure takes it a step further.
Your crew’s classroom will be two 40+’ sailboats and every day will be a field trip. Your teaching aids will be kayaks, snorkel gear, underwater viewers and wading shoes. Veteran boat captains who know and love the area will be your guides.
When you arrive at the Florida Sea Base on the afternoon of your arrival day, you will check in at the Registration office. You will be met by your Program Mate who will lead you through the orientation process for your adventure ahead. After your adult leader checks in with the registration office, your crew will have a crew photo taken before you head over to the shake down area under the scuba dorms. All personal gear minus your sleeping and snorkeling gear will fit into the issued mesh bags for the boat. You will change out of your scout uniform and into your swim trunks. Make sure you apply sunscreen; the Florida sun is very hot. You will stow your gear not going to the boat in either our lockers (you provide the lock) or your personal car if you choose. Next you will proceed on the Sea Base tour highlights including the ship store, the submarine, chapel, dive boats if in port, the sea habitat and galley.
Then you will go for issuing of snorkeling equipment. Each participant, both youth and adult, will be issued a mask, fins, snorkel, snorkel vest and a dive bag that you will use for the remainder of your week long adventure (if you have your own snorkeling equipment you may bring it). Everyone will participate in a BSA swim review and a snorkel instruction lesson so you are comfortable with your gear and swimming in the ocean. Next it is off to your assigned boats to meet your captains. Flags are at 5:45 and dinner at 6:00. After dinner, you will board your vessels and sail into the sunset. We try hard to get you off the dock that first night if at all possible.
For the next five days your crew will sail to various sites both on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys. You will study and explore the four unique ecosystems of the area: Mangrove hammocks, Sea Grass beds, the Hardpan sea floor and, of course, the beautiful Coral Reefs. In addition, you will visit some of the unique Keys of historical or ecological importance. There will be plenty of time to observe and identify local wildlife and plant life. You will also learn about the impact we have on these environments and how to minimize that impact. For fun there will be free time to snorkel, fish and everyone will get their turn to pilot the boat. If your crew likes fishing more than snorkeling or vice versa the Captain will try to cater to those wishes.
The program is not a pleasure cruise, but a Scout Adventure and crews are expected to work aboard the vessel. Sleeping arrangements are cramped and limited below decks. Most crews sleep on deck weather permitting. Be advised that inclement weather means hot cramped quarters below decks. Not everyone will have a bunk (High Adventure). All our vessels carry a fishing license that will cover you during your week aboard. The Florida Sea Base supplies all the necessary rods, reels and tackle. This tackle can be used while trolling or at anchor in several locations.
Upon your return to Sea Base, you will return your snorkel gear, clean your boat, move into the dorms for the night and prepare for the evening luau, patch presentation and reflection. Some crews like to bring Hawaiian type shirts for this...we may do the limbo and island type games before a seafood meal. After the meal each crew will do a skit.
Swim Test and Review: The Florida Sea Base is the premier aquatic High Adventure facility of the BSA. You MUST PASS the standard BSA swim test prior to you arrival. If you cannot pass this test without problems, this probably is not the right adventure for you. Upon arrival at Sea Base, you will participate in a swim review to assess your swimming skills. The heat and physical activities can tire you out fast, so arrive at the Sea Base in good physical condition.
Packing your Gear: All your gear (except sleeping pad) must fit in a 24” duffel bag (issued at check-in). No suitcases or frame backpacks can be used. You will be living on a sailing vessel during the entire adventure. Space is limited so you must only bring what you need.
**REMEMBER. Keep this in mind and travel light!