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How to prepare for Sea Base?

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My son and 5 others from our troop will be off to Sea Base in Florida this June for the Island Adventure. We have all the lists of what to bring, but aren't quite sure how to physically prepare them for this adventure. Any suggestions? They have been swimming and working on conditioning however they haven't hit it real hard yet (only once or twice a month). We will be working on kyaking skills once the lakes are open again but may only have about a 6 week window of time for that.


Also, what is the one item you or your troop brought that was the most usefull? What do you wish you brought or left home?


We'd appreciate any input! Thanks!

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I've never been on a Sea Base expedition, but one thing I would suggest that would be fun in addition to good preparation is taking the US Sail/ARC sailing course. They teach kids and adults sailing techniques with hands on experience in small sailboats. Sailors will tell you that if you can sail a Sunfish or a Phantom, you can sail anything. :)

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If they're going on the island adventure (at the Brinton Center ) then they will not be sailing. As far as preparation - there's not much. As long as they can swim pretty good, they'll be fine. Everything is packed in a small wet bag, so you don't bring much, except a few pairs of pants and some t-shirts. They may want to bring a pirate flag or something to fly in their campsite.

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I have not done the out island adventure, but 10 or so years ago I did accompany a group for coral reef sailing. Still my favorite scout trip of all time.

Many of the programs feature snorkeling activities. I'd recommend earning the Snorkeling BSA award. Some training in salt water fishing technique might benefit your group as well.

Best wishes for a great trip.


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Thanks for the pirate flag idea! That would be cool and the boys can work on one together before they leave. They all are excited about doing some snorkeling and I'll make sure they have the information on earning the award. 5 of the boys are really into fishing and earned their fly fishing badge in WY this past summer. Living in Minnesota, they don't have the opportunity to do any salt water fishing but they did learn the salt water fishing knots a few years ago. We had a troop meeting tonight and they were all talking about the trip and counting down the weeks. All the travel arrangements have been made and tickets booked. It's really nice to see the excitement level!

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We took a crew to Seabase in 2004 for the Sea Exploring adventure, so we were on board ship pretty much all week. I don't remember exactly what the Island Adventure contains, so some of this may not apply.


First, do plenty of swimming before you get out there. You want to be really comfortable in the water. Swimming in the open ocean is different than working out in the pool (obviously). I guess I'm speaking mostly for the leaders because the kids generally swim like fish. However, remember that you'll have to pass the BSA swim test comfortably when you get there, so make sure everyone is ready for that.


Second, bring disposable underwater cameras.


Third, bring plenty of sun screen and use it liberally. We're from northern Illinois (got relatives in Minnesota, tho :)), and a couple of guys burned early on for not being serious about the sun screen.


I don't how much snorkeling is done on the Island Adventure, but my son and I got our own snorkeling gear; not sure how much it mattered but it was a little easier, maybe, because we got comfortable with our gear before we went.


Oh, yeah, Hawaiian shirts. There's a big luau kind of thing on the last day, and that's pretty typical wear.


Most crews seem to have their own "trip shirts" made up with the crew logo, etc. We had ours made up out of that "easy dry/non-stink" material, worked out pretty well.


You might consider heading out a day or two early and adding a side trip or two. We went to the Everglades for a day and took a ride out on the swamp boats. Very cool and a good deal of wildlife. (We flew into Miami from Chicago and drove south to Seabase.)

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My son and did the Out Island Adventure in 2003. Here are my suggestions:


1) Take a non-BSA t-shirt for the day trip to Key West, as required in the info from BSA Seabase. Unfortunately Scouts sometimes suffer harrassment in Key West.


2) Make sure every one is up to speed on swimming. We did not do swim tests until a few weeks before leaving ans we were surprised to learn that several Scouts that had already earned Swimming Merit Badge could not pass the test. I had to set up several sessions at my local swim club to work with these individuals to get them up to speed.


3) Flip-flops are considered OK at Seabase. A piece of duct tape between your sore big toe and its neighbor is called a Munson Island sock.


4) It is beastly hot and humid on Munson Island. People wind up crashing on the picnic tables, in hammocks, anywhere they can catch a breeze. A net mesh hammock is a great thing to have. I took one, but I never got to sleep in it. There was always a Scout asleep in it, day and night.


5) Fair warning, hydrate and apply sun screen constantly.


6) Get comfortable with the concept of walking through shark infested shallows at the beach. Adults, walk with a Scout, they prefer tender meat (just kidding). The sharks are all bonnet heads which are non-aggressive, and are mostly small. The new Atlanta Aquarium has bonnet heads that size in the touch tanks for kids to feel.


7) You will be paddeling double kayaks (two in a kayak) or 10-man outrigger canoes to and from the island. Some people have trouble with paddling or steering the kayaks. Suggest you put an experienced paddler in the rear (steering position) of each kayak, very important. If you get two inexperienced paddlers in a kayak, it will take all day for the group to get to the island while that boat pinwheels around the ocean.


8) Waterproof cameras are good, but you will take next to nothing to the island- it all has to fit into a small sry bag. You can lock up excess stuff you brought at the base. You spend 2 nights in the drom before leaving for the island and one inthe dorm upon return. I tok a mesh bag for my snorkling gear so it would not tak up all the room in my dry bag. I took a zippered fleece blanket rather than a sleeping bag, that is fine for the dorm and the island.


9) They have excellent quality snorkle gear available. If you are more comfortable with gear you already own, take it. If money is short, don't buy cheap gear to take along, use their gear.


10) The barracudas in the swim test area will not hurt you, they just look scary.


Have fun.

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Seabase is great!


Out Island is... as both my sons said AWESOME...but is getting old for the leaders(we have sent at least one crew for 5 of the last 6 years)


The yaks are not hard unless you have the misfortune of wind and tide working against you...the new War Canoes are wonderful and the boys seem to 'bond' more as a team...In the past we have seen some unit's adults need to be motored out to the Island but we have not had problems ourselves...If you can paddle into a wind on a lake for 7-10 miles you can handle the ocean (no sweat).


The food has been great but I understand this year they are going to change to dehydrated...(?)(thank god I'm not going)..Check your dates and see if you are there during "lobster season" -catching your own to add to your meal is really great! So is the Shark fishing and the "Deep Sea" trip...


If you have never snorkled, put in some time at the local indoor pool (if you have one getting used to it)...it takes some folks a while...and DO make a night dive on the reef if you have the opportunity.


Most of the junk you take down ends up staying at Base...you only get a little dry bag for gear.


Shoes...we have adopted...neoprene zip booties for the walk into the beach...the supply boats do not land and the grass and muck tends to suck off and "eat" water shoes and flip-flops...as you carry your water and food ashore...


Have some stomach meds (pepto)-over the years the sulfer smell of the rotting sea grass has put a few of the guys off their feed for a day or so. Sunscreen, lip balm (lots) and some aloe for sunburn....



and civies are the uniform for the day for Key West...totally correct.... some of the more flagrant folks there give scouts a hard time...just keep the boys out of the "clubs" and dives...if you can!







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Many Councils have been offering Crew Leader Training seminars on the national H.A. camps for adults , this time of year, to help answer questions and assist in the "gearing up "process. You might check w/ your district exec or R/T commisioner about offerings. I just attended a seminar Saturday on Seabase, a Scouter that had been there 5 times lead the discussion w/ some great input and recs. on travel options and pitfalls, gear, ideas, etc. The Coral Reef Sailing

(small group sailing. snorkeling, fishing, navigating, touring KeyWest) was a favorite .

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