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bluestationwagon

Seabase - Big Munson Island

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Our troop is putting together a high adventure trip to Seabase. We have sent groups twice before, on the Tall Ship program where you go way out, and live on the boat.

 

This time, however, we have three scouts who are not keen on deep ocean waters. They are more interested in the Out Island program, where you take canoes to Big Munson Island and stay there for a week.

 

One of our adults heard, from someone who did this program, that it was boring and that you ran out of stuff to do quickly. That's only one data point, and not enough to go on. Can anyone in Scouter Network confirm this or tell me otherwise? Thanks in advance for your help.

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We just returned from Sea Base. We did the Keys Adventure and only spent one night on Munson. The night was heaven and was probably the highlight of the trip. The day was not (due to the strong sun and high temps). A few tips that may be helpful.

 

I would suggest visiting with other crews returning from Munson and your crew mate on the night before you ship out. They can probably be invaluable in terms of activities that are fun and perhaps those that are not.

 

I would recommend catching as much fish as you can as that's better than most of the food you will be provided with. You might also take some extra snacks from the dining hall at Sea Base or the ship's store before you ship out. I'd also recommend bringing some individual sports drink mix as the Gatorade they give you goes quickly and drinking warm water gets old real quick. I'd also recommend loading up on the cold water whenever the activity boats come to pick you up.

 

They do come out there and get you to do activities like snorkeling, deep sea fishing, etc. As someone on this board once told me, there's no such thing as a bad trip to Sea Base.

 

Have fun !

 

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bluestationwagon

 

Munson is what you or your crew make of it (as long as weather cooperates). And having a good mate (councelor) goes a long way also...like having one demonstrating "shark fishing" with his bare hands....

You have a day of "Deep Sea fishing", paddling the mangroves, snorkling day light and night time ops and if you luck out and are their during lobster "season" your crew can snorkle for lobsters and really suppliment your meals!

We do both keys and Munson depending on what the boys want and only one year did I hear conplaints. We sent two crews (back to back) to Munson one year...one crew had a blast -did everything; competed and "won" at every they did ( first crew to reach the island, camp site decoration, friendly pranks with other crews, fishing, lobster catching etc) and one crew was always "too tired" to do this or didn't "want" to snorkle at night or was just going to chill...guess which one complained?

 

Both of my sons did munson and the keys and loved both for different reasons...(youngest thought it was cool (at munson) not to be able to "wash up" really well for nearly a week! and getting to wash dishes in "dirty" sea water-go figure)

 

Of course the first thing they "bragged to mom about (to her lasting embarrassment) was starting nearly last in the paddle for the island and getting out in front of the whole fleet, (but especially in front troop that had treated them with a "bit of distain" at sea base camp)...turning all boats sideways and the whole crew "mooning" their "adversaries" (I know not a very "scout like" thing to do but it seemed to set the tone for a grand week...at least according to the SM (I was not there) but they won the scout spirit award...and nearly everything else that year....food wise they had too much to eat! Camp food and mahi mahi, lobster, smaller fish and snook...

 

If your crews heads are screwed on right they will have fun!

Drink lots of fluid if it is hot...dehydration really sneeks up on some boys!

Anarchist

 

 

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We have two crews going down during the same week. One to Munson the other on Sea Exploring. Is there any chance of our crews joining up when the ship is in the area? Did anyone snorkel on Looe Key?

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I think all the Brinton crews snorkel at Looe Key. Our Keys Adventure group did and we picked up an Out Island crew that day at Munson and took them with us. Very nice area for snorkeling.

 

We also had a Coral Reef crew that went out of the base at Islamorada and they stopped at Looe on their way to Key West as well.

 

We had hoped to coordinate it so that our crews could meet in Key West on the same day, but the staff was not able to accommodate us on that.

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I think all the Brinton crews snorkel at Looe Key. Our Keys Adventure group did and we picked up an Out Island crew that day at Munson and took them with us. Very nice area for snorkeling.

 

We also had a Coral Reef crew that went out of the base at Islamorada and they stopped at Looe on their way to Key West as well.

 

We had hoped to coordinate it so that our crews could meet in Key West on the same day, but the staff was not able to accommodate us on that.

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My son's troop just got back from the Out Island adventure. I was the only mom (3 crews of 18) participating. We had a great time and had terrific weather. Many more "roses" than "thorns". We were never bored - plenty of activities to keep everyone busy, yet not so that we felt too tired to participate. The no-see-um bugs really liked me, though - the best remedy was to keep the skin covered with very light weight long sleeves and long pants and just deal with a little sweat. It was very hot, too - daytime was OK because we either had water to swim in or a breeze from the moving boat. Think it never dropped below 84F at night - Luckily many of our crew brought hammocks (with built-in bug netting) for sleeping - some tent-sleepers got heat rashes. We asked Seabase to add hammocks to their list of optional items! Favorite activities were the deep sea fishing and snorkeling on Looe Key. Not much to see at night snorkel, but an adventure to do at least once. Make sure you work on those arm muscles to get in and out of the war-canoes. Oh, and for those that wonder, the CTS (Composting Toilet Systems) are quite acceptable for taking care of business!

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If you are going to spend the money to go to the seabase and not going out on a boat/ship then you are probably better off going Philmont or Northern Tier. We stayed on Munson one day and that really was enough, we had fun but a week would be too much. Being on the open ocean is what the seabase really is all about. Our crew has been there twice now, Philmont once and Northern Tier once, and when it comes to their favorite hands down the seabase wins.

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Now that I've been to SeaBase and back, I've got the answers to my questions. It turned out that we were scheduled for the Keys Adventure (not the week-long Munson one), and we had a terrific time.

I understand better that there's no set schedule of activities, because the staff have to consider weather and ship availability each day. Our week (day by day)ran like this: arrive, swim check, history and nature lessons; snorkeling and kayak instruction and visit to Key West; sailing and snorkeling on Munson Rocks; fishing and camping on Munson; kayaking in mangroves, exploring, and returning to base; snorkeling Looe Key, relaxing at Bahai Honda state park, and luau at Brinton; returned home.

Lots of great memories. The yellow-tail snappers we caught and ate for supper on Munson were one of the best meals I've ever had. The SeaBase staff were very helpful and their enjoyment was contagious.

Things I would have changed if I had known: Two towels are suggested; I brought a bath towel and a larger beach towel. Should have just brought two bath towels. The Skin-So-Soft for dealing with the biting bugs on Munson is a livesaver and not to be neglected for any reason. Besides swimming, I practiced getting myself out of the water on the side of the pool many times. However, the smooth plastic dock that SeaBase uses is about four to five inches taller than the side of the pool, and much more slippery. It was tough to do, until one of our scouts showed me the trick of submerging first, and then launching yourself up out of the water.

The fellows are already talking about going back again. It was great. My thanks to everyone for their advice and encouragement.

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