From July 11-16, eight scouts and four adults from Troop 97 embarked on a 12-hour car trip to Florida Sea Base on Islamorada in the Florida Keys, bound to spend a week on a boat, scuba diving and enjoying the ocean. We arrived two days early, staying at the Seafarer Resort on Key Largo. Our crew enjoyed swimming, kayaking, and late-night trips to Denny’s while in Key Largo.

When we arrived at Sea Base Headquarters on Islamorada, we were given a briefing and tour of the campus, then shown to our dorms. We were given free time, where we played cards and walked around the grounds. The next morning, we prepared our food, ice, and luggage, and were taken to Port Largo where we met our ships and their crew. One crew of Gus Hontzas, Matthew Corsini, Will Hardin and myself boarded Misty, Led by Captain Steve and Eggs, our divemaster. The other crew of Daniel Boackle, Walker Mitchell, Garrett Owen and Jonathan Parris boarded the Sea Eagle with Captain Brenda and Divemaster Angeline.

The first day on the boats saw its challenges, with life on a boat a hard adjustment for some scouts and that night saw a brutal storm roll through. Sea Eagle chose to return to port for the first night, while our boat elected to stay at anchorage and bare the storm. Aside from the storm, the first day was filled with enjoyable scuba diving and time with friends.

The rest of the week went by smoothly, with beautiful skies and calm seas. We were given the opportunity to dive on the Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. A highlight of the week was returning to Port Largo for midweek, where we wandered around Port Largo and Key Largo itself for a day. As far as diving goes, the week was packed with rare sightings of eagle rays, sharks, moray eels, sea turtles and various beautiful fish.

In conclusion, my trip to Sea Base was one of amazing diving and amazing times with friends.

Patrick Harris