The Keys to High Adventure
By Bill Sloan
The Florida National High Adventure Sea Base offers fun and excitement for Venturers and older Scouts.
Winter is on its way, but Scouters can let their warm-weather imagination run free for a moment. For example, picture your Boy Scouts or Venturers kayaking along the shore of their own tropical island, snorkeling or SCUBA diving among miles of coral reefs and exotic fish, or traveling aboard a sleek sailing vessel across the blue waters of the Florida Keys.
These scenes can become reality, and sooner than you think. In fact, now is the best time to plan an unforgettable week for next spring or summer at the BSA's Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, with two locations in the Florida Keys and an additional site in the Bahamas.
In fact, last-minute openings still may be available for the winter break period this December and early next January.
"Depending on availability, we can take reservations as little as a week or two in advance," says Paul Beal, Sea Base general manager. "If a troop or crew is good at putting trips together on short notice, this means they might even celebrate part of this holiday season with us."
If that's not possible, there is still plenty of time to schedule one of the Sea Base's available adventure programs for next summer or even during spring break.
"Our 2007 spring season in the Keys starts Feb. 16 and runs through April 29," Beal notes, "so it's really just around the corner."
Scouts or Venturers with strong camping skills and a fondness for challenge will enjoy the Sea Base's Out Island Adventure. It features primitive camping, rugged kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, and exploring the wilderness environment of Big Munson Island. [It's a setting reminiscent of TV's "Survivor" series.]
Participants travel in ocean kayaks from the Sea Base's Brinton Environment Center to Big Munson Island, where 100-plus acres of hardwoods, mangroves, rare animals, and natural beauty remain much as it was in the early 1800's, when pirates sought refuge there.
"You wade your gear and supplies ashore and set up camp from scratch," says Beal, "and don't be surprised if some of the rare, endangered Key deer and Key Vaca raccoons that make their home on the island stroll through your campsite while you're getting settled."
During a week on Big Munson, campers have ample opportunities to enjoy some of the finest snorkeling in North America at Looe Key, fish from powerboats for grouper and barracuda, and explore both the island and the underwater wilderness around it.
A sampling of other programs:
The typical group for a Sea Base adventure is six youth and two adults. Youth must be at least 14 years of age by Sept. 1, 2007. (SCUBA participants must be at least 14 by the time of their adventure.) Cost of most programs ranges from $620 to $720 per person.
Visit the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base Web site, www.bsaseabase.org, for more program details, to make reservations for available 2006 and 2007 adventures, and (between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, 2007) to register for the lottery for 2008 adventures.
Contributing editor Bill Sloan writes from Dallas, Texas.
Copyright © 2006 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.