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Tips for SeaBase: Out Island Adventure / Big Munson Island

Our Troop is heading for SeaBase in 2022!

We have no institutional memory of SeaBase: i.e., there are no families currently in the troop who were present the last time the troop went there.

We’re obviously reading the literature provided by SeaBase itself, and everyone is doing internet searches for the various threads/videos out there, but we’re particularly interested in hearing from groups that have been there recently and have tips to share.

  • The key question: What do you wish you had known/understood before going?

  • Which skills/practice do you think are most important to attempt before going? One forum said to do a lot of canoe/paddling practice, but that’s not necessarily practical/possible in large quantities

  • Any travel advice? e.g., any particular pros/cons to flying to Ft Lauderdale and doing a 3-hour drive vs. flying to KeyWest and doing a 1-hour drive? e.g., any particular van/rental recommendations?

  • Any particular notes/tips on gear beyond what is in the booklet? In these COVID years, we need to either bring our own snorkel gear or buy it from the Shop there. Any advice on which of those paths to follow? We were leaning towards buying in advance

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You will have so much fun. We went in March for Keys Adventure and it was fantastic. Have good shoes that really stay on your feet for Munson Island as the walk to shore is no joke. Its basically mud you shuffle through and even with the Munson Shuffle your feet sink and ill fitting shoes will come off. We ordered the snorkel masks from sea base and picked them up there. Also it made sure everyone had theirs and nothing was left at home. We also wore long sleeve spf shirts everyday. We got the sea base custom crew one and most everyone had another one so we could have a dry one after being in the water. Since we wore the long sleeve shirts we did not need as much sun screen. I got a giant 32 oz pump bottle and kept it in the water bottle pocket on my backpack. It fit well in the pocket and we all just used that as needed. As far as skills I would just make sure everyone is up to being active from sun up to sun down. There is some down time build in, but we kept busy the entire week. I was glad I had been swimming and walking regularly for the 3 months before we went so I had the stamina to keep up. Also make sure everyone has an open mind and will try all the activities.

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For Out Island Scouts have to learn to eat canned things they might not have tried - so having a Spam cooking competition before hand, or best dish to make with sardines - all fun campouts/meetings

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Katherine, this is super helpful. Let’s focus on shoes. The official packing list says to bring 3 types of shoes (which are all highly similar types of shoes):
(1) TEVA style sandals,
(1) good walking shoes (open-toed permitted)
(1) water shoes (need to be hard-soled and close-toed)

TEVAs and other open-toed shoes don’t sound like a good fit with the muck/mud you are describing. What type of shoes did you have?

Also, most of the ‘water shoes’ I’ve seen are flexible soles (e.g., Amazon.com | Easy USA Women's Wave Water Shoes - Black | Water Shoes ) … what type of ‘hard-soled’ water shoes were folks wearing? Something like these mesh ‘deck’ shoes … https://www.crocs.com/p/mens-swiftwater-mesh-deck-sandal/205289.html?cid=001

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That ladies water shoe is similar to what I had and it worked well. Some had the kind that are more open on the top with just a velcro strap similar to a mary jane and those got stuck in the muck and foot slipped out. Just make sure they fit well and don’t rub. My son rubbed a blister on his toe from his water shoes and it was a struggle to keep it from getting worse since we were in and out of the water all the time. You need a sole on the water shoe is the point not just the sock kind so stuff can not poke you when walking in the water. It does not have to be inflexible like wood. I took a pair of Keen Elle sandals and wore those pretty much the entire week and with socks if it was cold. The boys had Chaco sandals and wore socks with them if needed. I did have a pair of tennis shoes I wore for the day we walked around Key West and for travel days. So your sandals and walking shoe can be the same shoe and a water shoe for the walk to and from Munson. My crew had no idea what Spam was so we had to help them figure out what to do with it.

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I’ve been reading other/older forums on other sites, and folks are talking about the bugs (esp in July/August) and bringing mosquito nets. But the nets that the troop took to Camp last year would not fit into the itty-bitty space that everything needs to fit into so I’m wondering what sort of net/sleeping arrangements work best for summer.

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