Mars Boy Scouts Experience Scuba Adventure
Written by:
Dave Wasil
June 28, 2012
Islamorada, Florida Keys
Click for larger picture
Troop 400 takes a few minutes to proudly display their troop and Pittsburgh colors, thirty feet below the ocean surface.
Reed McDonough
Islamorada, Florida Keys

On June 5th, 13 local scouts and their leaders from Boy Scout Troop 400 in Mars left Pittsburgh for seven days of high adventure SCUBA at Sea Base in the Florida Keys. The Sea Base camp, located on Islamorada Key, provides aquatic challenges in diving, deep sea fishing, and sailing to Boy Scouts from all over the world.

The Mars troop started planning for the trip over a year ago. The process began in the Spring of 2011 with SCUBA certification instruction at local swimming pools. After 4 weeks of classroom and pool time, 4 open-water lake dives were performed to obtain certification. An option to complete merit badge requirements was also offered, and Ryan Wasil became the first Troop 400 scout to receive this badge and the youngest scout in the Mars Sea Base group.

Sea Base adventures are a highly popular scout experience and attendance is determined using a lottery system. Last summer Troop 400 confirmed their reservation, and extensive planning, fund raising, and preparations began. One assistant scout leader, Greg Waslo, missed his graduation ceremony from Mars High School in order to attend Sea Base. He stated that this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity that he did not want to miss.

Senior patrol leader Reed McDonough led the Troop 400 crew. Over the course of a week his team completed 11 dives, including one dive to 50 feet. The scouts observed many types of marine life, including Nurse Sharks, Eagle Rays, Sea Turtles, Barracuda, Moray Eels, Lobsters, and many exotic fish and coral. A highlight of the trip was a night dive, when nocturnal fish and marine behaviors can be observed directly. This is a rare diving experience, safely facilitated by the Sea Base organization.

Other Boy Scouts attending included James Betts, Drew Schultheis, Alex Mallin, Logan Gavala, and Kevin Weigle. Matt Mallin, the Scout Master for Troop 400, was assisted by several other adult leaders. Matt summarized the experience best by stating it was an “epic mountain top experience that ironically occurred under the ocean”.

For more information about Troop 400’s dive, visit our facebook page: Mars-PA-Troop-400.