I established an above ground base. I made a stream for aesthetics, and I have a tree farm to the left of that base and a grassy area on the other side of the stream. I also died once in my original base because I fell down 6 blocks with 3 hearts. Oh well. I got my idea from viewtopic.php?f=35&t=64991&start=180#p1030002.
The first base/mining shaft (where the cobblestone is). It's like a 2x6 staircase down to bedrock and I started a branch mine then came back up with 6 diamonds so I just said eff it I'm set.
All my materials.
My next mining base. I'm going to do a 2 wide staircase down into the ocean.