From the initial greeting to the last goodbye, Santa Barbara proved to be a positively pleasant pit-stop. Whilst leaving Coho anchorage last Sunday we really didn't have a definitive reservation for refuge. The hoard of harbors in southern Cal is really the antipodean of central Cali and its long stretches of treacherously empty coast line. So, as we were sailing south, deeper into California's bight, our chance to seek sanctuary was aplenty. Among them... Santa Barbara. Now, if you take a look at the picture to the left (Elliot, Ren and 35 Million), words like "exclusive" might come to mind. The thought occurred to us but by late morning we hailed Santa Barbara on the marine radio anyway. The harbor politely asked us to call back at 1:30 pm since that was the "late" check-out time for guest berthing. Erika called back by 1:30 and five minutes later we were booking a coveted slip in the "American Riviera" marina.
Mason is feeling very angst regarding our nomadic lifestyle. He is only looking forward to more time in one marina and therefore isn't getting off Steadfast much. Pictured right: Mason "relaxes" for a few minutes on the beach in front of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club/ Leadbetter Beach. Dad, on the other hand, is feeling angst about not "getting out" and seeing enough of the sights. Kind of a conflict of interests at the moment wouldn't ya say? The last day in Santa Barbara I enjoyed a stroll down State Street, downtown Santa Barbara, with everyone. Though not closed off to car traffic, State St. is a shopping/eating destination for tourists, "trendy" locals, and university students alike. Not quite Mason's scene. Personally, I could have stood more time hunting down museums and historical sites.
As Steadfast slumbered in Santa Barbara a large mass of cold air began building amid the high elevations of Nevada's Great Basin. With a low pressure system located in southern California, the mass of air to the north was predicted to hurry our way by the end of the week. These winds, known as the Santa Ana's, were going to rush through Southern Cal's canyons and out to sea Thursday and not abate until Saturday afternoon. If you look at the picture to the left, Santa Barbara is located right above the strong winds indicated by the red color. Ventura/Oxnard, our next destination, is located right in the middle of that red mass. We planned to leave Santa Barbara Saturday morning but decided to put off until Sunday morning. The staff in the Santa Barbara harbor office didn't flinch an inch when we requested an additional days stay...kudos for their professional hospitality. Along with the marina's moderate slip fees (0.90/ft), convenient bathrooms and laundry facilities, West Marine, convenience store, restaurants and a maritime museum just outside the gate, we would no doubt, look forward to another visit. Hasta la próxima vez!
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA certified sailing instructor.