Visiting Santa Barbara for the weekend

Good morning – it’s Saturday and Beetle is riding at anchor set in the sandy bottom outside the shore breakes to the east of Stearns Wharf. It’s foggy, the wharf looms out of the fog a bit then recedes.

The big news for the weekend is Mac’s sailboat Pole Dancer is also here at anchor just inshore of Beetle. Mac and Roger and Risa and Mike have been beavering away getting the boat ready to go, and here they are – much fun!

The intrepid crew of Pole Dancer caught mid-final-organize at their slip next to Beetle. That’s Roger, Chriscraft Mike, Risa, and Mac.

We got off to a late start, clearing the Channel Islands Harbor breakwater at noon and three hours after Pole Dancer had departed. The weather forecast called for 17-19 knots breeze coming down the Santa Barbara Channel in the afternoon, and if that much breeze appeared from directly in front it would make the 27 mile run west not so much fun. Conveniently we were far enough to the north side of the channel that the motor along under clear skies, warm sun, and fairly flat water was most pleasant.

Pole Dancer took advantage of the morning calm to get a good jump up the coast. They elected to take the scenic route along the coast while Beetle ran straight line, and I was surprised when we caught up with them on the approach to Stearns Wharf – fun to get a picture of them moving along! The Stearns Wharf dates from 1872, appears to have been originally constructed to create a commercial landing beyond the surf line, as otherwise goods and people were brought ashore through the kelp and surf. It’s a substantial structure, particularly when you’re anchored close to it.

We caught up with Pole Dancer around Carpinteria. Roger is looking particularly dapper with his white sailor’s cap and blue T-shirt, as if he had appeared directly from a Cracker Jack box.

I have been to the Santa Barbara Harbor before, it’s a municipal harbor and a “harbor of safe refuge” – my understanding is this means the US Army Corps of Engineers maintains the breakwater and keeps the entry channel dredged to keep the harbor always available. I have not, however, been to the anchorage set up outside the marina’s breakwater and to the east of Stearns Wharf. I was curious to see what we’d find. Turns out there are a lot of boats on the hook, some even have moorings, at least in the summer months. Some boats are in good shape, a few look as though they’ve received little maintenance, and oddly to me many boats are using anchor balls – I suspect this is to keep other boats a bit further away. This is not supposed to be a safe place to hang out during the winter months, as the anchorage is completely exposed to the south.

It’s a lengthy dinghy ride in to the harbor, there’s a low rolly swell plus the reflection off the beach, so definitely not the calmest of places but after a month in Taiohae Bay most things come off as fairly flat. Kristen was a little seasick, the cats did ok though they are off their feed a bit, otherwise all is good on board. Mac pulled up slightly astern and set his hook, Kristen and I launched our dinghy and went over for a visit and sundowners. Also learned about the internet meme The Honey Badger – very strange the things one learns.

Plan for the day is to relaxe, Kristen wants to go ashore and explore Santa Barbara, and later on today invite the residents of Dancer over to Beetle for sundowners. I expect the sun will burn through the morning overcast and provide nice sun for later.

Enjoy the day!

– rob/beetle

One response to “Visiting Santa Barbara for the weekend

  1. Sounds like you and Kristen are having a great time. Enjoy

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