Santa Barbara is is always a welcome site for sailors coming down the coast. As the first port after Point Conception the vessel and crew are usually in need of a break and the Santa Barbara harbor is a fantastic retreat.
We traveled non-stop from Monterey so we would remain underway for 2 nights to make sure we were ready for the race down Baja to come. We had very little wind and the sea was like a lake by the time we arrived at Point Conception. This is Very unusual.
As we neared Morro Bay the Coast Guard was warning of an oil Spill at platform Irene and asked affected traffic to respond. We called and they told us we would need to alter course several miles outside of the platform and remain 10 miles off shore until we passed Point Conception. As we neared the platform the next morning we could only see a couple of hundred yards because of fog and we were nervous. Suddenly a group of dolphin came swimming from both sides of the boat and began to play in our bow wave. They stayed for 15 minutes and we got several pictures and it made us feel much better. The fog soon cleared and we could see the oil platforms and shipping traffic and we new we were home free.
For some reason I just didn't take any pictures of Santa Barbara and this was an unfortunate oversight. It is a beautiful city and deserves a visit. If you are coming by boat they have great facilities though they can often be full. Their Harbor Master office is very well equipped and they are very helpful. As we were leaving the Harbor Master boats responded to a vessel on fire in the Santa Barbara Channel 10 miles from the harbor and they were the first official rescue boat on scene. Few harbors in the US would provide this kind of service anymore. The city offers a 25 cent shuttle for tourists which picks up near the harbor so transportation is cheap. The Saturday Farmers Market is walking distance from the harbor and is great for provisioning fresh vegetables and The fishing fleet sells off of their boats early Saturday morning so shrimp and lobster are inexpensive and very fresh.