Friday, May 25 , 2018, 6:35 pm | Fair and Breezy 64º


Captain’s Log: Waterfront a Hotspot for Fun and Sun

The Santa Barbara Harbor is a summer destination for sand and water adventures

It’s gratifying to see so many watercraft crowding the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor. It means people are enjoying our beautiful waterfront and finding fun aplenty. Water temps are up into the 60s (pretty nice for our area) and just right for mixing warm sunshine with refreshing dips.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

A truly magical spot is the end of the sandspit, accessible either by a walk along the length of the harbor breakwater, or by swimming, paddling, sailing or motoring across the harbor. This spot is sandy, with both shallow water and a drop-off into the dredged harbor channel.

Early mornings and late afternoons see fisherfolk taking advantage of standing within casting distance of both shallow water and a deep (about 30 feet) channel. During the middle of the day, our spot hosts kids of all ages (including us older kids with graying hair). Perhaps the most magical aspect of this prime spot is the waterfront views of beaches, Cabrillo Boulevard, hotels and eateries, Santa Barbara and our picture-perfect mountain backdrop.

Navigating the vessel traffic channel through the harbor can be tricky and even treacherous when a 100-yard stretch of water is filled with swimmers, boarders, float tubers, kayakers, jet skiers, sailors and power boaters. Even us salty professionals who operate year-round through the harbor entrance manage to smile at all the folks having fun. During much of the rest of the year we have the place almost to ourselves.

The funny part is watching people play the weather game. We often have overcast skies in the morning. It seems as though a thousand heads must be watching out their windows waiting for the blue skies to win the battle with the marine layer. When the blue prevails, people pile out of hotels, homes and cars to converge en masse on the waterfront. Then, whenever the marine layer reasserts itself, some people skitter back indoors while others tough it out, thanking themselves for remembering to bring a sweatshirt.

A typical day of sun and sand adventure begins with a hearty and leisurely breakfast at any one of our waterfront cafes or restaurants, followed by a little shopping for layered clothing, snacks and drinks. Next is a stop by the Sailing Center, Sea Landing or paddle sports shop to line up personal watercraft.

By then — hopefully — the blue skies will have won out over any morning overcast, and it is time to hit the water and sand. This is a great way to spend a day in Santa Barbara.

Reminder: When planning great ways to spend a day in Santa Barbara, remember to make your plans to attend the all-car show and silent auction, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. The charity fundraiser supports the mission and programs of Seafaring Opportunities For Those In Need (SOFTIN) Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing at-sea education, skill-building and self-esteem building adventures for disabled, impaired, victims of abuse, frail elderly and youths-at-risk. I serve as executive director of SOFTIN, and I could use your help.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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