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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 10:32 pm | Fair 41º


Captain’s Log: Viva la Fiesta, or an Excuse to Escape?

For those seeking a break from the bustle, the Santa Barbara Channel is a source of solace

Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta is a hoot and a holler — a spectacle to be seen and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. There is something for nearly everyone to enjoy, with options including a rodeo, a parade, food booths and special Fiesta menus at restaurants, dancing, plays and people-watching — because folks dress up extra special for the occasion. I always recommend a little Fiesta activity.

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

But there is another perspective — a need to escape the bustle and find solace in wide open spaces.

Plenty of opportunities exist with Los Padres National Forest on one side of town and the Santa Barbara Channel on the other.

The mountain roads, campgrounds and trails get a touch crowded in August, however. Seaward lies solace. Seaward lies adventure. Seaward lies escape from the bustle.

While crowds swell and surge along Santa Barbara’s popular thoroughfares and Fiesta locales, boats leave the harbor, spread out and find plenty of special things to do. Blue whales are abundant in the Channel in August, especially near Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands.

Along with them, seafarers often spot humpback whales and regularly celebrate a close association with dolphins that swim right up to the boat and ride the bow waves and stern wakes. Interactions with wild critters of the sea remind us that we share this world with other very special inhabitants, and that we need to treat the world and its critters with respect.

When the bustle becomes too great to bear, I head for the womb of the Channel Islands — Painted Cave.

It is a spiritual place (for me) where I can hide from the world and stand in awe of the grandeur of nature, all at once. It is on the north side (the side facing Santa Barbara) of Santa Cruz Island, a few miles from the west end (the right-most end of the island, when viewed from Santa Barbara). This entire section of the island is pretty enough to make you gape in awe, but the cave is the gem.

The photo accompanying this column is one I took from inside the cave entrance, looking out at the sea, sunlight and cavorting sea lions. Whether you’re outside peering into the world’s longest — or second-longest; there is some argument over that distinction — sea cave, or inside looking out at the world from the womb of the Channel Islands, the view is restorative, and you will go home with a sense of wellness and hope that you will return.

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

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