We arrived in Santa Barbara in the early afternoon. We were really excited to be there. The water temperature had been warming dramatically since we rounded Point Conception and we were looking forward to doing some swimming. We planned to tie up in Santa Barbara and take a couple of days to explore the town and the beach.
The Santa Barbara harbor is fairly easy to enter. There is no bar and has pretty decent depth throughout (I never saw anything less than 14'). I called the harbormaster when we were about an hour out to get a slip assignment for Rapture and Abby Normal. The harbormaster told me that a large group of 40' boats had just come in and they weren't sure they would have anything for us. Not good.. but he did say they were doing an inventory and I could call back in an hour. We both needed fuel anyway so we headed for the harbor.
Santa Barbara is a very busy harbor. It has a long narrow channel that is full of boats, kayaks, paddle boards, swimmers, etc... It was a nice sunny weekend day so it was really busy.. actually "crazy" would be a better term. Abby Normal and Rapture both came upon different boats under sail in the channel. The difficult part was they were both trying to go upwind so they were tacking back and forth across the channel. So you had to stop, wait for the exact moment, then hit the power and hope you make it through before they tack back and hit you. Brad and I both felt that they were very inappropriate and created a very unsafe situation.
Rapture was first in and tied up to the fuel dock. While I was fueling the boat Jan called the harbormaster again. Happily they had found a birth for both Rapture and Abby Normal. But they wouldn't tell her our slip assignment - he said we had to tie up to the dock in front of the office and check in first. Okay, that is a bit odd, but whatever makes their boat float (tee hee).
We tied up to their dock and I headed up to the office. That is when the sour taste in my mouth started to grow. I had to read, sign, and initial the rules first. As I was reading their rules I started feeling like I should call a lawyer. My gosh, we are just visiting for a couple of days. I am not asking your daughter to marry me. Check out time is NOON (yes, in all caps and written over and over) and if you are 1 minute late leaving your slip you will have to pay for the next day plus a 30% penalty for late payment. And if you leave and don't pay you will be assessed double plus the penalty and they will hunt you down like a dog (put a lien on your boat, etc...). If you plan to stay another night you must pay before 11:00AM or you will be considered to be paying late (if paid before NOON) and once again assessed a penalty. If you come in and tie up in any slip other than at the office dock (which is normal at every marina I have ever visited) you will be assessed a fine in addition to your nightly slip fee. And on, and on, and on... then, before they will allow you to leave the office dock they send a cop down to flush a dye tab into your holding tank so they can see if you dump your tank while in the harbor. On top of all of the draconian rules the nightly fee is the highest I have EVER paid anywhere. This made the decision for us - GOODBYE and GOOD RIDDANCE to Santa Barbara.
We were really disappointed because we really wanted to spend a couple of days exploring the town. But there are other places to explore and I refuse to patronize people like that. So we had dinner, went to bed, and left first thing in the morning. And as you leave they take one last shot at you - you have to call them and checkout when you leave your slip or they will asses you... yeah, you guessed it - a fine!
We took some pictures, but I am so disgusted with the place that they will just stay on the camera. Off to Paradise Cove.