Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara’s Biltmore Steps

The Biltmore Hotel has been a graceful landmark on the Santa Barbara coastline since 1927. Being one of the most premier hotels in all of Southern California, its elegance is not just owed to wonderful architecture and supreme customer service but also its incredible location. Looking out from the hotel you’ll enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara Channel and the silhouettes of the beautiful Northern Channel Islands. The views are spectacular across the thin sand beach where honeymooners often stroll at sunset.  The […]

Goleta Beach

A poor visibility dive need not necessarily be a bad dive. Goleta Beach is one example. Water clarity here is never above 10 feet and is often as little as 5. Even so, there is an exceptional amount of marine life to see, it is an easy beach entry, and beachside facilities are great. The underwater attraction here is the sewer outfall pipeline that parallels the pier. If you are concerned about health issues, the treated effluent is dumped about a mile offshore in 95 […]

Gaviota/Refugio Vista Point

There are not too many out-of-the-way places anymore. Practically all of the California coastline has been dived and explored underwater. But there are new areas to explore if one is willing to make the effort. Between Gaviota and Refugio State Parks in Santa Barbara Country is a lonely stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway of high bluffs, deserted beaches and thick kelp forests. Every time I drove down to Los Angeles I wanted to stop and dive here. But the trick was to bypass those […]

Oil Platform Grace

Northern Channel Islands Chamber Day (September 10) dawned clear and sunny. Those of us on the Vision enjoyed the smooth, short ride on a glassy ocean to Grace, only eight miles offshore. Erected in 1979 in 320 feet of water, Grace is a platform not a rig. She doesn’t drill, she pumps oil from Gail to a Venoco facility in Carpenteria. The Vision dived the platform a bit differently than other boats I’ve been on. Instead of approaching bow first, the boat backed up to […]

Gosford Wreck

In old movies, cartoons, and perhaps even in your fantasies, sunken ships are old wooden sailing ships lying upright on the bottom, perhaps with just a hole or two in the sides, bow standing out proudly, masts intact. It’s just ripe for exploration. But anybody who has been diving long enough will tell you that wrecks, especially wooden ones, are usually just rubble on the bottom. Off the coast of Santa Barbara County, just east of Point Conception, however, is an exception. While it is […]

Platform Holly

An oil platform offers something for every diver, whether sightseer, photographer, game hunter or techie. It’s also a special treat because the owner of a rig must grant permission to dive it, and that’s not given to just anyone every day. I look forward to Northern Channel Islands Chamber Day because the participating boats often dive a rig. I signed up for the Truth, which had Holly as its destination. The boat left Santa Barbara Harbor as the sun was rising on September 28 and […]

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