We decided that a good way to spend our first full day in Santa Barbara would be to get a lay of the land. We started out with breakfast at the Shoreline Cafe which is conveniently located right here in the marina/harbor complex. During breakfast we talked about how we were going to attack the day.
We asked the Harbor Patrol office where the nearest laundromat might be. Apparently there’s one that’s operated by the marina but, the marina being as big as it is, the facility is way the heck over on the other side from where we’re at. Far enough that it’d be uncomfortable to just carry the bag of dirty clothes. We’ll need to use either our backpacks or our fold-up dock cart. And now, get this: the marina, in their apparent quest for more money, runs the facility like this: You need your access card to get in the laundry door. And, by the way, the access card is purchased in addition to your berthing costs. And, unless you plan to stay on your boat and not even use a bathroom, you kind of have to buy one as they get you in to the showers, the bathrooms and the gate at the end of your dock. A lot of marinas have charged us a refundable deposit for the bathroom key but this is the first place we’ve had to buy one. Granted, it’s only $7 but still.
So anyway, you need your $7 access card to get in to the laundromat. Then you have to buy another $5 card to use the machines. The machines don’t have coin slots, just a slot for the card. So, you put your $5 card into another machine in which you also insert your credit/debit card. Then you add money from your debit card to the $5 access card which you then slide into the washing machine or dryer to pay for your time. What a racket!
So, after finding the laundromat, we boarded the $0.25 trolly (we’ll be sure to ride this bargain bus enough to help offset the sting of the cards) and headed out to see where it goes. As it turns out, there are 2 trolleys. One goes from the marina, along the beach, to the zoo. The other goes from Stearn’s Wharf straight up State St. (the main drag) and back. You can get a transfer between the buses. We rode both. Had great bus drivers for both runs. Very helpful when they found out we were from out-of-town. The one on the State St. run was even telling us about great places to eat. Like for instance, Thursday just happens to be Maine Lobster night at Enterprise Fish Company. You get a 2 pound Maine lobster with all the fixin’s for $29.00. Not bad since a 2 lb. lobster ought to feed both of us. But, we passed. The driver also told us about the local freebie paper. The latest edition, which came out today, had the results of Santa Barbara’s Best Of readers’ poll. We picked up a copy and now we know we have to go to Brophy Brothers (here at the marina) for the best clam chowder and Bloody Mary, to Rusty’s for the best pizza and to The Habit for the best burgers. There were about a jillion other “best of” categories but these are ones we’re likely to actually do.
After we got off the bus we started walking in search of a large grocery store (Safeway?), a Rite-Aid, and Trader Joe’s. We found the latter two but the grocery store was eluding us. Eluding us, that is, until we found a phone book and realized that, although there isn’t a Safeway, the California equivalent, Von’s, was about 30 blocks away. We decided to give that one a pass and, when we got back to the boat and looked at the stuff the Harbor Patrol gave us yesterday, found out there’s a Ralph’s only a block or so off the trolley route.
This may all seem terribly mundane, but this is kind of what cruising is. You get to a new town, you have to find your supplies because, even though you’re living on a boat, you still have to eat. Besides, it’s a good way to learn about the town. While we were walking we noted how pretty SB is
Just east of the entrance to the harbor is Stearn’s Wharf. It’s quite old and, although ships used to tie up to it, now it’s restaurants and gift shops. If you choose to not stay in the marina, you can anchor east of the Wharf.
After Stearn’s Wharf, we walked back to the marina for a visit to the Maritime Museum. Today just happened to be free admission day. The museum was pretty cool although I wasn’t really in the mood to read all the cards in all the displays. Lulu said that this should be the Diving Helmet Museum. You never saw so many different diving helmets in one place. I’ll bet there were at least 20 of them, all different.
Finally got back to the boat in the late afternoon and settled in for the night. I suspect that tomorrow will be laundry and shopping day now that we know where stuff is.
Oh yeah, I also installed a new foot pump in the galley. I wrote in a previous blog about the old one crapping out on us and then leaking to boot. Well, whenever the boat was heeled over so that the water tank was above the pump, guess what. Yep, water on the deck. As luck would have it, there’s a West Marine Express right at the head of the dock, just downstairs from the Harbor Patrol office. They didn’t have the pump in stock yesterday when I checked but they got it in for me by this morning. Pretty convenient.