SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

An opening has been cut in the sand bar at the Santa Barbara harbor entrance after four days of work.

That's cleared the way for larger boats to go in and out.  Since March 1, when a powerful storm hit the area, the harbor entrance has been clogged with sand.  Only small boats were able to go through the area, mainly at high tide.

The dredge has created an opening about 50-feet wide and eight feet deep.  It's getting wider and deeper with each hour of work.

Many fishing and whale watching boats were stuck at their docks when the sand bar clogged the entrance.  Many owners lost thousands of dollars.

A cruise ship is scheduled to drop anchor outside of Stearns Wharf Thursday with guests coming ashore in small boats to see the city.    The last scheduled cruise ship, earlier in the month, was cancelled when the city could not guarantee passengers a way to the shore because of the sand issue.

The dredge actually relocates the sand from the harbor, through a pipe, down to an area east of the wharf.  From there, beaches down the coast will see the sand replenished, especially in areas that were stripped clean during the storms.