SANTA BABARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Landshark has been able to survive, even though the recent storm has taken a bite out of business for many operators in and around the harbor.
For nearly two weeks, a wall of sand has kept most large commercial and recreational boats inside at their docks. Only some of the smaller vessels or those that do not submerse themselves into the water much, can get through. Like the Landshark.
On the streets of Santa Barbara, it takes visitors on a city tour, that culminates with a dip into the Pacific Ocean, and a look around Stearns Wharf.
Even at low tide, the Landshark has been able to find a spot where it can slip through the wall of sand to finish its tour.
At times, the water level is so low, Captain Mike Shimer can see the sandy bottom and seaweed around his vessel. He uses a depth gauge and navigates through a set of buoys to get through the very narrow opening.
"The Harbor Patrol and the Coast Guard have done a good job of being out there to help us through and make sure people have enough depth to get through the harbor," said Shimer.
Leading the tour is Milo Wolf who has been explaining to guests what's happened to the Santa Barbara harbor entrance after the recent storm. The Landshark goes past the dredge which is expected to be operating soon, to cut a hole in the sandbar.
"When they built the harbor it actually interfered with that natural flow of sand. We've been having to deal with this ever since the harbor was built," said Wolf. And since the major storm on March 1, the inflow of sand has been more than boaters expected, and it's left many of them stuck at the docks.
Wolf says at times at the harbor entrance he can feel the Landshark hitting the sandy bottom, but it makes it through without getting snagged.Slideshow: Santa Barbara Landshark Stays Afloat Despite Sandbar Blockage