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~  Pierheads's ~
Goleta Pier Log

PFIC Get-Together, Goleta Pier,  July 2003.  Photo credit:  Rich Reano, webmaster,
Volunteer Time:
2006 (total):  103 days, 169 hours
2007 (total):  238 days, 425.75 hours

December 3rd, 2007: 

Sometimes the best birthday gifts are totally unexpected!

December 4th, 2007:

The Weather Underground site reported today that "a large W to NW swell continues to build down the California coast from an earlier Pacific storm. This large swell will affect all of the coastal waters... beginning today and will last through Thursday morning...peaking tonight and Wednesday morning."

This is how the waves looked at sunset tonight when the tide was only three feet high with maybe 6 feet of swell. Tomorrow at 6:30 am the tide will be 5.5 feet and the forecasted swell will be between eleven and fourteen feet high. The combination could bring the the water level even with the pier decking. 

There is a real possibility that the pier will be swamped making for an extremely dangerous situation. I spoke with the Park Operations Manager, Richard Lindley, this afternoon and requested that the pier be closed for the duration of this event. 

Already the pier has suffered some minor damage when a small pleasure craft broke free from its moorings near the Campus earlier in the afternoon and smashed into the pier at the second fishing ell. 

I had brought the situation to the attention of the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs and Fire Department in the hopes that the impending crash could be averted but to no avail. The only response was to transfer my call to the the Coast Guard which is stationed much too far away to have been able to respond.

Fortunately the boat broke into pieces on the first impact and the flotsom floated through the pier without further damage. 

Had it been a larger boat like some of the sailboats moored in the bay the damage would have been considerable. Santa Barbara regulates its 'free anchorage' (see EAST BEACH ANCHORAGE) ... the County or whatever agency has jurisdiction should do likewise at Goleta.

December 5th, 2007:


Got out to the pier around 5am and found both the pier and the entrance to the park barracaded with the Rangers and a County crew hard at work cleaning up the mess. 

The overnight swell and tide left the west parking lot and the pier patio covered in beach wrack including some fair size timbers that beached before damaging the pier.

In the East lot there was a boogie board propped up against a sign.  Another spectator told me that several young men were attempting to surf the swell yesterday evening.

One surfer was so exhausted by his ordeal that he climbed out on the ladder near the crane ... reportedly he was almost unable to make the climb.

Later the Ranger told me that he had also found a pair of surf booties as well. If the person who lost them is still with us the board and booties can be claimed at the Park office.

*** Please be careful out there today! ***

December 11th, 2007:

Been watching the vultures gather over the past few days on the bluff above the East beach and finally located the object of their interest ... it appears to be a decaying carcass of a large marine mammal carried to the far side of the slough by the recent high tides and swell. 

Perhaps it is the remains of the large sperm whale that beached and was buried on the beach at the west end of the park last April. At the time there was concern that, due to lack of sufficient sand depth, the burial was too shallow and the whale would resurface.

So far the massed gulls appear to be reluctant to share this newly discovered food resource. Perhaps it will keep them out of the frequently unsecured dumpsters in the area for the time being. But it certainly hasn't resulted in a decrease in guano on the pier ... after 8.5 hours of intense scrubbing this week the pier is finally back in presentable shape. 

December 12th, 2007:

In the end ... the vultures win.

The vultures descended en masse today like an avian memento mori ... for the most part the gulls moved to the side demonstrating, once again, that he who has the largest wings gets to claim the prize.

I know, this is a kind of eerie and morbid post, but vultures do that to me. In the air they are majestic like the condors but on the ground there is just something creepy about them.

Not that I have any real fondness for the local gulls ... [grin].

December 18th, 2007:

I'll be home for Christmas!

I'm dreamin' tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

It has been "a long road back" for the gentleman (and my good friend) pictured above but this year he truly will be 'home for Christmas' ...  after years of living in his van due to increasing medical problems resulting in loss of employment and housing. 

Last April he was referred to the City's Safe Parking Program where the Program Director (and Local Hero), Shaw Talley, was able to qualify him for a spot in the new low income Senior Housing complex at Villa Caridad.

Several of his friends from Goleta Beach helped him move in today and tonight I was his guest as he prepared his favorite dinner of steak and baked potatoes. 

Safe, warm and able to entertain friends on the holidays ... isn't that what we all want?

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Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved