Retired SBCC Faculty Member Mike Von Alvensleben Inducted Into Commercial Diving Hall of Fame

Mike Von Alvensleben is the ninth individual from Santa Barbara to be inducted into the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame. (SBCC Marine Diving Technology Department photo)

Santa Barbara City College’s Marine Diving Technology Department has announced that retired faculty member Mike Von Alvensleben has been inducted into the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame at the recent Association of Diving Contractors annual convention in New Orleans, La.

A former commercial diver and member of the U.S. Navy UDT/SEAL Team 12, Von Alvensleben began training professional commercial divers at SBCC in 1983.

Upon his retirement, he established the Kirby Morgan Professional Dive Center in Santa Maria, which trains law enforcement and public safety dive teams.

Von Alvensleben joins nine other pioneering Santa Barbara divers into the prestigious Commercial Diving Hall of Fame. The trophy is currently on display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

SBCC Professor of Marine Technology Don Barthelmess said, “Mike is an outstanding diver, dedicated colleague and instructor. He created the molds that helped shape thousands of diver’s careers and made our industry and program safer.”

— Don Barthelmess is a professor in the SBCC Marine Diving Technology Department.

Dredger in the Fog

fog copy

There is a dredger in that fog. Fog is making it difficult to get some fishing in and so is the dredger. The SB harbor is now open for vessels with a shallow draft, but is still closed to those with a deeper draft. Dredging continues this week.

Lady Hamilton at SBMM


From left to right is Past Board President Ken Clements, current Board Member Elsbeth Kleen, Jimmy Young and Jeney Young (former owner of McConnell’s Ice Cream, and Greg Gorga, with a portrait of Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson. Retired British Navy Commander Alex Morrice gave a talk on Lady Hamilton at the SB Yacht Club recently.

Eat More Cake

Bundt cake

Eat Nothing Bundt Cake all day Friday, March 11 in Goleta.

SBMM will thank you!

She’s 160 years old today.

Lens exhibit

The Point Conception first order Fresnel lens has stood watch for nearly 160 years, guiding ships safely around the “Cape Horn of the Pacific.” The Point Conception lens was designed and built in Paris, France in 1854, using a refracted prism system designed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel. The lens was first lit on February 1, 1856. Because of persistent heavy fog at higher elevation, a second lighthouse was built on the lower bluff, and the lens was moved in June, 1882. While the lens saw many vessels meet their ultimate fate in this “graveyard” of the Central Coast, the light also saved and provided safe passage to thousands of vessels over the years.

Girls playing with mud, but that’s okay.


SBMM engages in their second year of marine science classes aboard Stardust, a 65′ local sport fishing vessel in the Santa Barbara Harbor. For two weeks, from January 25 to February 5, about 400 children from elementary schools and after school programs participate, many of whom have never been on a boat or out on the ocean. They venture out on the vessel to view dolphins and seals, and troll for fish. Back at dockside, they separate the fish from kelp, play with mud samplings and examine plankton under a microscope. Their teachers have noted these experiences are life changing for the students. This year the program is hosted by SBMM at no cost through the generous support of our donors, local foundations, and our members. For more information contact Emily Falke, Director of Education at or 805 962-8404 ext. 111

Tattoo & Scrimshaw Opening Reception

tat show

Roger Chrisman was one of over 225 people enjoying our Tattoo & Scrimshaw Art Opening Reception last night. Exhibit is on display until August 31, 2016, so now you can learn about the history of tattoos, along with our other exhibits on the history of our Channel.

Diver gets Tattoo


World famous commercial diver Bob Kirby getting a MOM tattoo at SBMMs new Tattoo Parlor Interactive

New Exhibit: Tattoos and Scrimshaw


One of the great things about the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is we are constantly opening new exhibits. On January 14th we open Tattoos and Scrimshaw: the Art of the Sailor. While I am very excited about this new exhibit, it can also be sad when a current exhibit is taken down. That is the case with Divergent Focal Planes. I loved Robert Watt’s black and white images of our Santa Barbara Channel coastline. I also loved Dennis Schuett’s whimsical, colorful, digitally manipulated images, especially those of the Fresnel Lens clockworks and the point Conception Lighthouse, with our Deputy Director/Curator/Director of Education Emily Falke standing watch out in front of the lighthouse. Fortunately you can still purchase a few of these remarkable images in our Museum Store.

Hope to see you all here January 14th for the opening of Tattoos and Scrimshaw!

Greg Gorga, Executive Director, SBMM


Certificate of Recognition


Liora Goodman, the District Representative from State Senator Hanna-Beth Jackson’s office, dropped off a Certificate of Recognition for the Museum. It reads:

“In honor of the Museum’s outstanding contributions and invaluable service to preserve and celebrate the maritime heritage of the California Coast; upon recent expansions to the Museum’s facility and programs that will greatly benefit our community, particularly with the opening of the new Children’s Gallery; Congratulations on celebrating our 15th Anniversary.”