Morning Song


Big crowd at the harbor Saturday to watch Morning Song, go into the water for the first time. It took 25 years to build it in Ken & Loretta Minor’s backyard.

SBMM ED Greg Gorga Presents to the Lompoc Valley Historical Society

Greg Gorga and Karen Paaske

Yesterday SBMM ED Greg Gorga gave a presentation on the Honda Tragedy to more than 60 members of the Lompoc Valley Historical Society.

PHOTO- Greg Gorga with LVHS Director Karen Paaske next to an anchor from the USS Chauncey, one of seven destroyers that sank at Honda Point in 1923.


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!

SBMM Honors Two Commercial Diving Pioneers

Mayor Helene Schneider with Honorees Lad Handelman and Bob Kirby

On Friday, January 29th the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum honored two pioneers in the field of Commercial Diving, Lad Handelman and Bob Kirby. Lad started out as an abalone diver here in Santa Barbara, and went on to start two international diving companies, CalDive and Oceaneering. Bob teamed up with Bev Morgan to form Kirby Morgan Diving Systems, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and continues to be the world leader in the manufacture and sale of commercial diving helmets.

Both men received NOGI Awards from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, an honor James Cameron says is more difficult to win than an Oscar. Neither Lad nor Bob were able to attend the NOGI Award ceremonies, so the Maritime Museum invited 200 of their closest friends to celebrate their great achievements here in their home town. To learn more about these two pioneers visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. KKFX News video

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