Like many people, I’ve been closely following the news about the Conception dive boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Santa Barbara earlier this month. This unspeakable tragedy hit especially close to home because I’ve also spent a few nights sleeping on a boat in almost the same exact location.
Last spring, Jonny, Jeff, Scott and I went on a weekend fishing trip to the Channel Islands National Park, which includes Santa Cruz Island. Like those aboard the Conception, we spent our nights sleeping on our boat anchored off the shore of Santa Cruz Island. I don’t specifically remember seeing the Conception that weekend, but it’s visible in Small Craft Advisory, a short film I made about our trip. You can see it in the background of Santa Barbara Harbor (starting at 0:12).
Scott takes frequent overnight trips to the Channel Islands and said he’s anchored next to it several times. Scariest of all is Jeff, who has actually gone on one of the chartered scuba trips and spent the night on the Conception.
We’re planning to return to the Channel Islands in November for another overnight boat trip so we can write and record the next What Up Mang album on the boat. Out of caution, we’ve already discussed rotating night watchman duties during the trip.
Here’s the film we made if you’d like to see what it’s like out on the Channel Islands. It’s beautiful and dangerous, among other things.