Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981)

Do we have enough life preservers for everyone on this boat? Thank you Greg, Emily, Dennis, my wife Susanne, Everyone…… Andy, Rick, John and I were a great team. We were fortunate to spend our early professional years on a grand adventure, diving and documenting the life beneath the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel. What you are seeing here tonight is just a tip of the iceberg. These platforms are truly marine sanctuaries. They have signs warning mariners to keep away, under penalty of federal prosecution…. for obvious reasons…. That has protected the life below. It is a generational community, with more than 50 years of life flourishing and reproducing, and spreading spawn throughout the Santa Barbara Channel, and replenishing the natural reefs. Susanne and I proposed this exhibit more than 4 years ago before the issue of decommissioning of Platform Holly, Gail and Grace. Who is going to serve the eviction notice on the millions of creatures now inhabiting these massive structures?  Where will they go besides a land fill. A recent University study, published on the Academy of Sciences website states that today, the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel are among the most productive marine fish habitats globally. Recently, we became a polarized culture; that polarization is destructive. It saddens me that my friends in the environmental community and political leaders justify killing this Marine Megatropolis to support the power base created by an anti-oil community consensus. We hear that the oceans are in peril everywhere. It is incumbent upon us to act as stewards...... Cap the wells, pull the drills, but leave the jacket…… preserve the life. Use this as a call for unity for our oceans, for balance, for the environment, between all factions. Leave the reef. It can stay and naturally dissolve like shipwrecks have for thousands of years. Or, we can become resourceful and formulate new ways to repurpose these structures… I have some ideas of my own….. This exhibit and doing what I can to preserve these Marine Megatropolis is my way of honoring Andy’s last words. “Bob, tie up the boat.” Thank you again for joining us tonight and your support for our Maritime History so eloquently shared here at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.