Credit: J.G.Soto

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One of the most significant moments in our state’s history, the dramatic first encounter in
1542 of Spanish Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and the Santa Barbara native Chumash, will
be re-enacted in dramatic fashion during this year’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
As his ship did five hundred years ago, a full-size replica of Cabrillo’s vessel San Salvador will
enter Santa Barbara waters and will be greeted at sea by area Chumash in their replica of a
historic tomol. San Salvador’s visit to Santa Barbara is part of the Maritime Museum of San
Diego’s 2023 Pacific Heritage Tour.

The historic re-enactment will occur in the water on the west side of Stearns Wharf at 10:30 a.m.
and just prior to the start of the Friday Fiesta historic parade, El Desfile Histórico. The meeting
ceremony kicks off a special Fiesta weekend visit to the Santa Barbara Harbor by the San
Salvador. The visit is made possible by a collaboration between the Maritime Museum of San
Diego, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, and Old Spanish Days.

“Every year, Fiesta celebrates our history, traditions and culture,” said Old Spanish Days Fiesta
El Presidente David Bolton. “We are honored to partner in this collaboration that brings together
a major moment historic re-enactment with free weekend tours for our community.”
The San Salvador vessel represents a time and experience in Pacific maritime history for
adventurers young and old. This is her first Pacific Heritage Tour voyage since 2019.

“San Salvador is a full-scale replica of the flagship used by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez
Cabrillo in 1542 during the first European voyage to explore what would one day become the
West Coast of the United States,” said Maritime Museum of San Diego President/CEO Raymond
Ashley, Ph.D., K.C.I. “Meticulously constructed by Maritime Museum of San Diego over six
years and US Coast Guard Certified, San Salvador is one of very few early modern replica ships
in which members of the public can glimpse through experience what seafaring beyond the
known world was like half a millennia ago.”

Santa Barbarians have long been proud of their city’s heritage. The tradition of colorful music,
dance, and song together with a spirit of friendliness, hospitality, and tolerance are part of this
heritage. It is a spirit Old Spanish Days Fiesta works to preserve, and this re-enactment at
sea will add another element of history to this year’s Fiesta celebration.

“This event celebrates a milestone event in our local maritime history,” said SBMM Executive
Director Greg Gorga. “We are excited to have the San Salvador visit us as we celebrate Fiesta.”
The San Salvador’s visit is generously sponsored by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Old
Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Rick Oshay, and Teresa Kuskey.

Historic Re-Enactment:  Friday, August 4 at 10:30 a.m. in the waters on the west side of
Stearns Wharf.
Free Public Tours: Throughout its weekend visit, the ship will be available for free public
tours at the harbor’s Santa Barbara pier Saturday, August 5, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00
p.m. and Sunday, August 6, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


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