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Damaged Condor Express boat returning to Santa Barbara Harbor

Damaged by fire in early March, the Condor Express boat has been repaired and will return to Santa Barbara Friday morning.

Captain Mat Curto has been overseeing all repairs, especially to the wheelhouse and navigation equipment. That was the main location where the fire broke out shortly after the boat had been docked and locked for the day at Sea Landing in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

An off duty fireman was the first to spray water on the flames. He was quickly supported by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and the Harbor Patrol.

Curto says they saved the boat from destruction.

Repairs have cost $650,000.

Extensive new wiring has been installed, and the boat has been repainted.

The Coast Guard gave the boat an approval to go back into service this morning.

It is scheduled to pull into the Santa Barbara waterfront area at 11 a.m. Friday where a welcome party will be held.

The Condor Express is one of the largest and most powerful whale watching vessels on the Central Coast and it will be heading out this weekend.

This time of year humpback and blue whales are sighted off the Channel Islands.

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