Getting ready to leave the dock in order to go cruising is like getting a space ship ready to go to Mars. On a boat, you have to be prepared for anything. The week prior to our departure consisted of a lot of running around and gathering last minute spare parts, gear and food. It was sad getting ready to leave. We met so many great people and made some very memorable friends! We definitely plan to return and check up on them, or maybe they will come visit us in warmer waters! Ventura really surpassed our expectations as far as friendly people, ease of navigation around town, and proximity to everything else. It’s got a small town feel, right on the coast of California. If you want to go to La La Land (what I like to call Los Angeles county) you can easily get there (and everywhere else in-between) in a couple of hours. Originally we had only planned to stick around Ventura for 6 months, but after some set backs in our schedule, we both felt rushed and stressed. So, we decided to stick around longer. It was a great decision because we were able to get more acquainted with our boat, relax a bit, meet more people and enjoy the location a bit more. Besides, that’s really what its all about. Learning how to slow down, and really enjoy the present moment.
Growing up in Iowa, the back of my parents home always faced a cornfield. I had a front row seat to watch the farming cycle that took place season after season, right at the edge of my backyard. So, after moving to Ventura I became very intrigued by all of the farming that was done in Ventura and Oxnard. I enjoyed watching the cycle of crops unfold. Strawberries are definitely a specialty here grown virtually all year round. However, have you ever seen an entire field of broccoli?
In Iowa, we know what it smells like when driving past fields in the summer after the cows have had their daily grazing. It’s the same thing you smell when you drive past the mushroom farm in Ventura, if the wind is blowing the right direction. However, driving past a freshly cut broccoli field is a new kind of smell. These fields are rotated frequently with many different vegetable crops and just what kind of equipment are they using?
Mostly all of planting and harvesting for delicate fruit farming is done by hand, but I happen to run across this Deere just hanging out in the broccoli field! I will definitely miss how fresh the fruits and vegetables are here. The roadside farmers markets are open just about every day of the week, and the larger farmers markets are held every few days. The strawberries and dates taste like candy. The avocados, are out of this world! So ripe, you can spread it on a slice of bread like butter. As much as I hate to admit it, even the sweet corn from the farmers market, was just as good as Iowa corn, if not better! The newest crop? Pumpkins of course!
Speaking of Iowa. We were pretty surprised by how many former Iowans we actually ran into in Ventura. We met three other Iowans right in the same Marina, and guess what?! They live on their boats too! Some last minute items before leaving included stopping at Ron’s Custom Canvas and picking up our boom tent. The boom tent will provide us with shade over our boat once we get to warmer waters. Ron (another former Iowan) and Debbie had helped us install Maluhia’s bimini. Debbie has some mad sewing skills, of course I’ll envy anyone that can sew in a straight line through heavy canvas.
We will also miss visiting with all of the workers at Beacon Marine. We pretty much frequented the place weekly. They are conveniently located (maybe too convenient?) to the harbor and we made many a trips there for spare parts, project equipment, spare line, you name it! If they don’t have it, they will order it for you. Wonderful people, all of whom own and live on boats, plus they have candy!