Channel Islands Paradise

dscf0174I’ve been visiting my kids for Thanksgiving, in Utah, where I grew up.  There’s no place like home, but Utah has ceased to be my home, and now I love Oxnard and the Channel Islands.  Living in Utah in the winter reminds me of Kansas in The Wizard Of Oz.  It will be nice tomorrow to travel from gray and white to the green of the warm California winter and the blue of the ocean.   Utah has beautiful spring and fall weather, but it only seems to last a week, and then it’s either too hot, or too cold.  When we go on vacation we often find ourselves saying that “we live in paradise.”  It’s hard for most places to compete with living at the ocean with a boat dock in your backyard.

Oxnard really does have the best weather.   It’s rarely too hot or  cold to go out and enjoy a walk around the harbor, or the beach.    In winter the heater hardly runs and the house has no air conditioning.  Being near the ocean, once the sun goes down, a gentle sea breeze generally cools the house.  When we aren’t out fishing, we often walk around the harbor, and the most you need to wear is a hoodie.  We see so many friends out walking, that it often adds an extra half an hour to our walk.

During the week the area is really quiet, but it gets busy during the weekends.  The harbor has a Sunday farmer’s market and they have boat and auto shows.  There’s the Maritime Museum and they host a chowder festival every year.  There’s several yacht clubs in the marina, including our yacht club, which adds a lot of fun events, as well as adding to our social circle.

Oxnard is known as “the gateway to the Channel Islands.”  The Channel Islands have also been nicknamed the California’s Galapagos islands due to the diversity of wildlife.    The islands have miles and miles of beautiful coastline with lots of great coves to drop an anchor and spend the night.  The fishing is usually good, and there’s great places for snorkeling and diving.  Out at the islands you can take your dingy or kayak to shore and go hiking.  Not all areas are open to hiking, and some are by permit only.  A few islands are restricted by the military.

Having part of the Pacific ocean as part of  my backyard has allowed me to see dive bombing pelicans, seals, swans, lobsters, lots of ducks and a big sheepshead fish.  At low tide I like to check out the water just to see what’s down there.

Close up of my dock pylon

Close up of my dock pylon

At Christmas time there’s a lighted boat parade.  There was also a boat 4th of July electric boat parade.  The Joy Sea ended up in it by accident this year, because we just happened to be coming in from a fishing trip.  We can take the electric boat to restaurants, the yacht club, and even the grocery store.

There’s nothing like hearing the waves as you’re falling asleep and living three blocks from the ocean we can hear the waves.  We can easily walk to the beach, but because we don’t live on the beach we don’t fight the sand.   Living on the harbor, we still get to see the water and watch boats go by, but the best part is you can dock your boat right behind the house.    If you haven’t had the chance to visit, it’s a great place for a vacation.    We once had friends come and visit.  The second day, after a nap, they informed us that they had decided to buy a home.  After you’ve been here awhile, you too may be convinced to stay.

I’m always happy to see my family, but the snow is not a thrill and the sea does call.  It’s a beautiful day in the ocean neighborhood.

Sea Fever

By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, 
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, 
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, 
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking. 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide 
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, 
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, 
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, 
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.