Port Hueneme Banana Festival Report

Bananas, BMW's, music, warships, freighters, pelicans, food, bananas, pineapples, bananas ...

By George Miller

Chiquita Banana Girl

Chiquita Banana Girl

A good time was had by all on Saturday-the place was packed with thousands of people. In addition to the all-too-familiar booths selling goods or pushing a variety of causes, Del Monte was giving out bananas, and pineapples could be had by excelling at a game of skill.  Supervisors could be dunked in cold water for money and still more throwing skill, There was a lighthouse tour, harbor water tour (my personal favorite), while music, food trucks and booths abounded.  Police, fire dept. and naval construction exhibits were on hand and there was a great exhibit of port history and contemporary operations.  The Banana Festival is to promote the Port of Hueneme and its customers- many of them purveyors of name brand items you see in food stores and auto malls.

Of course, The Port of Hueneme is the number 1 banana port on the West Coast.  Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte all bring their tasty goods through there. I understand that regional growers also ship out of there, too.  It’s also a major port for ingress of Hyundai, Kia, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover, Suzuki, Mazda, BMW and other fine cars.   Interestingly, Toyota, Honda, Acura and Nissan also export cars made in the USA to Asia.

Wallenius

Car carrier. Offloaded cars in foreground.

Shippers like PH  because of fast turnaround and great service. The port does business in the billions and provides many, mostly high-paying jobs, plus “multiplier” jobs in support and other industries. It is the ONLY deep-water port between LA and San Francisco. and a heckuva lot less congested than either of those.

The Port of Hueneme is not only host to commercial shipping operations, but also harbors US Navy ships and other operations.  Conveniently located directly adjacent to Naval Base Ventura County, it provides seamless access for naval operations for the SeaBees (West Coast HQ is here), patrols and testing (Pacific Missile Test Range is right here).

The earliest harbor water tour we could book was 12:30. Even though the embarkation point was only 120 yards away, we had to take a bus there “for security purposes,” we were told. When we got there, I recognized the tour boat- The Coroloma from Channel Islands Harbor, a well known seaworthy fishing boat.

PortofHuenemeLogoIt was nice and cool on the water, with a stiff breeze in the harbor and strong winds building up big whitecaps offshore. The tour guide pointed out ships for troop training for boarding on the high seas, assault landing craft, target ships and the Destroyer U.S.S. Paul D. Foster, now used for naval warfare testing. There were two state-of-the-art 8000 h.p.tugboats for hauling ships around, miscellaneous maintenance and service craft, as well as oil spill clean-up vessels.  There were loading docks for fruit, machinery, cars and refrigerated fruit warehouses. We saw a few unused facilities around, suggesting some room for expansion, even in this highly compact port, which is smaller than the nearby recreational and fishing port of Channel Islands Harbor.

The old lighthouse has been turned into a nice little Coast Guard museum, docented by the local Coast Guard Auxiliary when we visited.  Bus services were run by Roadrunner Shuttle, which has now gone big time, landing a major bus transit contract. They ferried us around on a luxurious Volvo bus. When we finished the tours, we went through the booths again, listened to the band and ate,

 

Yes, we have bananas!

Yes, we have bananas!

 

 

USn Underwater construction team demo tank (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

USN Underwater construction team demo tank (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Schlumberger oil industry service vessel

Schlumberger oil industry service vessel

 

Our tour boat- The Coroloma (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Our tour boat- The Coroloma (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Cranes for handling cargotainers

Cranes for handling cargotainers

 

USN ship now used for naval warfare testing. Ship in foreground used for assault training.. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

USS Paul D. Foster, now used for naval warfare testing. Ship in foreground used for assault training.. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

USN landing craft, viewed from bow of Coroloma (photo: Citizensjournal.us)

USN landing craft, viewed from bow of Coroloma (photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

The old lighthouse. No longer need in the age of radar and GPS?  (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

The old lighthouse. No longer needed in the age of radar and GPS? (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Old light lens seen on the lighthouse tour (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Old light lens seen on the lighthouse tour (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Pelicans sunning at a dock (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Pelicans sunning at a dock (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Two 8000 h.p. state-of-the-art tugboats (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Two 8000 h.p. state-of-the-art tugboats (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Harbor seals- up close and personal (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Harbor seals- up close and personal (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Oil spill clean-up boats (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Oil spill clean-up boats (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Plenty of food and crowds to eat it. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Plenty of food and crowds to eat it. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

We were seranded by multiple bands. One did Santana songs sounding almost as good as the originals. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

We were serenaded by multiple bands. One did Santana songs sounding almost as good as the originals. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Do-it yourself sidewalk art for kids (photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Do-it yourself sidewalk art for kids (photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Port of Hueneme on right, Challen Islands Harbor on left. Beaches (l-r) Hollywood, Silverstrand, Port Hueneme Beach (photo-: Port Hueneme)

Port of Hueneme on right, Channel Islands Harbor on left. Beaches (l-r) Hollywood Beach, Silverstrand, Port Hueneme Beach (photo-: Port Hueneme)

If you have any influence at all on shipping policy or know anyone who does, consider the Port of Hueneme!

 

George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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