By Amy Zahra
It isn’t everyday that we celebrate a third-time Nordhavn christening, but that’s exactly what occurred recently on the docks of Dana Point. Eric, Annie and their son “Bear” Bloomquist christened their third Nordhavn, Oso Blanco, a gorgeous N64.
The first time we met the Bloomquists was back in 2001, when Jim Leishman sold them their first Nordhavn, N40#29 Kiva. They spent their first winter season based out of La Paz, Mexico and “commuted” to the boat for extended vacations, since they were still both working at the time. They sold their business that winter, which allowed them to cruise 9-10 months a year. When Bear was born during their first cruising season, he moved aboard at 3 months and as he got bigger, it soon became evident that the quarters on their N40 were a little cramped for their growing family. Three years later in April 2004 they moved up to a Nordhavn 47, now named Oso Blanco (“White Bear” in Spanish), after their son. A quick explanation: Bear’s given name is Robert, but after traveling in Mexico, it quickly changed to Roberto and then Berto, and finally Bear. The Mexicans that they met loved to hold this little chubby white infant, and it soon became evident that “Oso Blanco” was the perfect name for their son, and their boat.
This time around they worked with Dana Point salesman Brad Smith. The Bloomquists were very familiar with Brad, who had been a commissioning tech during the time they had purchased their N40; Brad oversaw the completion of Kiva and trained the couple on their new boat. During the process, Brad wound up striking a friendship with the family and after selling them their 47, joined them on board from Huatulco, Mexico to Panama for 3 weeks in 2006. It was during that trip that the Bloomquists decided to upgrade to their third Nordhavn, 64#9. They simply fell in love with the 64 and believe that it is the most beautiful boat Jeff (Leishman) has ever drawn.
The Bloomquists have traveled extensively for the past several years from British Columbia to the East Coast, including Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Honduras, The Bahamas and the ICW. Bear, now 5 ½ , is home schooled and incredibly knowledgeable about the boat. He can give an informative engine room tour, and point out important aspects like the wing engine and can run the navigation systems and radar on his own. There is even a “Bear Button” that was installed especially for him on the electrical panel that does “everything” (and nothing) at the same time. Having lived on the boat practically his whole life, it’s his home and he feels very comfortable and happy aboard. The cruising lifestyle really works for them as a family, and they feel very lucky to also be able to see the world through the eyes of a child. There are so many cruising families out there that socialization has not been a problem for Bear.
During the christening, Brad anointed his friends with crowns and gave an endearing speech, which was followed by Eric’s speech thanking the P.A.E. team for all of their hard work and declaring to P.A.E. President Dan Streech that “this is definitely their last Nordhavn”. We will have to see about that!
The Bloomquists, along with Brad, just finished a nonstop run from Dana Point to B.C. The journey north is known to be rough, and this trip proved no differently as Oso Blanco ran into 15 to 16-foot waves near Point Conception (Santa Barbara), but handled them like a champ and experienced no leaks or problems. As Brad pointed out, “the trip started out like a lion but ended up like a lamb.”
The Bloomquists are still in the B.C. area at this time and will spend the summer here and in Alaska, and then head south to Mexico and Central America in the fall/winter of 2009. They have not decided if they will turn right or left in Panama, but they will most likely go back to the Caribbean and cross The Med for a few years, and then continue to cruise for the next six or seven years, with a possible circumnavigation in their future. You can follow their adventures on www.osoblanco.info.