Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oso has landed

The MV Eurogracht, carrying Oso from Brisbane, arrived near New Orleans in the Mississippi River on Sunday night.    Karl and I were taken with the loadmaster out to the anchored ship.   It was wonderful to see Oso sitting proudly on the deck after 7 weeks at sea.   We were able to go aboard Oso and begin getting her ready during the 5 hours it took for the loadmaster and crew to prepare her for launching.
It was nearly 11 pm when Oso was finally back in the water and we did not think it was wise to begin our 20 mile trek further up the Mississippi in the dark.    This part of the river is loaded with large commercial vessels including barges and many ocean freighters.    The ship's Captain offered to let us tie along side, but we chose to drop behind him and anchor for the night.    It was late August when we left Oso in Brisbane, but the main engine and generator started right up.    She was ready to go!
Monday morning we motored toward downtown New Orleans and the Industrial Canal and locks, which lead from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain.   We are now settled in a marina for a couple days of cleaning and provisioning before heading toward Key West and Fort Lauderdale.    It should be a 3-4 day /night run down to Key West where we intend to stop for a couple days before our final leg up to F.L.
Everything about our experience with Sevenstar shipping exceeded our expectations!  When I told the Dutch Captain I was surprised she was not dirtier, he said he had his crew give her a fresh water wash prior to arrival. Amazing .......  I give Sevenstar my highest recommendations.
We plan on being home for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Where's Oso?

Oso Blanco is aboard a ship bound for New Orleans, having departed Brisbane about a month ago.   It's not what you would consider a cruise ship, but I am hoping she is enjoying her 9000 mile passage with someone else doing all the work.    It has been a very frustrating 9 month process trying to arrange her shipment and get her safely back to the USA, but we finally found a credible shipping agent and things are moving along on schedule. Last night we were able to log on to the Panama Canal cameras and watch Oso pass through the Miraflores Locks strapped to the deck of her 'mother ship'. It was great to actually see her and it brought back fond memories of when we transited the canal along with Kellie Anne.
Plan A is for Captain Karl, of the good ship 4 Pack, to meet me in New Orleans to unload Oso, get her cleaned up and put back together, and head for south Florida as soon as possible.   It will be a bittersweet final voyage aboard our beloved Nordhavn.
Other stuff .............
Winter is arriving gently here in Park City, but the mountain has been open over two weeks.    Natural snowfall has been spotty and the temps are mild, but the mountain crew is doing a great job making snow and keeping the limited terrain in good shape.    Both Ann and I have joined the Masters (as in old) racing program which trains from 9am- 3pm  Monday – Friday all season.   So far I have skied 15 days and have high hopes for eventually being able to keep up and compete with some amazing skiers and excellent coaches.    I never knew 70 yr old ladies could be so fast.    
Bear is adjusting well to the real world and school.   This last week saw a number of accomplishments for him when he finished in first place in his school's "Geography Bee", brought home his first ever report card – with straight A, and qualified for the Park City Ski Team – which is one of the top teams in the country.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


After six months of frustrations, Oso Blanco is finally on the way back to the US!   She was loaded aboard a Dutch ship in Brisbane, Australia and is headed for New Orleans.   We'll pick her up in N.O., clean her up after her 9200 nm ocean passage, and figure it all out from there!
They say stress is not good for one's heart – this is a huge load off of our plate!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reality Check

It has been a 5 week whirlwind since we left Oso Blanco in Brisbane and headed back to a land life in Park City, Utah.   Since then, we have visited my Mother and friends in Minneapolis, Ann's Mom and the gang in Northern WI, and hung out with Elizabeth and Margaret and the beautiful Grand Girls in Asheville, NC.    After all that, Bear and I did a 'boy's road trip' and drove our car from Minneapolis to Park City.
The last two weeks we have been trying to get settled in our new town with Bear adjusting to 5th grade in a 'real' school, getting the house set up, and finding our way around.   Both Ann and I have been working hard at getting into ski shape as we look ahead to the approaching winter.   I treated myself to a wonderful new bicycle and have been enjoying the beautiful fall weather riding the back roads and many trails around our area.   Life is good.
Tuesday was "Get your self to school Day" so Bear bypassed the bus stop and we headed out on our bikes for his school.   We were less than a mile from home when I felt strong chest pains, had trouble breathing, and had to get off the bike.   Oh shit", I thought.   "It's the big one".   I told Bear that I didn't feel good and we needed to go home so Mom could take him to school.    The pain lessened and we limped home and immediately headed for the ER, dropping Bear off on the way. 
Chest pain is a sure way to get attention when wandering into an ER.     Park City's hospital is a brand new facility with all the latest gadgets and gizmos and little traffic at this time of year.    I was given exceptional care and every imaginable test.     With the initial fear and urgency diminished, little was showing up in the diagnostics.    EKG and blood tests were normal, but they persisted.    Stress test,  pulmonary CAT scans, MRI, and more blood tests showed little.   We had arrived at the ER at 8 am and by 2 pm they had run every possible test but were not willing to give up.    The ER Doc had been working with the Cardiologist in Salt Lake and got a call around 2:30.   "We are going to transfer you to the hospital in Salt Lake", she informed me.   "OK, we'll go home and get our stuff.   When should we go down there?"   She shook her head.  "Now. We have already called the ambulance.   There is no need to change back to your clothes.   They have already scheduled your surgery."   Huh?   We were just about to get dressed and go home to relax.    All of a sudden we had to figure out how to get Bear home from school, make other arrangements, and get wheeled into the 'limo'.   
There was no delay for paper work or other admitting details.    I was wheeled to a room and a nurse started explaining what they had planned.    The intercom barked "Prepare 328 for immediate surgery"and the action started.    Luckily Katherine works nearby and she was there shortly.    Ann was on her way down from Park City, but we were rolling down the hall and into the elevator before she got there.   The surgeon explained that even though little was showing up on their tests, they were suspicious of blockage and were going in to check.   If there was a problem, they would fix it.
An hour later, I was back in the room with Ann and Kat and dinner was on the way.   The Dr. brought us copies of the pictures showing over 97% blockage of the left anterior descending artery or LAD.  He had installed a stent to open it up and said to take it easy for 2 –3 days before resuming normal activity.  24 hrs after setting off to school with Bear, I was getting dressed in the hospital to go home.    Obviously there is more to taking care of this in the long term, including a row of bottles of meds, but we have once again proven that it is better to be lucky than smart!    Had we been somewhere in the South Pacific this week, this would have been a more interesting story.   
During my discharge briefing, the nurse told us that if we wanted more information on what I had gone through, just google 'widow maker'.    Check it out.    Yep, it could have been the big one.  
Back on the bike next week.  Ski season is coming.  Take nothing for granted.

Friday, September 21, 2012


The final year on the boat is coming to an end; I will miss the boat much. But to say goodbye I wrote a poem to my boat, OSO BLANCO:

Goodbye Boat

By Bear Bloomquist
Goodbye sweet boat, I hope you always float;
 You are always there and you always have cared;
 You are my dream come true, even though we are almost through;
 We have been to countries and to states; here and there we have met many mates;
 I have been on many boats that float, but you are the best because we have traveled on you from east to west;
 I love you much but we must go on, I will never forget you, never ever.

            Hope the boat likes it, I hope you do too, but like I said it is time to move-on. Goodbye my boat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sooooo close, but .........

The good news is we have an answer.  The bad news is we are not on the ship leaving Brisbane tomorrow.
It is a VERY long story ........................ I gave up on trying to get info from the agent and was able to talk directly with the ship owners.  They told me they had never received all of the boat information, including all dimensions from the agent.
Not so bad news is that they have the next ship leaving here Oct 13 and expect us to be on it. I have started dealing with Nordhavn to make sure the shipper gets what they need. Certainly a disappointment, but some progress.
So we are on to Plan 37.9C.    We are scheduled to fly out of here on Thursday.    Back in the States this week!    I'll have to come back to Brisbane in October for the next chapter.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hurry up, and wait ...........................

We have been docked at Rivergate Marina, on the Brisbane River, for the last 10 days preparing Oso Blanco for a long ship ride back to the USA.    We are working with an agent in Florida who is supposed to specialize in shipping yachts around the world and have prepaid 50% of a large shipping fee.     Oso is scheduled to ship from here next week and we have tickets to fly back to Minneapolis on August 30.
Unfortunately, the shipping line has "concerns" about loading Oso due to her size and weight.    The agent continues to say they are "negotiating" our shipment with them and there is still some hope.   Neither the shipper nor the agent excels at communication and with time differences, updates are few and far between.    Each morning this week I have had to get up between 2-3 am to attempt a call or emails with the agent.    Success has been rare.
One way or another, we intend to be in Minnesota late next week.    If Oso has been loaded, everything will fall into place.   If this particular ship does not take her, our agent will continue to find other options, although nothing will be in the short term.    I will come home and return to Brisbane when loading is rescheduled.    Preparations for shipping are similar to what is necessary for 'in water storage' so all is not wasted.   If we need to leave Oso here, we will have to arrange for regular cleaning and care to assure all systems are happy.
Friday morning update from the agent was, "We are continuing negotiations and appreciate your patience."
What patience would that be?