May 14

Amazingly it is raining again. Not just raining, the cloud cover is 100%. Complete and total overcast. It began last night with some short rain squalls at about 8pm. By 11pm it was raining steadily. I woke this morning at 5am and it was howling 30k and pouring. It is now 11am and it is still raining. Not a hard, driving rain, but still a steady rain. Chance of sunshine today: 0%. Yesterday was glorious. Sunshine galore. The day before was overcast with sun breaks but not bad. Before that we had 2 days of solid downpour and before that 2 days of sunshine. Before that, a week of solid rain. If you are getting the picture of rain about 8 days out of 10, you got it.

Yesterday we took the dinghy over the reef near the island of Aur (named the same as the atoll itself) and found an incredible reef, full of life and fish and wonderful pristine coral (we saw 4 small sharks in 10 minutes!) We were all psyched to get the scuba compressor out and start diving. Now that will have to wait as we don't really want to go outside in weather like this. No problem, we've got time. But it is discouraging.

As I wrote in yesterday's journal, our genset went on the blink again last night and now we can't even work on it because of the rain - access to the genset is via a locker in the cockpit. In order to get to the machine we have to unpack about 800lbs of gear (everything from the scuba compressor, which we were going to haul out anyway, to cockpit tables, dock lines, milk crates with cordage for running rigging, the spinnaker, scuba gear bag which we were also going to remove anyway and a bunch of other miscellaneous crap) and if we do it in the rain all of that stuff will get wet and some of it is not really happy when wet. So, we are in a holding pattern.

Right now Kate is doing school. My turn is next in about 10 minutes. I do math, science and geography which are easy and Jonah's favorite subjects. Kate gets the hard stuff and does reading and writing (though reading is really no problem for Jonah, he reads like a champ) and composition, his most hated subject. She also does history which he loves. She found a great history program and is working her way through Greeks, Romans, Christianity and Judaism, Buddhism and Confucianism, Carthage and Egypt, etc., etc., etc. He just loves it.

As I mentioned above, Jonah is reading like a pro these days. He has been re-reading the Harry Potter books, though in fact he never read them a first time, Kate read them aloud to him over the last 2 years. Some of them twice! So now he is reading them to himself and has gone through books 2 and 3 and is now working on number 4, the largest of the Potter books. He loves reading. Of course, he mimics his parents and both Kate and I read constantly (some may scowl jealously at that and say "sure, what else have they got to do").

I have just finished reading the second book (called "The Confusion") in a trilogy by a guy named Neil Stephenson. Kate is reading it now. The trilogy is called "The Baroque Series" and is itself a "prequel" to a book he wrote 3 or 4 years ago called "Cryptonomicon". Some of you may know of this book and may even have read it. I am indebted to my friend Jay Ackroyd who placed that book in my hand at a bookstore in New York 3 years ago and urged me to buy it. That book, Cryptonomicon, is set in two places and times at once, modern day American and the Pacific during WWII (or to be more precise, the Western Pacific). The book weaves two stories which diverge in the end and is just a phenomenal story.

The first book in the "Baroque Series" (the prequel) is called "Quicksilver" and was itself an incredible read. This book is set in 17th century Europe and the fun part is trying to figure out which characters in Quicksilver are the ancestors of the characters in the original book "Cryptonomicon" (at least I have found that to be fun). Each of these books is massive by the way coming in at almost 900 pages each! This man likes to write. I don't know the name of the final book of the Baroque Series nor when it will be out but we are waiting in great anticipation. Highly recommended. In fact, I would urge everyone who likes a good yarn to read these books and please do start with the original book "Cryptonomicon" before reading the prequel books, it will suck you in and increase the fun of reading the prequel books and learning about the histories of the people and events which led to the original book.

Getting back to Jonah and school, I am having fun teaching Math and Science. In math Jonah has just begun third grade math and is just whipping through it. We do two lessons per day instead of one because it is so easy for him. We did the same for second grade math but because we take lots of days off and breaks from school he is not really a half year ahead as you would expect if we moved at double time. This year we plan to take off a full 5 weeks from school when we travel to the US for our vacation. But still, he has finished second grade math a month early and by this time next year he will be at least 2 or 3 months ahead. I am convinced that by the time we return to the US to live (in about 4 or 5 years) Jonah will be a full year ahead.