August 31

Wow, we are back in Fiji. We returned this morning from a 3 week trip to the USA, our first time back in the US since we left (from San Diego) in November, 2000. We had a great time but are very glad to be back. Jonah was ecstatic when he saw the boat and was literally jumping up and down. He ran into his cabin yelling "Oh boy, oh boy..." about each toy he saw saying how he missed them - "oh boy my Lego, wow, can I play with the Lego now?" and "Oh boy my Megas, I missed them" and "Oh boy, Mr. Bear I missed you", etc., etc.

We arrived via LAX at 5:00am sharp, about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We breezed through immigration and customs and were at the marina by 5:45. It was raining gently and we tried to hurry and get the bags inside before they got too wet. It was just getting light out. Our flight from Boston was relaxing. The captain had a bottle of rum in his carry-on luggage - a gift from Kate's sister Tita, thanks Tita! - and consequently was quite relaxed by the time the movie started. We watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" which was worth a few laughs and had a generally easy time on the flight (Jonah was an angel).

We arrived in LA (about 8pm local time - 2:30 till the next flight) a bit tired and hung-over (ok, only the captain was - thanks Tita) and got Jonah a burger and fries and took our time getting to the new gate. We arrived at the gate an hour early and Jonah immediately fell asleep in a chair. We had to carry him onto the plane and he was asleep again in the seat the moment we put him down. Fortunately the flight was half full and just before we took off the captain grabbed an empty threesome and was asleep in 10 minutes. Kate shared a threesome with the boy and we all slept the first 5 hours.

The second 5 hours was harder. Jonah wouldn't sleep so Kate couldn't. I slept for another 2 hours then took Jonah while Kate slept an hour, but then they turned on the lights and began serving coffee and tea followed by breakfast, which made the time fly.

We had a fabulous time in the US and are glad we went. We started in Boston where we spent 2 days with Kate's mom and sister Vicky. Then we drove to Cape Cod where we spent 4 or 5 days with them and also Kate's other sister Tita and her family (Bruce, Galen and Torrin). Kate's brother Chris and his wife Lisa also spent a day on the cape with us. We went to the beach 3 days and had great fun with the kids in the high surf. Of course, unlike here in the South Pacific the water is ice cold. Kate kept looking around for icebergs but found none. We did see seals though right from the beach which was exciting.

We spent a few hours one afternoon at the local West Marine. The minute we walked in the door our jaws dropped. We hadn't seen a marine store like this since San Diego in Nov. 2000 and had forgotten how well stocked they are. There is one or two stores in Auckland (NZ) which are quite large, but still don't approach the variety and breadth at your average West Marine. We spent over $400 easily. We even found a replacement for the jib boom traveler car which exploded in May on the way to Fiji (they do not stock the entire range of Harken traveler cars so we were lucky they happened to have the right one).

Our next stop was New York City, but first we made a slight detour to central Massachusetts to drop off Jonah with his grandmother (my mother, Rita) in Springfield. She took him to her home in Otis for a few days while we went to NYC for a few days. We saw my sister Debbie and her son, Cole (and her hubby Al) ate plenty of great food and went crazy at Barnes and Noble (we bought 2 shopping bags full of books to add to the load we bought in Boston and on Cape Cod already) and bought about 15 DVDs from the used DVD pile at Blockbusters (once we watch them we can trade them with other boats). We also bought a ton of other stuff we needed and visited the Museum of Modern Art.

After that we drove upstate to visit my father in Woodstock. Jonah met us there and we spent 4 or 5 days relaxing by the pool, chatting with my father and step-mom (Barbara). Our friends Brian and Dana visited us one day and we had pizza by the pool. My grandparents (who have a home a hundred yards away through the woods) were also there and we spent some time visiting with them. Of course we ate great food (including some awesome BBQ steaks and sweet corn one night which I will not forgot soon). The last day we went to the Duchess County Fair which was out of this world. Jonah simply was in heaven. We looked at farm animals (cows, cows, cows, pigs, sheep) and a reptile exhibit and even had a photo taken with a baby tiger! We had food and drink and went on plenty of rides including the Ferris wheel at the end. Of course, there are plenty of photos of all of this stuff in the August photo gallery.

Our last stop was my mother's home in Otis, Mass. and we arrived there Thursday afternoon after the fair. We had a great 5 days with a full house including my sister Debbie and her family and my brother Danny. On Saturday the 24th my step-Father, Harvey, hosted a gala 60th Birthday bash for my mom who turned 60 on the 25th, which happens also to be Kate's birthday (I will not say which at this time). They had about 40 people many of whom I knew as my mother's closest friends. My cousin Jeff and his wife Allison (whom I had never met before - they were married about a year ago) were also there. Also there were Harvey's daughter Gina and son Scott and his wife Anne.

Now, back to today - we unpacked all morning and visited with friends on and off. I fell asleep at 10am while Kate worked till 1pm then I got up and she and Jonah both went to sleep! She slept till 4 O'clock and then we got Jonah up with promise of ice cream. He is really wrecked now - he played with his friends all morning while Kate and I unpacked so he was totally wiped by 1 O'clock

We will go have dinner at the hotel next door tonight. We did get the fridge running again and picked up the stuff we had left in a borrowed fridge on land, so we have cold stuff in the fridge now. We will start the freezer on Monday, it needs 2 days to cool down after having been off for so long. I am going to Fiji Meats in Lautoka to order some meat (pre-frozen) and hope to have it delivered on Wednesday. We are really anxious to get moving and plan to leave here by Friday, next week. We may stop briefly at Waya or one of the other islands in the lower Yasawas before heading offshore, but only for a day or two to clean the speed transducer and the prop of barnacles (can't do it here, the water is gross).