We have Elias taking a half-hour French lesson every weekday with a French yachtie here in the marina. She sends us emails saying that Elias now knows how to say this or that en français; when queried, he denies it. Time will tell.
The boys are also taking swimming lessons. Here is Eric, using his greatest physical asset (his belly) to good effect. This is the boy who habitually deafens me with his screams whenever it's time for a shower, convinced as he is that if water ever touches his face that will mark the end of his days upon the planet. This wonderful teacher, though, quickly had him floating both face up and face down, as well as diving entirely below the surface, water in the face be damned. When he's swimming with us, though, he still refuses to get his face wet.
And the grownups? Well, we haven't run out of things to do. The thing is that there are an endless number of things you can do to improve a boat. And when you're thinking of going to Patagonia, a lot of those improvements start to sound good. So far I think I've crossed "tension intermediate shrouds" and "change fuel filters" off the list. But I'm getting really really organized to start knocking off the bigger tasks. Just as soon as I finish this PhD.
Alisa, meanwhile, is putting me to shame by managing to squeeze winch maintenance into the odd corners of her day - and night. It's now 2300, and she's reassembling a primary, with me on standby in case any parts need the hammer to convince them to go where they belong. I'm not much of an engineer, but if anything on the boat needs to be whacked with a hammer, I'm the guy.