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Pics from NJ

Here are the pics we took while at Anne & Johns in NJ.

Back on the boat (and awake)

First a quick rundown of our last day in NJ. Morning started with some paperwork followed by breakfast with Anne and John. We departed their company around 9 and headed off to K-Mart to pick up some light clothes for Helen.

Next stop was Helen’s old school where she was able to briefly say hello to many, but not all, of her old friends and colleagues. There was just not enough time to catch up with all. While she was doing this I was off to the bank, the sports store for fishing gear, BestBuy for a spare camera battery and an Asian food store for some Wasabi.

Picking Helen up from school we headed south to Sam to take him clothes shopping. Later we met up with Ben and went out for a final meal together. We said goodbye to Sam first as he was off to college and spent another hour or so with Ben at Jess’s apartment. We said our goodbyes to Ben before heading off to JFK.

The trip to JFK was smooth so we arrived with hours to spare. Often, the trip to that airport can be a nightmare so time needs to be built into the trip to cover jams but this time it was superfluous.

While waiting at the airport, Air Jamaica had a little thing going as they were celebrating the 10th anniversary of their route from Grenada to JFK. We received some free cake and juice, substantially more nourishment than we received on the plane coming up here.

We slept uncomfortably on and off and arrive around 6 in the morning here. Having waited forever to clear customs we were sent through the goods to declare line as we had loads of parts for the boat on which we had to pay duty. Had we known to ask for permission in Carriacou when we first checked into Grenadan waters we could have got away with a 2.5% duty. As it was, we had to pay 5% of our estimated value of goods (which was far less than they were worth). That being done we caught a taxi to Prickly Bay Marina where Jim was waiting to take us to Dignity which he’d already opened up to air.

First thing on the boat (after blogging to say we had arrived) was to get some additional sleep. Upon waking we had to clean the mould off the fridge and unpack. I also fixed the watermaker with the replacement salinity probe which worked fine. I’ve also set up the new power inverter temporarily with the new wireless hub to try things out. It seems to work but the local internet seems swamped. I could be wrong about this so we’ll need to test things further.

I have been asked what the total goodie list was. Here it is as best I can remember:

  • EPIRB (for our travels west)
  • Pure Sine Wave Invertor (to power the wireless internet setup without issues caused by transients)
  • Portable inverter and battery for quick recharges of phones, etc.
  • Wireless Hub (to replace the dead one)
  • Netbook (so we can surf together)
  • Camera & spare battery (for better picture taking)
  • Outdoor speakers (to replace blown existing ones)
  • More writable DVDs
  • 12V LED Xmas lights (for next Xmas)
  • New L-Ion battery for spare GPS
  • Replacement salinity probe for watermaker
  • A bunch of SD memory cards and USB sticks for sharing movies, etc & storing music for player
  • Reading books
  • Pressure switch for deck wash pump
  • Weighing machine batteries
  • Total Dissolved Solids meter to test purity of water
  • A couple of computer mice
  • Headphones
  • More interior LED replacements including some brighter ones
  • Choke knob for dinghy outboard
  • Fishing tackle
  • Clothing

The boat is fine after our absence bar some mould that grew in the fridge. This afternoon we’ll move her to the dock ready for the upgrade that should go in tomorrow morning. Once we’re on the dock we’ll recharge everything.

Right now Helen has gone back to sleep. The heat is back compared to NJ which turned quite chilly on the last day. In a day or two I’ll expect we’ll be back in our groove.

Last Day in NJ

Today is our last day in NJ.  We’ve stayed at our friends, Anne and Johns, for the last couple of nights celebrating John’s birthday with a BBQ yesterday in good company.  Ben, Sam and Jess were invited so we saw them a little more and got to hear them play the piano which Anne and John are looking after.

Today we’ll take Sam shopping for clothes and have a final meet up this evening before we head back to JFK on our way to Grenada.  Flight is 5 past midnight.  Hopefully we’ll sleep.  Back in Grenada we’ll need to move Dignity onto the dock ready for her upgrade.

For now, here is a video of Ben graduating compiled from clips taken by Jess on her camera.

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Keeping Busy in NJ

Over the last couple of days we’ve been keeping ourselves quite busy. We’ve been shopping for a number of things we need for the boat – clothes mainly. We’ve also taken Ben shopping to get some clothes and shoes for work. I also bought a new camera so we can take pics that can hopefully do justice to the places we go. This turned out to be a Birthday present from the parents so thanks guys – working out well.

Yesterday we helped Ben move some of the stuff out of his apartment into our rental property’s basement. It is so useful to have this. Later, we met Sam’s girlfriend, Annie, yesterday for the first time and really liked her. We all went out for a walk in the University gardens. The weather was perfect for this. I took the new camera and hopefully the results show.

After the walk we went to the movies to watch the new Terminator movie which seemed to be enjoyed by all. After it was wings and pizza back in Jess’s apartment.

Today we’re leaving Jess’s place where we’ve stayed for the last three nights. We’re going to visit some of Helen’s friends from school then go to Anne and Johns, our friends who helped out so much when we were in transition. There we’ll get to open all the boxes that have arrived that we ordered over the internet from Dignity. Lots of ‘testing’ to do. Tuesday we’ll take Sam shopping. He didn’t think he needed much extra in the clothes department but fortunately Annie was there to advise.

It continues to feel a bit strange here in NJ. It certainly doesn’t feel as though we’ve been away for seven months in the Caribbean. It’s almost as though our life aboard Dignity exists on a different plane. I skype chatted with Jim on Bees Knees the other day and it felt like communicating between worlds. Really strange.

Graduation Day

Big congrats to Ben for graduating from college and good luck for the next big steps in his life.

Picking up two days ago. Ben, Sam and Jess (Ben’s girlfriend) arrived at the motel soon after we had cleaned ourselves up and as all were pretty hungry (what changes?) we were off to dinner. It felt like hardly any time had passed except for the evidence of Sam’s further growth. Looks like he’ll be the tallest in the family.

After dinner we hung around a little in our motel room and chatted but soon Helen and I were tired from our travels and we parted company.

Yesterday started off with Helen and I visiting our rental property, sort out some stuff at the bank then do a little shopping. Helen popped into a supermarket to be overwhelmed by choice and I spent time drooling in BestBuy. It’s amazing what 7 months does to what’s available and pricing. Fortunately we kept pretty much to the shopping list.

Next we visited Sam in his loft, picked up lunch then headed off to Rutgers, Livingstone campus for Ben’s graduation ceremony. The weather was almost perfect – just a little too warm. On the boat we can remove more than we can get away with in NJ.

We took some great outdoor pics but the indoor ones have sadly turned out a bit grainy/blurry. Now I’m convinced we need a better camera and this is more than a little influenced by the big eyes developed during my homage at the temple of BestBuy.

Upon leaving the campus area the next order of the day was to visit Ben’s local bar to celebrate with a few beers though not a lot for me as I was driving. Next we headed off to the movies to watch the latest Star Trek movie which was a lot of fun. Now staying at Jess’s place, the evening ended with Chinese takeaway, bubbly and company.

Today and tomorrow we’ll be doing some shopping with the boys to get them some better clothes and, in Sam’s case, fill his fridge.