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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Deshaies
Catherine
03/04/2011, Guadeloupe

I must stop worrying about the fact that I am crap at languages and just get on and speak it! Most of the time I can formulate what I want to say in French, even not blush when I say it now, but I have to concentrate so hard on speaking that I can't then possibly understand what has been said in return. Correction. I probably could understand the response but I am just not listening becauase all my focus of attention has gone on speaking! However, I really want to encourage the children to speak French (and in Guadeloupe, all the boat kids are French) and so I have to overcome my own insecurities of speaking languages and show that it's OK to get it wrong. Mia and Lochy kept running back to me to say "how do I ask....?" whilst playing with kids on the beach today. It was soul destroying to see them speak and then get ignored by the other kids, but they kept at it, bless them and I suppose it will come with more exposure. I was watching a video posted on Ellen MacArthur's website about whether schools are killing creativity by Ken Robinson - and Mia asked me why I was laughing and what I was watching. When I explained that this man thinks we should pay as much attention to art/creative subjects as maths and English, she replied "finally, a grown up who agrees with us kids." Classic. Mind, she was drawing at the time.
We visited Steve and Julie Ferreira on their boat. It's always great to listen to others' experiences and compare set ups. I think Mark was quite tempted by their last trip through Panama to head North to Alaska rather than South to NZ, but he can't complain about the heat here - it's been overcast and rainy most of the day. We had a lovely lunch in Deshaies and the kids enjoyed a swim again. Tomorrow after school work we'll head over to the town again and explore a little more as it seems a shame to leave immediately and we could check in and out at the same time online at a cafe, which was the easiest customs check we have ever had. Vive la France!

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Brown Boobies!
Catherine
03/02/2011, Guadeloupe

Finally, after three days of procrastination, we set off for Guadeloupe today. The weather reports said 20 knots of wind and 1 metre swells, so of course it was gusting 35 and peeing with rain. Our new addition to our wish list is a rocna anchor after realising that we pretty much drag wherever we are - we clearly don't have a big enough anchor. So that is our highest priority. Down to number 2 on the list is the water filter which would mean an end to horrible plastic water bottles. I can't call myself green, using solar showers and wind power one minute and buying 20 5 litre water bottles the next. Then, moving down the list to number three is the holding tank, as we are starting to do a very good job of coordinating bowel movements with shore trips (no mean feat with 4 of us!) wonder why we bother with bowel retention however, when the water taxi man suggested the kids didn't paddle in English Harbour yesterday as they had just pumped the town's sewage out into the bay and it had just stopped bubbling black. Mmm. Nice.
So, back to our trip out of Antigua. Peeing down with rain as we take all the mooring lines off the mangroves, Mark takes in the 2nd anchor before we take up the 1st anchor (see, I said our anchor doesn't hold - belts and braces approach!) I said to Mark that we needed to leave at 10.30am at the latest if we are to make Guadeloupe in daylight. We finally leave at 11.30am. Luckily, with the strong winds, we make it JUST as the sun sets and the fog that has covered Guadeloupe for the whole trip lifts. Mia very excited to see a Jersey registered boat that actually looks like it might be from Jersey (i.e. not 100 foot super yacht tax dodge) so we row over to meet Steve and Julie Ferreira on Dos Tintos who ARE from Jersey - yippee - invited for coffee tomorrow morning.
The trip itself was wet, swelly. Mia felt sick and Lochy read Harry Potter for 4 hours before feeling sick himself. So, glad that one is over. Lochy excited to add Brown Boobies onto his tick list from his Caribbean Bird Book. We have decided to stay at least tomorrow to explore and make the boat more ship shape, before leaving for Martinique.
Cath x

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03/07/2011 | Jason
I remeber seeing Dos Tintos in the Marina over here! Glad you had a safe passage.
It's difficult to leave Antigua!
Catherine
02/26/2011, Antigua - still!

When we arrived in Antigua, we said to a 9 year old boat kid that we thought we'd be here for a week. He replied "thats what YOU think. We've been here for two and a half years." And I have to admit, it's quite hard to leave! We enjoyed sailing round to Jolly Harbour, getting more experienced with dropping our anchor, and then coming back to English Harbour. Mark and I are in agreement that we are abit lazy when it comes to sailing. If we are going to sail then we want to GO somewhere - like another country. It's all abit of a faff pulling up the anchor, stowing everything away, just for a couple of hour jaunt around the coast and then spending a couple of hours wondering if our anchor is holding before venturing ashore! The kids' swimming has really improved just with them jumping off the back of the boat. Lochy is in twitching heaven, with all the different species of bird there is to see, both on the coast and in the rainforest. And finally, we have met loads of boat kids, which has been great for the kids and for us - lots of beach excursions, a birthday party and exposure to French.
We said goodbye to Alan who went off on the RORC 600 race with the big boys and then said hello to him again when he came back 4 days later, but he is no longer on our boat and we are back to being just the Jackson Four - we shall miss his moans and groans in the morning "I'm not a morning person" and I shall miss thrashing him at Backgammon!!
We have found our routine with school again after a weeks holiday and the kids have enjoyed going to the Nelson Dockyard museum and learning about how he was shipped home in a barrel of French Brandy!
We are going to be heading down South soon - once our trampoline is back on having been repaired - maybe Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia etc. So if anyone wants to visit, just name their island.....!

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PS We arrived!!
Catherine
02/09/2011, Antigua!!

Oops! I forgot to say - yes - we did arrive! At 1.30am on 8/2/11 we dropped anchor. All the advice is not to go into a strange port in the dark and we weren't sure if we were going to have to hang around til morning, but after we had scoped the entrance a couple of times, we were lucky to see another yacht enter the harbour, so we slipped in behind and then found a suitable anchorage. Sipped bubbly once we had ensured the anchor had bitten and sat around quite incredulous that we had actually stopped moving!! Antigua is lovely. We are enjoying the rest before tidying up the boat! We were really sad to say goodbye to Chloe who has landed on her feet with a lovely job/accomodation. Alan has paid his backgammon debts and we are looking forward to celebrating Mia's birthday tomorrow. Thank you, everyone for all your comments and best wishes, Blogs will more than likely be less frequent now I am on dry land!! Love, Cath xxx

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02/11/2011 | rose marie crolla
glad of your safe arrival.plenty to celebrate. hope you find your land legs quickly. A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MIA XXX. love to you all enjoy your relaxation. ps the schools here are on a long weekend fri through to wed. so i hope mia and lochy gfet some hols too. xx rose marie
02/12/2011 | David and Vera
Hi to the Jackson 4
Congrats on your great achievement so far. Many happy returns, Catherine and Mia. Sorry the greetings are late but we only got back from Cambodia yesterday and were able to read your blog. We look forward to your updates.
Lots of love from David, Vera and family in Kent
Land Ahoy!
Catherine
02/08/2011

wake up at 4am this morning for my watch to find the boat has been decorated by Chloe and the kids with Birthday posters and banners and I receive my homemade cards and prezzies when they wake up - a picture from Lochy and a friendship bracelet and homemade hand sewn bag from Mia. This has been probably the longest birthday ever as we have been counting down the miles from 100. 20 miles to go now and the lighthouse on the end of Antigua is in view and a white glow has appeared on the horizon. We should be in in about 3 hours which brings us in just before midnight - so I did arrive on my birthday after all!! Alan and I played our last backgammon game today - double or quits - as I was 200 beers ahead. He lost. He has promised me a bottle of nice bubbly, but I think I want the 400 beers!!

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02/09/2011 | rose marie crolla
congratulations on your safe arrival.happy birthday to cathrine and hope you gain your land legs before you lose them. lot of love to you all. rose marie and gang xxx
Romping home!!
Catherine
02/06/2011

With winds of 30-35 knots and the swell behind us it feels like were surfing all the way to Antigua now.We've made great progress in the last 24 hours. The question is will we get there on Catherines birthday after all? If we do it will probably be after the pubs are closed but the bubbly is in the chiller now for us to celebrate our arrival.We thought uncle auto was on his last legs a couple of nights ago but we found the booster setting and he's now turbo'd up and he's coping great now.Uncle auto had a break today and we hand steered for the day which was novel.The upside of the new improved turbo auto is he's working well, the down side is he uses more juice, keeps Chloe awake at night and tries to chop your hand off with the steering wheel spokes as you try to make adjustments.The next big question is whether our last gas bottle will last till Antigua or will we be on tuc biscuits and angle delight for the last day? Position: 17 14 460N 58 56 600W

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02/08/2011 | Nikki M
Let me be the first to congratulate you on your successful crossing.
My AIS alarm went off in the middle of the night letting me know that you were finally in sight of land.
And Happy Birthday, too.

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Jackson Four on Tour
Who: Mark, Catherine, Mia and Lachlan
Port: Lefkas, Greece
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