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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Another day another island
04/10/2011, St Vincent and the Grenadines

I love St V and the G's - if anyone wants to charter for a couple of weeks, this is surely the best place ever to do it - every island is just a short hop away and every island is so beautiful. We had promised the kids that they could snorkel one more time before we left Tobago Cays but it was rainy, so only Mia wanted to go. We pulled up anchor at 11am, just after I had been completely swizelled by a vendor who sold me a baguette and a banana loaf for forty EC (a tenner) before I had realised the exchange rate and had a chance to use my bartering skills from India. Just a short hop to Union Island - enjoyed a meal with Copihue in the evening at the yacht club - Lochy was excited to see nurse sharks there until he realised that they were in an enclosure and not in the wild; then he wanted to set them free! Got absolutely soaked on the way home - that's the problem with open top transport! Next day, Mark and the kids checked out whilst I tidied the boat (laundry - it's a hard life!) and now we are in Carriacou after a really lovely sail for a couple of hours. Haven't checked in as we are leaving really early tomorrow morning for Grenada and so haven't been ashore. Then hey ho hey ho, it's buying rudders we go..........

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Eat your heart out David Attenborough
04/09/2011, Tobago Cays

We started the day with a wander around our very own desert island and I had my zoom lens on the camera so got some really great photos of the iguanas. There must have been 20 or so. I'm not sure who was more excited; me or Lochy! Then the kids jumped straight back in the water for some swimming with turtles. Unfortunately the underwater camera is not behaving itself and so we didn't get any good photos. Later, Copihue came by and took us by dinghy to the outer reef. It's sad to see that most of the coral is dead, having been hit by the last hurricane, but the fish were beautiful and we were all really excited to see a large stingray; no nurse sharks though. Picnic lunch on another deserted island with Copihue; the kids having a great time playing in the surf and boogy boarding. Mia played in the water until her ear hurt; not surprising given that she spends more time in the water than out these days. The evening was spent with me learning my new skills for the week - using the sewing machine. Having bought some material for the cushions in Bequia, I have started by making the seat for the helm. Cursing Mark the whole time for designing a seat with a curved edge, I nevertheless managed to fashion a cushion that actually looks pretty good, pleats and all! I shall be offered to helm to Union Island tomorrow, Now I have a nice comfy seat on which to park my derriere!

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Swimming with turtles
04/08/2011, Tobago Cays

We left Bequia a day later than anticipated, simply because the kids were having a great time with Bella and so why not stay another day?! At about 9.30am we left for Tobago Cays - a horseshoe shaped reef in turquoise water - simply beautiful. We are anchored in about 2 metres of water just West of the island that has a turtle sanctuary buoyed off where you can snorkel but not anchor. Even before we had anchored we had seen three turtles and so the kids had their swimmers on before the engines were turned off and they checked that the anchor had dug in, before heading off to the buoyed area. All four of us snorkelled for about an hour before I inevitably got cold - well, the water is 31 degrees, 7 degrees off a hot tub's temperature! I took a little wander on the uninhabited island and was delighted to see both tortoises and iguanas. Lochy was desperate to see some after Samba saw a load in Martinique after we left. So, I quickly got the kids and Mark out of the water and we were mesmerised by the 7 or 8 iguanas we saw, all about a metre or so long. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera with us so we will go back tomorrow in the dinghy with an empty memory chip at the ready. On the way back to the boat, we swam with some turtles and saw a stingray - just a baby one. Mia and Lochy were excited to see Oscar on Copihue when we arrived and we joined them on the beach, and after on their boat, for drinks. Simply a beautiful beautiful wooden 60 foot one design ketch with teak throughout - a far far cry from our plastic fantastic. The owners have spent 10 careful years refitting her exactly for their sailing trip and the detail is just wonderful. So, tomorrow will be a David Attenborough kind of day, both on land and in the sea. Can't wait!!

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something amiss
04/07/2011, Bequia

We shall look back on Bequia and say to each other, "Bequia. Wasn't that the place we discovered we only had one rudder?"
You might think that it is rather careless to lose ones rudder. The reason we realised it was missing is because, as we were coming down from St Lucia I said to Mark that we should check the rudders as the steering hasn't felt very good for a little while. Pegasus was still steering but she felt not so responsive. ANd we also thought our auto-pilot had started to play up. I can pinpoint the exact time we lost our rudder in retrospect. And I'm abit embarrassed to admit that it was about five days away from Antigua, crossing the Atlantic. It had been very windy and I wrote in my blog that the autopilot was playing up. No wonder, poor bugger was working overtime trying to keep us in a straight line!
Both Mark and I have been under the boat, cleaning the fur off the bottom and whilst I had asked Mark what that tube was under the hull that I hadn't noticed before, neither of us had noticed the lack of a 4 foot high 2 foot wide rudder. Oh well, at least we have another one :-)
We only noticed half an hour before going out to dinner with Isabella and her parents from Esprit de Mer so we haven't decided what we are going to do yet. Pegasus obviously sails without the other rudder (we've only had one for 2 months!) but we need one before going through Panama, so somewhere along the line, Mia is going to have to whip one up out of lego.
Aside from the rudder discovery, the kids have had a great time with Isabella again (of the snorkelling across to our boat fame) for the last two days. Esprit de Mer treated us to a lovely meal at the Gingerbread restaurant - thank you very much!! And Mia has taken her swimming badge for Brownies - I have the video evidence!!

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Beautiful, Beautiful Bequia
04/05/2011, Bequia

We are loving Bequia. The beaches are beautiful, the people are beautiful and friendly, the island is just lovely. Yesterday we took a taxi round the island - it was an open backed taxi so we had the wind blowing in our hair and the smell of jasmine and frangipani all around us. First stop was the turtle sanctuary - the kids were enthralled by the tiny little babies, and then the larger ones which are nearly ready for release. Mia decided she wanted to give some of her charity money she had made selling her cards to the turtle sanctuary. It seems, however, that whilst the sanctuary are successfully rearing turtles and releasing them back into the sea, poachers are still killing them and they are still for sale in the fish markets. I don't think it's illegal to kill a turtle for its meat here, but it is illegal to make jewellery from their shells - there's still plenty for sale in the market stalls though. We'd like to think that the sanctuary is helping in some small way to ensure that the babies have some chance of survival.
We're off school for the week - we were all getting a bit tired of it and I then realised that we were due a holiday so where better than here? Even better then that we have bumped into Isabella on Esprit de Mer, who we met first in Antigua all those weeks back! They've had a great day together today with more play dates planned for tomorrow. Bit of a boring blog today, but there's not much to report- I'll try to be more inspired/inspiring next blog, I promise!

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04/15/2011 | John Butterfield
Hi Guys, I'm so pleased I found the contact details. I am in Yorkshire trying to get the work moving on the cottage. What is the best way to have a longer email contact? Great to know you are all well and having a brilliant time. Lots of love, John
One more night in St Lucia!
04/03/2011, Soufriere

We headed South to Anse Cochon fairly early yesterday morning so that we could get a quick snorkel in as it was supposed to be good in that bay. It was clearly good by all the commercial diving boats and tourist boats that were zooming in and out of the bay, making us feel a bit vulnerable when in the water. However, I suppose they know what they are doing. Lochy and Mia were really excited to see loads of reef fish and coral so it was worth it. It's difficult to avoid the boat boys as you come in to a mooring spot in St Lucia as they are actually holding on to the ropes and waiting for you. Whilst I don't begrudge giving them some EC for their help, I did wonder where they were at 6am this morning when we tried to leave our Soufriere mooring buoy and the ropes were in a complete knot. Copihue, Mia and Lochy's Finnish friend's boat was leaving for Bequia at that time and we thought that it would be a good incentive to put some miles behind us and travel with them. As they easily slipped their mooring and headed South past the Pitons, Mark resorted to jumping in the water and actually cutting our mooring lines with a knife, when all else had failed. So, we are currently sailing down the West coast of St Vincent, but going to give it a miss, heading for Bequia instead. Copihue, a 60 foot ketch, is miles ahead and out of sight!
I'm not sure what I thought of St Lucia. In Soufriere, the Finnish boat had a guard posted to their boat as recommended by their restaurant, because thefts occur when people go ashore. Whilst we stayed on the boat the night, I didn't really sleep a wink whilst my imagine ran riot. At least that meant we were up at 6am!! Not sad to be on the move again.

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