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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Whit's first full day's sail

8 MAy 2011

And he's still alive! In fact, he's had a very gentle, lovely introduction to long-distance sailing. Yesterday, we had light winds and so were motor sailing with just our genoa out. Then this morning, there was just enough wind for our spinnekar, so we have had all sorts of different combinations of sails today, with spinny just been taken down now it's sunset. Wind has picked up slightly to a lovely 20 knots and so we are thoroughly enjoying good sailing conditions. Our watch sytem is 4 hours on 8 hours off. I have the easy watches 6-10am/pm Mark has 10-2 and Whit 2-6am/pm. We sold the hardest watch well to Whit, saying that he gets to see both the sunset and the sunrise and went on about how wonderful it was to be by yourself at night with only the stars for company!
When the boys were sleeping this morning, Mia, Lochy and I had a water fight on the trampoline which was a lot of fun, cooled us down and I even managed to get some of that soapy stuff they call shampoo on the kids' hair. Lochy said "it's really nice to be back at sea, isn't it mum?" and Mia has been pleased that she hasn't felt sick at all because the swell is behind us. Happy days. Current position: 12.21.26N 64.24.79W

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touch and go but eventually go

7 May 2011
We have officially left Grenada! Mia announced on the radio net in the morning that we were leaving today. Touch and go for a while as to whether we would actually leave. Each small job took much longer than anticipated, with me at the top of the mast for at least an hour trying to feed a halyard back into place. Then, off to Rikky and Kim's to clean up all signs of Mark having worked there for the past couple of weeks. We bought the rudder back to the boat, once again Whit and Mark jumped in whilst I guided it in from the top. Tried to get the bolt in. Didn't line up. In a quiet aside to Whit, I remarked "don't be surprised if we don't leave today" (it was already 2pm.) But Mark clearly had other ideas and pointed out the bearing at the top wasn't in place, adjusted it and pheeeeeyou the bolt fitted in snug as a proverbial bug. So, off to customs, fuel and water berth to fill up. All of us showering whilst the water was going in, so we could top up our tanks again, and then, at 4pm, we left Prickly Bay. I don't think Whit could actually believe we had left. I don't think I could. We've settled into a watch system (more on that tomorrow) but I am tired, have just come off watch, so am off to bed, as I will be up again at 4am. Night night all. Position: 12.09.05N 62.16.98W

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Rudders in and raring to go.......
05/06/2011, Nearly out of Prickly Bay

We've been busy. The boat is ship shape and ready to go. We have our new rudder in, thanks to Mark and Whit in the water guiding it in and me at the top pulling on a bit of string, holding my breath, whilst waiting to see if the bolt would go through at the correct place on the shaft. Because we would have been shafted if it hadn't. We only have to put the other one in tomorrow morning, fill up with fuel and water, check out of customs and we're off. The kids have had a great time here in Grenada with other boat kids and so we all headed over to de Big Fish to say goodbye to all their friends tonight. Fresh produce in the fridge, Mark's tools back where they belong - boat's looking good! This blog's a little disjointed as my mind is on other things (what have we forgotten? Will Whit find his sea legs? Where am I going to put those extra tins now Mark has taken one of my cupboards away? ) so I'll end there for now. We are more than likely heading straight for Panama - 1080nms, so I'll try to update as we sail, but if the SSB radio isn't playing ball, we'll next update in about 10-12 days time. xx

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We have a rudder!!!
05/05/2011, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Mark has just come back to the boat with a fully operational, shiny new (drumroll........) rudder! Having camped at Rikky and Kim's for the past two weeks he has proved that he wasn't just drooling over the good looking sunbathing medical student tenants but he was actually making a rudder!
Also (is there no end to Mark's talents?) when he came home from a long day at the office, he quickly installed the water filter that Whit bought over from the US with him ("heh, Whit, great to meet you. Did you bring the water filter?") A relatively (compared to making a rudder) easy job which means we now don't have to worry about single handedly creating a plastic bottle mountain in the local landfill (no recycling in the Caribbean, except in the French islands). We've bought all the materials for a water catcher, so will be able to top up the tanks as we go though the Pacific.
So, a productive couple of days. Whit tightened the trampoline, we've put new batons in our mainsail and put a new reef line in as our old one was chafed. Still awake? I'm just including these jobs so you know we've been busy and some people might have a clue what we are talking about!
So, when are we leaving? Fingers and toes crossed, Saturday. Tomorrow we will put in rudder number one in the morning, Mark will finish painting the newly reinforced rudder number two ready for installation in the evening and I will stock up with fresh provisions. We may or may not stop at Bonaire, all depending on if there is a good weather window. Stopping or not stopping will only be decided once we are on the go. If we're enjoying a good wind, we'll head straight for Panama, start the paper chase that's involved in the crossing of the canal and if we have time before our crossing date, head back to San Blas islands. I'm getting excited........

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05/04/2011, Prickly Bay, Grenada

We're slowly but surely getting there! Today Mia and Mark put the first coat of anti-foul on the rudder. A big whoop for all Mark's hard work, please. At this stage, my brother must be pleased he didn't choose to sail with us for the last two weeks of April (Whit's probably already counting all the things he could have doing over the past two weeks other than sit on our dirty boat!) Actually, we thought it high time we tested Whit's cooking skills, as neither of his references alluded to his culinary skills! He's made a school boy error though on his first meal aboard. It was delicious - roast duck with pumpkin, beetroot and carrots. If he had been clever, he'd have messed up, and then i'd have said, "you know Whit, why don't you just stick to the night watches, I've got the cooking covered!" but he's now going to have to take his turn at 'mother watch' because frankly, he cooks better than me.
Actually, we had two good meals today; Lochy and Mia made pizzas for lunch, about all the school I could manage today after a lively night at de Big Fish, saying goodbye to Rob and Sarah from Seraphina who have hauled out for the season. Yesterday was a busy kiddy day, with, at one point 5 kids onboard - Mia and Lochy are lucky to have friends on tap here in Prickly Bay. The best way to keep all the kids out of the 'workshop' ie the cockpit was just to chuck them into the water - obviously, the jellyfish stings a distant memory for all. Only 3 months ago, the kids could barely swim. Now they are jumping off the top step of the boat and off the trampoline into the water with all their friends, as you can see by the photo. We might have been stuck in Grenada for a while, but we couldn't have picked better people to be stuck with.

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Jelly fish stings and other things
05/02/2011, Prickly Bay, Grenada

So, what's new? Lochy is onto his 5th Harry Potter book. I guess if you are going to have obsessions, it's nice to have replaced the wii with reading. Mia is making a dragon book - lots of dragons on our boat at the moment, with both kids loving the 'how to train your dragon' series of books (the film not a patch on the book in my humble opinion!) Whit has been given a list to go through ( the purple list). He started well, by scrubbing the bottom of the boat, a job which was reluctantly transferred from the pink list (can't believe he stole that job off me!) and has been introduced to Hedley Le Maitre's "Take that Grouville" to get a cultural taste of Jersey. Much to our delight he can't get the words out of his head. We'll make him a bean yet!
Mark has been making rudders and I have been trying to get the kids back into school. We took Finn and Oscar from Xicale to the beach this afternoon where all the kids had great fun jumping off the pontoons, until Finn got stung by a jellyfish. He's a tough little cookie (unlike my delicate two, who would have let the whole beach know if they'd been stung!) who nonchalently strolled out of the sea to tell me he'd been stung. The dive school next door gave us some vinegar to put on and then I delivered him back to his boat, apologising to his parents for the fact that he had growing welts on his arm and stomach!
An early night for all, as a trip to the local hardware store beckons tomorrow for the next important job on the purple list - making a potato cannon!!

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