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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
spiritual refreshment!
Catherine
06/07/2011, Bahai Temple, Panama City

As I was on the bus coming back from Colon last week, I caught sight of an egg shaped building on the top of a hill and it just triggered my memory that I had seen a picture of this temple before. A little google search reminded me that it was one of 7 Bahai temples in the world. As I am Bahai, it would have been a shame to miss out on having the opportunity to visit, and so Mia and I had a little girls' adventure, taking local buses, getting on the wrong bus, meeting a lovely man who directed us to the right bus and then taking a taxi up the very steep hill. The temple is indeed known as the Templo Huevo (egg temple) and being built in 1972 (a fine year by all accounts!) it has a very Mr Man-esque appearance, but the atmosphere inside is anything but Roger Hargreaves. 9 doors in every temple represent the doorways allowing all the 9 major religions to come together to pray give the temple a beautiful airy feeling and amplify the birdsong and breeze in the trees outside. Every Sunday there is a devotional meeting at 10am where scriptures from all the major religions are read. I wish I had known about that! At the temple I met the Panamian Bahais and also an American and Samoan Bahai and after spending some wonderfully quiet time in the temple, was invited to join the community for lunch. Mia and I then walked back donw the hill and caught the right bus for 25 cents back to the boat. Just what I needed. Today (Tuesday) I checked us out of Panama and so tomorrow or the next day we will be ready to go.

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06/08/2011 | Audrey Mike
It was such a wonderful treat to visit with you, Catherine, and Mia here at the Baha'i Temple for Latin America. Thank you for taking the time to be here. I will be eager to now keep up with your journal of this unique family sailing adventure! It is great that you are keeping up with recording words as the experience unfolds.
I have posted five beautiful photos of the two of you on my facebook and will attempt to send them via email to you today. I cannot find you on facebook. You can find me Audrey Mike Parker.
Blessings on YOU FOUR!!!
a bit deflated
Catherine
06/05/2011, Panama City

Took a while for me to write this blog after the excitement of going through the canal. This has been a week of frustration, torrential downpours, sweltering heat, emotional downers and 7 hour round trips to achieve very little.
However, Mark and I have now pulled ourselves together and attempting to look at what we have achieved and got rather than what we haven't achieved or got. We have fixed the wind generator. We have fashioned a water catcher (of sorts) We have been up the mast again and diagnosed the problem of the AIS (now for fixing it) We have taken down the main halyard and measured it (now for replacing it) It is really difficult to get anything here in Panama City without a few hours round trip in taxis.
Mia and Lochy have linked up with Emma and Joshua from Gruffalo (and for a while there, Lochy and Emma were planning getting married) and it has been great linking up with a boat that has already done this once before. Ame and Darren have been great in imparting their knowledge and also been equally as frustrated as us here in Panama. It's great to say "this is crap - I'm not having fun" to them and them saying "I know" rather than "well, that's what sailing is all about; it's part of the challenge" I know it's part of the challenge it would just be nice if SOMETHING could work without breaking.
We're looking forward to the next leg and Galapagos; even though it's going to cost us a fortune. Sorry, this is a moaning blog, but it's costing us about $1000 to visit and we're sailing there ourselves and staying on our boat when we get there. All of a sudden you need an agent now, and I still haven't established what they actually do for you.
Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. I think I had better finish now, but just be glad I didn't write this three days ago - this is me on a good day :-) Hoping to leave Panama on Tues/Wed.

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06/07/2011 | dee
O'VIVE PACIFIC CROSSING posted over a week ago about his experience in using an agent. Perhaps email him and find out who he recommended as he passed on two dodgy ones and he saved over $600 by doing so. Good luck and enjoy reading your blog.
No turning back!
Catherine
05/29/2011, Pacific Ocean!

I'm up at 5am baking bread for the 8 crew we have on board and then I wake everyone up at 7.30am as our next adviser (another Rick) turns up to help us through the next set of locks. It takes about 4 hours to get to the next set of locks, and once Rick has given us directions (follow that boat in front) he catches up on some shut eye, as he only got one hour sleep last night. Going through the next set of locks is a breeze as we are rafted up to a larger catamaran and they do all the steering, so Mark and I can relax and enjoy the experience. By about 2pm we are sailing under the Bridge of America, dropping off our extra crew and anchoring at La Playita, a much nicer place than Colon and within view of the skyrise horizon of Panama City. And ......sleep....... No turning back now!! We'll have to go all the way round. I am very excited to be in the Pacific Ocean. A dream of a lifetime.

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05/31/2011 | Jason
Wow! A whole new ocean! Very excited for you.
today's the day! (hopefully!)
Catherine
05/28/2011, Colon, Panama


Well, we've confirmed that we have to be at the Flats today (Saturday) at 2pm in preparation for the transit. It will be evening when we transit and then we will spend the night at anchor in the Gatun lake. Our agent wasn't able to get us two line handlers at short notice, only one, but we were fortunate to bump into a French sailor who was wanting to be a line handler for the experience, so we pick him up this morning. Then we'll be heading over to Shelter Bay Marina for fuel, to meet the elusive Erick for tyres and long mooring lines and pick up parcels and letters. Oh yeah, and to re-do the laundry that still needs doing! Whit spent all day yesterday on the internet trying to sort out places for cards to be sent and airline tickets. Getting his stuff back is looking unlikely. Now what shall I cook to keep the adviser and line handlers happy? Off to the shops for one last provision!

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Crossing the isthmus
Catherine
05/28/2011, Gatun Locks


Arriving at the Flats in the most torrential rain, we waited 7 hours for our adviser to arrive, watching as the 6 other yachts received their advisers and headed off towards the locks. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that no one was going to turn up but Ronaldo, our linehandler kept saying "no, he'll come." And so he did at 9.30pm. As we were the last boat standing, we were to go through the lock by ourselves, so no rafting up and all linehandlers needed. Mia and Lochy stayed awake for the whole process, being the chief photographers. Mark and I privately kept our fingers crossed that our starboard engine that chooses when it goes into gear would actually go into gear and not misbehave. Going through the locks was just an amazing experience. I think Whit and I felt a little bit nervous that one of us would be the weak link, however, we received the monkey fists they lob down onto the boat and tied a bowline and then once we realised we only had to do that once, we relaxed a little, bringing in the slack as the water rose, giving slack as the men on shore walked us to the next lock. By 11.30pm we were rafted up to a buoy in Gatun lake and saying cheerio to Rick, our excellent adviser.

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The dirty business of laundry
Catherine
05/27/2011, Colon, Panama


So, we phone up the office in charge of dates and heh presto, our date has been changed to 29 May (Sunday) with a chance it may be Saturday, so that's better! Whit, Lochy and I head to the laundromat to do about 5 loads of washing. Unfortunately, the taxi driver took us to the dodgiest part of town and Whit got his bag snatched, complete with his computer, cameras and his and my wallet (that I had given to him for safe keeping!) The police came along within 10 minutes and we spent the next 6 hours at the police station giving statements and descriptions. Lochy by far got the best look at the kids as they nearly took his Harry Potter book, whereas Whit and I were so incredulous we didn't even look at them. They very inconveniently snatched his bag before we had tumbled our washing (pouring with rain) and we then proceeded to carry 5 bags of wet laundry around in the police cars, looking like right plonkers. Today, as I hung them out to dry, I realised they were ponging due to being wet all day, so I still have to do it all again! Crap for Whit to lose his computer, however, luckily, we were all fine and that's the main thing. Having cancelled all our cards today, we were relieved that no money had gone out of accounts (they had plenty in cash, anyway.) The police station phoned club nautico who sent along their agent (who we are not using) who spent the day being our interpreters and promising that they would drive to the area as they know the gang leader and get our stuff back. We are not holding our breaths. When we told our agent, Erick, he said "that's why I don't come over to Club Nautico area; it's too dangerous." We still haven't met him! Whilst we were gone, Mark and Mia had successfully signed us in to Colon, luckily with all our passports, so at least we have those.
Latest update - we transit tomorrow: Saturday 28 May. Yippee!!

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05/29/2011 | Kirsty Swart
Just caught up on 3 mths of your blog adventures...in between checking the webcam at Mirafloris however looks like that red container ship is blocking all traffic! What an amazing adventure you're having! Tell Lochy it was a great idea not to swim with the Portugese Man O' Wars as their tentacles are torture!!! We get tons of them in Bda at this time of year.

Where are you going in Galapagos? We were there this time last year and had an amazing time!

Happy sailing.

love
Kirsty

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