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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
It's good to be back at sea!

11 June 2011

10/11 june 2011
Man, it feels good to be back at sea. After a good night's sleep, we slipped anchor at 6am, at one point wondering whether we were going to bring someone else's chain up with ours. However, all was good and we sneaked out of the anchorage. Even by 8am it was hot and we were regularly dipping into the ice we had bought with us. Absolutely no wind (you may think there's a pattern here, but hold that thought!) and so just motoring out of Panama. At this time of year (and quite a lot of the year) the wind is on the nose to the Galapagos, so it's going to be a slow old trip. Nevertheless, as I said, it's so lovely to be not rushing around and just putting away and tying down last minute things. We felt that the engines weren't keeping up their usual speed. After deciding it probably had a lot to do with the barnacles and other growth on the bottom of our boat, we made a little detour to Las Perlas, a group of islands in the bay of Panama to drop anchor for a couple of hours and scrub away the worst of it. So by 5.30pm we were off again, thinking we were in for a gentle motor through the night. How wrong were we?! First, we had a boat's length of fishing line/wire hook itself onto our anchor. After congratulating ourselves on detaching it from said anchor without fouling the prop we had our second test of the night. Our first foray into the world of lightening storms took us completely by surprise, as there was nothing we could see that was forecast other than light/no wind. Mark didn't even have time to gut the two fish he had just caught using his new lures, before we were lifejacketed up and tied on, with an introductory gust of 50 knots, we estimated. We didn't know for sure as we had already disconnected all the antennae and turned off all battery power. As Mark said it wasn't a matter of if we were hit, it was more likely to be when we were hit. There was so much thunder and lightening right on top of us, if we weren't the tallest metal object in the area, I would have been mightily impressed. I was mightily impressed we got away with two hours of lightening and no hits and thankful that the kids slept through the whole excitement. Also, that the sea was completely flat throughout, due to the torrential rain.
This morning, we are back to no winds and a little cloud cover and have enjoyed about 20 birds joining us on the boat that are so tame we could touch them (we had to as they were so inept at walking, we had to rescue them when they got stuck between our jerry cans! ) dolphin displays and a pod of about 6 pilot whales lumber past our boat. We've also seen whole trees float past us with birds perching on the horizontal trunk! The other birds have been with us for hours now, to the point where the kids are actually now ignoring them and have gone back to reading!! This is a long blog - I hope it goes through OK on snailmail. More again soon, love Cath xx

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06/14/2011 | Scott Jones
I suppose sometimes you dont think that anyone is reading, well Im in Dubai UAE and and have been followign you since you left Panama, I have a 5yr old girl and 3 yr old son and thinking of the same adventure, good on you, great parenting and all the best cheers and safe winds, Scott
06/26/2011 | Catherine Jackson
thanks Scott, go for it; there are ups and downs but the ups are well worth it!! Your kids are the perfect age to soak it all up! It's good to know someone is reading the blog ;-)
off to Galapagos
06/09/2011, Panama City

New halyard up check. AIS working check (and have already been told by three different people they have spotted us on!) provisions check. Phoned mums check. All ready to go and excited, however, it is peeing with rain and we spent a little too long speaking on skype so going to have one last night of good sleep and go at first light. Will keep updates whilst we are sailing to watch this space!

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spiritual refreshment!
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
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!
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!)
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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Jackson Four on Tour
Who: Mark, Catherine, Mia and Lachlan
Port: Lefkas, Greece
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