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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Not such a lucky lure

12 June 2011
Never a dull day at sea! Will start with reporting that thankfully, due to me using an imaginative way of re-introducing the times tables, we actually had fun during school today. We had the usual moans about diary, but I'd miss that if it weren't there (!) Having started at 7.30am, we had finished by 10.30am, so got the kids doing the dishes and then all enjoyed playing board games together in the afternoon. At 4.30pm, Mia asked if she could put out the fishing lure. At which point she managed to hook herself onto the lure. Now I'm not talking about a little scratch here. No, she had actually got the hook well and truly embedded in her hand, with the barb nowhere to be seen. So Mark and I spend the next hour, firstly cutting the rest of the lure off the hook, so we only have to deal with the half inch of metal that is in her hand. Now every good fisherman will know that if you get a fish hook caught in your hand, you simply push the hook through until it comes out of the skin, and then cut the barb off before pulling the rest of the hook out. Try telling that to an 8 year old. However, once again, Mia's courage and bravery blew me away as she and I "HypnoBirthed" our way through Mark pushing the hook forward through her skin, cutting the end off and then pulling it out, leaving two tiny puncture marks. In fact, Mia probably made more fuss about having the alcohol put on the wound at the end than the whole of the rest of the 'operation.' Now, 3 hours later, she reports it doesn't hurt at all, however we have started her on antibiotics just in case. Let it be said, my daughter is made of sterner stuff than me, who had to have a little cry in the cabin after, whilst finding the sweeties to placate all. And, now, everyone is asleep except me. We are under sail alone, not necessarily in the ideal direction, but it's nice to have the engines off, albeit at a slightly sedate rate of 4 knots. After the excitement of today, I am happy to take thing slowly for a wee while. Can I stress, that Mia is fine and was bouncing around the boat less than three hours later. Once again, Mia is fine! POsition: 04.50.83N 79.29.76W

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SSB glitch

11 June 2011

Wow, the Pacific is ALIVE!! We have not had an hour go by today without one of us shouting to come and see the wildlife. Just as the kids were getting complacent about dolphins, we had a show of somersaults, flips and splashes from the biggest dolphins we have seen to date, a truly magnificent sight. Then a bunch of pilots whales again came past the boat, followed by a three hour show of Spanish mackerel (I think) leaping out of the water comedy style. The flock of pretty birds (yet to be identified!) dwindled until there was just one solitary bird following our boat, but all in all a busy Attenborough type of day. As I tried to send the last e mail, I couldn't get the blasted SSB to work. What with that and the satellite phone not working, I thought I was going to be in big trouble with the mother in law, so I pulled out all the stops to fix the SSB and noticed a cable I had not reconnected after our lightening incident the day before. Pheeeew. School girl error. Talking of which, back to school tomorrow. We've had about a three week half term (oops!) so tomorrow we are gently re-introducing some of the more structured stuff (maths, literacy etc.) Whilst I'd like to think that the whole experience of the trip is education itself and today was a practical experience, it nevertheless won't do to have the kids get to their next school and know the mating signals of a cormorant but not know their 4 times table! I'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This is a sailing quote but goes well with the whole teaching Lochy thang. Wish me luck.

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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.

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