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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The elusive manta

3 August 2011
Eric and Whit turned up at our boat much earlier than usual this morning after the highest wave of the high tide had washed up around their sleeping bags on the beach. Tee hee. So, it was a lovely breakfast of porridge and coffee before some fishy action was noticed just out of the bay. All the boys jumped into the dinghy in their "must catch fish" hunter gatherer role and spent the next few hours snorkelling with borrowed spearguns and generally getting out of the hull cleaning mission we had booked for the day! Mark spotted a manta, but Lochy didn't see it. Then I saw one off the boat, but Mia didn't see it. Mia and I therefore had a girly spa kind of morning, cutting each other's hair. It actually took me about an hour to get through her dreadlocks, but we now both have tidy haircuts to match the boys' (so don't worry Gran and Grandma!!).
Then I took to the water in my wetsuit and a scourer to ensure that my role of 'boat scrubber' remains intact, whilst pondering the benefits of owning a monohull after all. Ah well, that's what I have crew for - they can do the other hull!! The boys came back with precisely no fish but plenty of excuses as to why they couldn't catch them.
The 3 boat mums took to the beach in the afternoon with the kids but beat a hasty retreat not much later due to all the mozzies. Boat Dad number 3 came over with a skipjack tuna he had just caught after 10 minutes fishing off the dinghy. Unfortunately for him, he is allergic to fish. Fortunately for us, we could have sushi and Tahitian style raw tuna with coconut milk and lemon juice. Tomorrow we head back to Hive Oa to offload Whit and Eric. Lochy's response to us leaving tomorrow? "But we can't go. We haven't swam with mantas yet." "Don't worry darling, there'll be more in the Tuamotos." Christmas in Lanzarote, Easter in Grenada and Summer in Marquesas. Not a bad year holiday wise for the kids!

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Another day in paradise

2 August 2011
But the boat still needs to be cleaned, both inside and out. Whit and Eric paid their way by cleaning the bottom of the hull with Mark and also removing the new rudder which just needed a bit of tweaking because it had been rattling. Before the boat cleaning mission, we had dragged the kids (literally on a boogy board with the dinghy!) round the bay looking for the manta rays, but except for a couple of stingrays, we didn't see anything and the water is a bit chillier than in the Caribbean so they weren't keen to stay in for so long. Then Goody turned up and another French boat with a couple and a baby and so it was back to making bread dough for the fire, apple crumble, a salad to go with the fish. The kids had a great time collecting wood for the fire, lemons for the drinks and splashing in the sea. By the time everyone else arrived, Lochy, Mia, Johannes and I had made a great fire and had bread on the go and so we had time for a hermit crab race (as you do) then the kids fell asleep on the picnic rug until we had to wake them for the dinghy ride home. So maybe tomorrow we will see the manta rays.....

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Shark bait

1 August 2011
Whit and Eric camped out on the beach for the night, fighting off the hermit crabs and rain, whilst we had a lovely night on board Pegasus, just the Jackson Four. We lay on the trampoline and watched 6 or 7 shooting stars before heading to bed. In the morning, we didn't see the manta rays, but there is always tomorrow! Eric and Whit were invited by some fishermen to go spearfishing with them and were in big boy heaven, hunting and gathering for the day. We told them not to come back unless they had something for dinner, which they duly did - red snapper, parrot fish, grouper and an octopus for dinner. The boys gutted, scaled and filleted the fish (definitely a blue job) and then went about cutting up the octopus. Not an easy job. I was rapidly running out of cooking books and none of them said how to cook an octopus. When they gave up the task because the octopus was just too damn slippery, we chucked it overboard and quickly attracted a couple of reef sharks. Exciting stuff. We spent the next hour or so baiting the sharks and got some good close up encounters (all from the safety of the boat!!) Then, another evening with a fire on the beach, fish, wine, bread, hermit crabs (they were the entertainment not the food!) Another perfect day. I felt truly privileged to experience what I did today. No other boat in the anchorage, just the sound of the waves on the beach and the sea birds. A beautiful bay.

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Eric the great!!

31 July 2011

We first heard about Eric when Gruffalo asked us to look out for him to apologise for not being able to take him on their boat. Hiva Oa is a tiny place so it didn't take long before we had met him and passed on the message. Eric is a zoologist and so Lochy is in animal heaven talking at him. He is also English but with a French mother, so has been an excellent go between for the English and French speaking boats! ("Eric, what's the French for propeller?!") As he was unable to find a boat to take him onto Tahiti in time for his flight, we offered to take him to Tahuata for a few days with us. When he turned up with 6 baguettes, he was already in my good books, us not having made into town in time to buy any for the past 3 days!! But when he said he was a search and rescue diver and offered to look for our propeller, we jumped at the chance! A French boat has a compressor on board and lent us the air, Goody lent us the equipment and within 30 minutes Eric emerged triumphantly with the black propeller that he had found half sunk in the black mud below. Mark didn't actually kiss him, but I think he was close!!
So with a new propeller (and a spare one on the way) and a boat full of clean laundry - I took all the laundry ashore and blitzed everything - we headed off to Tahuata. About 90 minutes away. Then it was onto the beach with Alchemist, and a lovely evening with a fire, a leg of lamb, some of Lochy's lemon cake, and some wine. I wrapped some dough I had made around some sticks and we toasted them in the fire - delicious! A perfect day.

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Island Hopping

30 July 2011

We've now got the bikes out for the kids, so at least (for them!!) the walk to town is not too bad. Goody, our friends from South Africa arrived at 1am the other night and we were able to guide them in in the dark, so their older son who is 4 has spent the last two days with our kids and now can even ride his bike by himself as a result of wanting to keep up with Lochy! Two days in a row, Jacolette and I took the kids into town as we had it on good authority that there was going to be Polynesian dancing and festivities, but unfortunately, we either had the wrong time or we were misinformed, so we'll have to hope we see some on the other islands. Mark is feeling very sorry for himself - no angry with himself as another boat had a spare prop he was going to buy off them. As he was putting it on to see if it fitted, it fell into the sea and despite him snorkelling and Joop from goody then Scuba diving, they couldn't see it. Just as well Mark's mum is sending us one. We have a couple of jobs to do this morning, then we are going to Tahuata, a little island just an hour away, where we can just chill out and do jobs around the boat. The kids will be able to swim with mantas and we can have fires on the beach at night. There is no village nearby so no provisions or internet, but we'll get the hull scrubbed and stuff like that. So we'll be on sailmail and then back to Hiva Oa to drop Whit off for his flight in a few days, when the provisions run out!

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08/10/2011 | rose marie
hi you all seem to be well and enjoying yourselves. maybe mark should use the system that the astronauts use by tying objects(ie props etc) to the rails!
love to all rose marie
The long walk to town

27 July 2011
Waking up in Baie Taaoa was amazing - a mountain towers over the bay, with a shroud of cloud at the summit. Coconut trees line the beach (which actually isn't a very special beach - dark sand and not much to write home about.) The water is a bit murky and also the bay is a shark nursery so swimming is probably out of the question whilst we are here. And then there's the walk to town. There are no facilities as such in the bay, except water which is welcome, so we all walked the two miles up and over the coast to the next bay where the town Atuona is and where you find the gendarmeries to check in. Unfortunately we all had to go but we thought the exercise would do us good. Once we were there, Whit had to either show his airline ticket out of the country or pay a bond of $1000, so it was to the bank, to the travel agent, then to lunch and then back to the Gendarmerie who told us to come back tomorrow at 7am, despite having told us to come back after lunch in the morning. Ah, the joys of checking in.....On the way back, we thought we'd try hitching as we were told that everyone stops and offers lifts. Obviously, as there were 5 of us, we thought it would be more sensible to split up. Mark and Whit went ahead with the heavy shopping bags and got a lift immediately. Lochy, Mia and I walked the 1 hour all the way back, with no one stopping for us. I wouldn't have minded, but I think the kids had forgotten what it was like to walk (walking never having been their strong point in the first place!) Still, we certainly got rid of any restless energy they may have accumulated during the trip. Impressions of French Polynesia so far. Beautiful island, beautiful friendly people. Lots of tattoos. where would my next tattoo look good??!!

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07/31/2011 | Karen & Nigel
Congratulations to you all. We are in awe of your achievements.
We have just been to Venice and now making our way back to Lefkas. Stay happy and Safe. xxx

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