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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
More sorting out!

8 August 2011
we all trooped ashore and did another mammoth laundry session and took it in turns to have a shower in the one open-air shower - one with the best view in the world!! Mark reminded me how much I've toughened up as when we arrived in Antigua I was super upset that we had to pay $2 for the showers AND THEY WERE COLD!!! Now, it's so nice to have fast running water that I haven't had to lug to the boat in jerry cans, that I don't mind that they're cold. The kids have probably had more showers this week than in the past 3 months!!! Ah, we were soft in the Caribbean. Pontoons to pull alongside for fuel and water, jetties to tie your dinghy up against, internet on the boat. There's none of that mamby pamby luxury here. God, I miss it!! However, we have definitely grown as far as sailing is concerned. We'll miss the extra sleep without the extra crew, but we feel that, though the learning will never stop, we can actually pass on some advice to other boats, now we're not the newbies anymore, and it feels good to have grown in confidence. Off to Nuka Hiva today or tomorrow - it'll be an overnighter but we'd like the clothes to be dry before we leave and it's pouring with rain now. One thing's for sure, I'm not going back into town with the kids. I've walked the walk. The baguettes can wait.

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Marquesian wedding crashers

7 August 2011

On Saturday evening, we had it on good authority that there were a couple of weddings in town and that there was a public party after. Mia, Lochy and I in the morning were on a nature walk and someone stopped to offer us a lift into town. Since noone has done that up to this point, we jumped in and just caught the bride and groom coming out of church. Everyone looked beautiful with flowers in their hair. As we walked back to the boat we saw 8 or so manta rays swimming below us in the bay - a truly magical sight. So, later on in the evening, we all trooped into town and to the party. The Jackson Four felt a bit nervous about whether we should be there or not, but Eric seems to know everyone here on Hiva Oa now and so he was welcomed in and we were given free (unexpected!) food. A lovely evening, only slightly dampened by the long walk home carrying one and dragging the other sleepy child.
Sunday was a boat day and after saying goodbye to Eric, we spent the day sorting out clothes, food etc. Although we shall miss Whit it is nice to have an extra room to spread out a bit for a while, until our next guests - any takers?

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Goodbye Whit
08/06/2011, Hiva Oa and Tahuata, Marquesas

Well, we came back from the idyllic Tahuata and are now back in Hiva Oa to drop Whit and Eric off to the airport. It was good to see Heartbeat (the boat that Mark had helped through the Panama Canal) They had come straight from Panama and it had taken them 40 days. We spent all of yesterday just catching up on e mails and skype and then Mark produced the biggest bar of Cadbury's chocolate - a real treat as it's quite expensive here. Mia cooked a beef goulash, so really I didn't lift a finger yesterday - the boat jobs can all start again today. Mark and Eric have just come back from dropping Whit off to his taxi and so he's now on his way to the airport. It's raining now so, I might just have to wait a while and have another cup of tea and get through another chapter of War and Peace. Yes, I AM still reading it. Yes, I'm nearly there!! Last night Mark got his guitar out and we enjoyed some loud singing of "What shall we do with the drunken sailor" until his strings snapped. Trying to get Whit to pack was no mean feat and we had to send him back down to his cabin 2 or 3 times. We are now the proud owners of some Lonely Planet books and a whole load of vitamin tablets. Mrs Brown, you don't have to worry, your son ate very well with us and so he didn't eat as many as you packed for him!

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