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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The great hike in the hills

11 August 2011
I had a great day. We checked in with the Gendarmes and Mark, having placed his order for bread the day before went to pick it up. We were meeting Sophie and Junior so I could go for a hike with them, but that was postponed a little because Heartbeat had dragged anchor in the night and they were waiting for high tide to get off the sand. Unfortunately, as the tide was coming in, so was their boat, so Mark went to help with our little 3.3 HP engine and eventually they got her back afloat by tying a rope halfway up the mast and Mark taking the other end in the dinghy and tipping her at an angle. Once they were re-anchored further out in the bay, the three of us set off: destination the highest peak of the mountain. We haven't ever seen the top as it is always shrouded in cloud, but we set off with empty bags for any fruit we found on public land, Sophie and me in our hiking shoes (the first time I have worn shoes for ages!) and Junior in his flip flops. At some point, the trail ran out and we never quite found it again, but as we had walked a substantial way up to the top, we were happy with our 2 hour climb and set off back down again. Junior expertly shimmied up a coconut tree to get us our drink. I have never been one for coconut milk, but this had to be one of the sweetest, thirst-quenchingliest (OK, not a real word, I know!) coconuts I had ever tasted. We also collected an armful of wild basil, found a couple of guavas to eat on the way, some oranges, lemons, blackcurrents and hot hot chillis! Other fruit we spotted were unfortunately in peoples gardens, so we left them where they were - pamplemousse (a giant grapefruit) avocados, mangoes, cashew nuts, bananas, soursops, breadfruit. Maybe tomorrow, I'll take some money with me, so I can ask if I can buy some - the trees are literally laden with fruit.
Junior cooked us an amazing Trinidadian curry and bought it over in the evening. Unfortunately, there was no fish to go with it, despite Mark and Xavier going out in the dinghy to try their luck. So, another lovely evening with Heartbeat and Xavier and tomorrow we will go to visit Xavier's house on a mini-hike up the valley with the kids. Oh, and the tooth fairy even found her way to Pegasus last night, her last visit to us being in Greece. She's a clever fairy that tooth fairy!

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Another day another island

10 August 2011
I think I've used that title before!! We're now in Ua Pou. After a few hours of no wind, we ended up having a lovely 15-20 knots all the way here. A beautiful night's sail with several shooting stars, but it's strange how tired we were this morning after just one night of broken sleep. Another bite on the line, another lure lost - these are obviously tougher fish that in the Caribbean and so we now have our heavy duty hooks ready - these fish have been so close and yet so far. When we arrived in the bay a group of about 20 or so kids were baiting a shark and within a couple of hours, they had landed it and were beating it to death. Lochy and Mia were disgusted by this and went back to their clay animals they are making to raise money for saving animals! I felt a bit queasy too, but then at least they were going to take it back and eat it and that was what I had had planned for the next fish we landed. I don't think I could kill a shark though. Can I just say at this point that we have been informed that these sharks are harmless as they are only 2 metres long and that all the locals are swimming in the bay still, so Mia and Lochy are still going in the water for swim. We were greeted this afternoon by Xavier, a Frenchman who used to teach English here in Ua Pou, until he was hit by a drink driver 15 years ago. Now, he swims everyday and enjoys meeting boats and I think practising his English, so he just swam on over for a chat. I think he was vaguely amused by me offering him a cup of tea, but he accepted anyway!! Tomorrow, Sophie, Junior and I will go for a hike after we have all checked in with the Gendarmes. Here, it doesn't cost anything to check in, unless you are not part of the EU, in which case you have to pay a $1000 bond which is refundable once you leave. Xavier was telling us that the French government heavily subsidise the Marquesians, which is why they all drive brand new Toyota Hilux pick up trucks and pay no tax. PS the superyacht yesterday was called Exumer I think - google it!!

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08/12/2011 | Lucia Chagas
Alo Alo, we read often your blog and its great to know that you are going so well. We are in Brazil going very slow south. Hope to see you in NZ!
Love from Kleiner Bears
Off with a Heartbeat

9 August 2011

The boat that is. We first met Heartbeat in Panama when Mark helped linehandle for them. Sophie is German and Junior is from Trinidad. We were going to go straight to Nuka Hiva to see if the big boat had bought in our parcel, but S and J said there was a good hike in Ua Poa which is on the way and given their ability to go for a hike and come back with a backpack full of fruit and veg that they find on the way, I thought it would be nice to join them and learn a thing or two about foraging. Junior can spot a soursop from a mile away, and our 5 a day has definitely been a bit limited of late! Mark helped them fix their electrics as they had no power when they arrived, so they are two happy bunnies now and we have a lovely gaff hook as a thank you which we nearly used when we caught a fish as we left tonight. Unfortunately, the bugger took our lure, so all that psyching myself up to plunge the hook into it when we caught it wasn't necessary this time.
Ooh, I nearly forgot! Yesterday, we saw a largish boat come into the port. Given that there are only about 5 yachts there, this was exciting. Was it 'le grand bateau?' Well it was grand, but in the English sense of the word! A 50 metre superyacht and I've forgotten the name, but suffice to say it proved it's grandness when the passengers went past our boat IN A CAR!! Well, if you have a multimillion pound boat, why not have a terramera jeep that drives over water!! Straight down the ramp into the water and past our boat to theirs - brilliant! The kids were very excited (not quite as excited as their daddy!) and gave them a wave, so they actually came right over to us and gave us a twirl. I'll put the piccies on just as soon as I get internet. I know you'll be impressed!! "Mummy can we get one of those?" "Yes, darling, you can have two for your birthday next week!!" "Really?" "no, not really." And then the big boat did come in bringing provisions for the island for the next two weeks, but since there wasn't any fuel coming this time, we thought it was time to go. It was getting a bit crowded there!!

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