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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Ascension Day in Nuka Hiva
08/14/2011, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

We knew it was a religious holiday weekend but were a bit vague as to which holiday (!) but we thought we'd head over to land for a wander. As we approached we could hear the beating of drums and the sound of the conch shell being blown - ah, they've come to welcome us, we thought! As the whole town had turned out in festival red, we thought it might be for someone more important. And so it was. The Virgin Mary came cruising up in a canoe, rowed by some teenagers sponsored by 'Sprite' and was met by the haka and amazing Polynesian singing, including all the little toddlers copying the haka - cute! The drumming was amazing; really pleased to have witnessed this ascension day in Nuku Hiva.
Monday just chilled out, and Mia and I made a traditional polynesian necklace for Lochy's birthday with sea urchin spines and red berries and a huge chocolate fudge cake - yum! We are going to celebrate Lochy's birthday tomorrow so we can get on with the sail the next day to Daniel's Bay and onto the Tuamotos. All the boats that are already there are saying homw amazing they are and now we can't wait to get there!

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Mia becomes skipper for the day
08/13/2011, Nuka HIva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

13 August 2011

And a great job she did too! In the morning, she looked at the charts to work out how far she had to go, the course and how long she thought it would take us. Then she decided what time we should leave to arrive before sunset. We then made a list of everything we needed to do before we could leave (check hatches are shut, bring up stern anchor, stow dinghy etc etc) and she delegated the jobs. Once she deemed we were ready, she turned the engines on, got Lochy to bring up the anchor, and drove us out of the bay, decided when it was a good time to turn into wind for us to get the sails up. We had the most glorious sails of our trip so far, with 15-20 knots of wind, and the journey took us exactly the time Mia had reckoned on, even getting us in half an hour early because she left half an hour before schedule, we were so ship shape and ready! Arriving in Nuka Hiva at 3pm, Mia drove us into the bay and chose where to put down the anchor and then turned our engines off. A fantastic job. She was then so exhausted from all the concentrating that all she wanted to do was take to her bed to watch a film on her I pod - I know the feeling. The boys went ashore to find the inn to which our spare propellor is being sent. Unfortunately, tomorrow's Sunday and Monday is a religious holiday, so we'll have to wait until Tuesday to go to the Post Office to see if it has arrived! But, it's pretty beautiful here so we're happy to wait.

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Visit to Xavier's

12 August 2011
A mini-hike, I said. A couple of miles said Xavier. So, I was quite pleased when we arrived at Xavier's house with kids in tow after 2 hours of walking up a steep road! We probably went further today than we did yesterday! Xavier was pleased to show us his home and also the other house he has built on his plot of land which he is trying hard to sell, but there is one flaw in his plan that he has mentioned to us. All the Marquesians have land already here and so can build their own houses, but Marquesas are so far away from anywhere that no-one really comes here to live, or even have as a holiday house, like they might in Tahiti, so despite the fact that it has one of the most stunning views any house has in the world, he is thinking he might struggle to sell it. However, I will put the photos on FB and if anyone would like to live in Ua Pou and has 300,000 euros they can get in touch with me and I'll pass on the details! After lunch at Xavier's and another walk further up the hill to see the view over the other side, we made our way back down the hill and had a pizza at one of the only restaurants in town. The owner's ancestors were Scottish who came to the Marquesas in the 1800s, so he was pleased to chat to Mark and he gave us some breadfruit and bananas from his garden. Back on the boat, Mia was supposed to be Skipper tomorrow for our trip to Nuka Hiva but she's gone to bed with a headache. All that walking has obviously put her body into shock!!

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08/21/2011 | India

Hi Mia,sorry I haven't written for so long. Looks like you're having fun!Thank you for the card and text, we are going to frame it and put it on my wall. I can't belive its made out of flower press.Did you notice? Hope to hear from you soon.
India xx
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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Jackson Four on Tour
Who: Mark, Catherine, Mia and Lachlan
Port: Lefkas, Greece
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