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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The long flat road
Catherine
08/25/2011, Fakarava, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

After a successful morning of school, we dinghied the bikes over to land. Shall we go left or right, we wondered. For there is only one road and it's very long and very flat. We opted for right, which halfway along took us from the sheltered lagoon to the windy ocean on the other side. The beaches are made up completely of coral - gorgeous white pieces of coral. All the houses, instead of having gravel in their drives have drives made up from coral. Most of the decorations are beautiful pieces of coral hanging down from a string, of which Mia has now made plenty for our boat! We met a lovely family on holiday with one son. He approached us to ask where we were staying, and I spoke my best French to him, completely baffling him and me in the process. Why couldn't he understand 'bateau,' my accent isn't that bad! Are you French? I ask. No Italian. OK, so that explains the confusion. His parents spoke English a little so it was nice to chat and the kisd got on really well, so, we invited them to come and see the boat and to take them to 'our' coral patch at the back of the boat tomorrow. When we got back to the boat, it was nice to see Luna, a catamaran we first saw in Galapagos and we popped over to say hello and for the kids to play. They told us that the Southern pass is phenominal for fish, so I think we'll be heading there in the next couple of days.

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Ahhhh.....Fakarava!
Catherine
08/24/2011, Fakarava, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

24 August 2011

We arrived at first light, the entrance to the atoll was pretty easy to navigate due to the light winds, but the only container ship we have seen for the past week happened to be right in the entrance. No biggy. It is so beautiful here. The sea is really clear - the clearest we have seen to date and we needed no prompting to go snorkelling in the afternoon. All I can say is it is the best snorkelling we have ever seen. All the coral in the Caribbean seemed to have died, wiped out by hurricane, but here the coral right next to our boat was so beautiful, all shapes, sizes and colours and the most gorgeous array of tropical fish. Just fantastic. We had dinner ashore and to our horror realised we didn't have enough money. No problem, said the lovely lady, and we have arranged to change money at the post office tomorrow and pay her the extra. It feels really safe here. I asked about the sharks and was reassured that they are not dangerous here. In one of Lochy's dangerous animals books, it says that 100 people are killed every year by coconuts falling on their heads, compared to 10 people by sharks. I know it's been a lot in the news this past week and I don't want to belittle what has happened in other oceans, but now all I can think of is how to stay out of the way of the coconut trees - they're flippin heavy and I'm only little.

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Put the brakes on
Catherine
08/23/2011

23 August 2011
Mark and I are asking ourselves, how is it that despite the fact that we had a back up plan for night fall, we still managed to be getting into the anchorage a couple of hours before daybreak?! Not that we are going in yet. For the past 24 hours, we have been going at 3 knots so as to not get there too early and now we've slowed down even more just so that we can go through the pass in daylight. Each atoll in the Tuamotus are like the rim of a volcano with low lying reef all around. From a distance, they look like circles of little islands but in each circle, there are only one or two passes that are deep enough to navigate through into the middle. In the lagoon, the water is about 2-3 metres deep throughout with coral heads everywhere, and you have to stick to a channel, so now you can see why you don't attempt it at night. You are also supposed to time it so you are going in during a slack tide, but I don't think that's so much a problem for us, with there being no wind. There will be a strong current, but it will be calm. She says. We can now see the lights of the village of Fakarava. There are no lights on the surrounding atolls and I can see why it was called the Dangerous Archipelago which was to be avoided at all costs in the days before GPS. Thankfully, we have about 6 GPS on board so even if one goes, we have others as backup! Today was such a slow passage that Mark and I completely cleared out, aired and sorted out one of our bow storage lockers . It was good to see that everything was dry at the very bottom in the bilges. Mark was delighted that his kilt was mildew free and we gave it a good air too! You never know when you might need a kilt on a sailing trip! Current pos: 15.58S 145.34W

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Mum and Dad go on strike
Catherine
08/22/2011

22 August 2011
It's been annoying us for a while. Actually it's been doing my head in. Our kids are becoming such fussy eaters that they are barely eating anything. At the moment we have on board, which is unusual because some of them are difficult to get: pumpkin, carrots, breadfruit, green beans, cabbage bananas, papaya, pamplemousse and onions. Will our kids eat any of the above? Well, they might be persuaded to have a piece of carrot, if it is raw, but other than that, nada. I should say, rien. When did they become so fussy? I know they've never been the best eaters, but this is getting ridiculous. We've tried the 'just try a bit' approach. We've tried the 'you're not getting down until you've eaten it all' approach. We've tried the 'ignore it and it'll get better' approach. Already, the speech therapist part of me is seeing we've not been that consistent! But it was the final straw yesterday, and I think most parents would have been in this boat at some point in their parenting career. They're so bloody ungrateful when you pass them their plate. They screw up their face as though I'm presenting them with a plateful of spiders on toast. So, today, Mark and I went on strike. If they wanted food, they had to get it themselves today. They made themselves pancakes for breakfast, though Lochy opted for just one today when he usually has 3, the effort being just a little too much like hard work. I'm not even sure what they had for lunch as by that point I was hyperventilating on the bow of the boat as a result of them leaving it so long to get lunch they were nearly killing each other. Not your problem, says Mark. When I suggested that they may want to start thinking about dinner a little earlier than when they get hungry, they start sifting through the recipe books for inspiration. Lochy starts with the baking book of cakes and biscuits. Mia starts with Reader's digest annual cookery book ("what season is it , Mum? Do we have rhubarb?") Once I subtley point out the kid's cookery book and suggest they make pizzas for dinner, they were off. We didn't help them once, except to turn on the oven and help clear up the litre of olive oil Lochy accidentally spilt on the floor. And they ate them all up. Without so much of a moan. Then we made them wash all the dishes.

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No subject
Catherine
08/21/2011

21 August 2011

I'm not surprised that Gran and Grandma are confused as to whether we are 10 hours ahead or behind them , when I get the date wrong! OK, it's Sunday 21st today; ignore previous date! I made possibly the worst ever soup, using some split lentils which didn't cook properly. Also, we've had to crack into our pumpkin about a month earlier than we wanted to because we discovered that ants were nesting in the stalk and we had to cut it open to see how bad it was. It was only the stalk, but it's definitely not good to have ants on board so we had to cut it all up into pieces, which obviously doesn't last as long as when it's whole. The wind dropped to 14-17 knots today so we were going at a much more sedate pace, but it seems to have picked up again, so we're not even going to make a decision until much closer to the islands as to where our landfall will be. Mia has sneekily pinched the last Harry Potter book that Lochy got for his birthday and is nearly through it, Mark and I are queuing up to read it, but will let Lochy read it first!! I watched the King's Speech and really enjoyed it. Mark and I are finding the journey fine without crew again, but if there is a ready New Zealander lurking in Rarotonga hoping for a lift home, we may well offer our services!

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The dreaded no-no fly
Catherine
08/21/2011

21 August 2011
curr pos: 11.51S, 141.38W
I knew I had been bitten at the waterfall by mozzies, but they don't usually affect me as much as they do Mark and Mia. They say it's because I'm cold-blooded (in the nicest possible way.) But these bites itch more than anything I've ever had, so I think I may have been bitten by the dreaded no-no fly, which is prevelant in the Marquesas. Enough apparently to keep away the tourists. Tahiti and Hawaii have spent millions of dollars to eridicate the fly from their beaches successfully .But it won't leave the Marquesas. We are all suffering from the bites, though Mark sprayed himself and the kids sooner than I sprayed myself, hence the 35 bites on my legs alone. I guess with 3 days at sea we'll be feeling better soon. Although we haven't officially started school again yet, sea is the perfect time to crack open the science books to read ("this isn't school though mummy is it?") We could even do all the experiments that involved balloons, after acquiring them for Lochy's birthday, such as the making carbon dioxide gas with vinegar and bicarb to inflate a balloon (success) and making a balloon propelled lego car (failure.) We learned about the Portuguese man-o war, how it's not the same as a jellyfish, because it is a group of organisms that can't live without each other, whereas a jellyfish is an animal in it's own right. So now you know too. And although they cause excruciating pain, you're unlikely to die unless you have pre-existing heart or lung problems. So, that's reassuring. Really we should be reading up on sharks as there are a lot in the Tuamotus but apparently harmless. Also, manta rays, although up to 2 metres wide (or was it 5? I'll have to ask Lochy) are plankton eaters. So, am I ready to take the plunge once we arrive, with all this knowledge at hand? Well, I 've realised that I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to large things in the sea, but as I don't want to pass on this fear to the kids, I'll probably snorkel with them when we get there. Or at least man the dinghy whilst Mark snorkels with them!!

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