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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Fakarava's Southern Pass

29 August 2011

An early start down the the Southern pass. As we left the anchorage we realised that we had left the kids' bikes locked up to the dive centre in the North. So, either a friendly yacht will bring them down, or we'll have to go back up again en route to Tahiti. Bummer. We are now in the Southern Pass, another beautiful location. We nudged our way gently through the coral heads into an anchorage that is partly sand and partly coral, so leaving should be interesting. Fingers crossed we don't get our chain wrapped. The water is crystal clear and we can see pretty much all of the anchor chain (30m) that we have put out. Now we've been here a little longer than planned, we are very grateful to Luna for the jerry can of fresh water they gave us - I'm looking forward to the showers in Tahiti!

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The easiest sleepover ever

27 August 2011

If you're going to have 3 extra boat kids for a sleepover, then take a leaf out of my book and take them all for a 5 hour walk first. It guarantees they will all be asleep by 8.30pm, 3 of the 5 children actually asking if they can go to bed! The extra children? From Luna, a Danish boat. I am so impressed with their English. The 12 and 9 year old can pretty much have a conversation with us. I had popped over to Luna to ask for the waypoint for the Southern Pass anchorage and the boys were keen to play with Lochy. As we had already arranged to go for a walk with the Italian family, we invited them along too. This time we turned left along the long flat road, and we enjoyed the usual - climbing coconut trees, racing hermit crabs, finding pearls and paddling with sharks - as you do on a Saturday morning stroll! Back to find the diving school had rescued our dinghy which, despite the fact that we had dragged it up over the tide line, had drifted off due to the largest tide for years, a result of the cyclone over New York at the moment. The Tuamotus are on 'Code Red' weather wise, due to the high swell around the area and no boats are allowed to enter or leave the atolls until the swell dies down. So, we decided against going to the Southern pass today, instead, having the 3 Luna kids over for a sleepover. The swell should all die down in a couple of days, so we'll head off again soon to pick up our Satelite phone that has been delivered to Tahiti. After we've had tea with Tom and Katie!

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it's hard to leave!
08/27/2011, Fakarava, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

School today was design and technology. There is a competition on Pegasus to see who can collect the most rainwater and the kids had drawn their designs and they are now hanging up outside waiting for rain. We had invited Federico, Lucia and Tommaso onto the boat for some tea and cake and then we could all swim over to the reef behind us for some more great snorkelling. What a lovely family! We had a great time with them and the kids got on really well, always a bonus! So, most of the morning was spent tidying, baking and sorting - we needed a good blitz!! Apparently there is a superyacht called "Suri" in the Southern Pass complete with helicopter on top - any guesses as to whose it is?! I don't know whether Tom and Katie are aboard, but at least our boat is tidy, should they pop by to say hello!!

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The long flat road
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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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

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