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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The evil weevil
10/03/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

I've collected all the seeds and pulses and popcorn and rice in one box because I know that once we are in NZ we'll have it confiscated. So when, yesterday morning, I went to said box to get dried chickpeas to soak, I was gutted - and a little disgusted - to find them crawling with weevils. So the whole of yesterday morning consisted of going through ALL of our provisions to check how much had been affected. Luckily, we keep most of our provisions in plastic boxes with sealed lids so it was actually only one box that was affected. Also, it was unlikely, despite my best intentions, that we would be able to have got through all of our dried beans and peas. Our advice to potential family cruisers? If you didn't pre-plan your dinners with dried beans the day before at home, you're unlikely to do so at sea. We'll be sticking to the cans from now on.
On the positive side, I now have a completely up to date provisions list and a very clean under bunk storage space. And our salad cream stock was unaffected, thank the Lord!
At lunchtime yesterday, Mia started to complain that she wasn't feeling very well and we realised that, for the first time on our trip, she was feeling seasick at anchorage. It was REALLY swelly, and I was quite glad to take the kids to shore and spend the afternoon chilling out around the marina with Luna and Goody. There's been a strong wind for the past couple of days and you can see the surf crashing over the outer reef. However, in the last couple of hours, all is calm again which is good for our stomachs but not so good for the batteries which really benefited from the extra wind power.
Tomorrow, we will check out of Tahiti, collect final packages, fill up with water and gas, lightly provision (don't want to break the bank!) and Tuesday will see Luna, Goody and us off to Moorea.

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Old dog new tricks
09/30/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

30 September 2011
Old dog new tricks
I have a confession to make. I love snowboarding, I got a kick out of jumping off a bridge attached to a bungee in my younger days, I've even jumped out of a plane and been ice climbing. I can climb the mast mid-ocean and I can give birth using hypnosis. In other words, I'm not a wuss. But SCUBA diving has just never appealed to me. You're just not supposed to breathe under water. I can snorkel until the rays come home, so long as it's not cold, just don't ask me to duck dive.
So after the obligatory heated discussion with Mark last night in which I accused him of bullying me into doing something I wasn't ready to do and him retorting that he knew I'd be like this the night before, picking up the phone to cancel, me replying we can't let Perrine down, I sulked off to bed at about 7pm. I even popped over to Dan's this morning to ask how much trouble I'd get into if I cancelled at such short notice (to which the reply was LOTS) There was no getting out of it. I was going to SCUBA dive today.
I set up the kids with their school work this morning and get all my stuff together. Mark drives me over to the dive school in the dinghy and I don't even say goodbye, because I'm still annoyed with him and if truth be known, pooping my pants. I've obviously already unconsciously divorced Mark by accidentally giving my maiden name in checking in. But we don't have a Catherine Lambert. The other guest smiles and says that his wife is still getting used to using his name - they're on their honeymoon. I didn't tell him we'd been married for 9 years.
And then, we're on the dive boat and Perrine is reassuring me that she will do everything for me, all I have to do is breathe and pop my ears. I put my two wetsuits on (OK, so I am wuss sometimes) and jump into the water, getting my BCD on. Perrine is a great instructor; taking everything at my pace, so calm all the time, not even flinching when I burst into tears twice and curse Mark for putting me into this situation. Yes, really. I hate not being good at something, but every time I went under the water I had an irrepressible urge to get to the surface of the water again. A bit like the roofer who can't bring himself to bungee - he's spent his whole life clinging on, so he can't let go.
This is ridiculous. I'm a hypnotherapist. I work with people's fears. If I can't work on my own, then what does that make me? So I have a word with myself and we start again. And this time I go down - OK, only 6 metres, but nevertheless, I am actually submerged and I can pop my ears and the fish are amazing and I can totally appreciate why people love diving. Perrine smiles at me but I hope she doesn't expect a smile in return; that would involve a whole other thought process and I can't multi-task right now. Does it make me want to dive more? I'm not sure. But I'll be happy to live vicariously through my children who can't wait to be old enough to SCUBA. Mark tells me how proud he is of me and I'm proud of me too. But I haven't quite forgiven him yet.

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And the packages come pouring in....
09/29/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

Thankfully, we have received 2 of the 4 packages on which we are waiting so it looks like we might be leaving Sunday or Monday for.....well, we haven't got THAT far yet!
Mark has been enjoying his first forays into the underwater world of SCUBA - what better place to learn where the water is so warm he didn't need a wetsuit and there are tropical fish everywhere! Unbeknownst to me, he has also booked an introductory dive for me tomorrow so I'll give you an update. Lochy and Mia can't wait for them to reach the minimum age so they can SCUBA too - probably after NZ during our next South Pacific season.
We've been focusing on school in the mornings - Johannes from Goody has been joining us which has helped his and our kid's attitude to school - nothing like a bit of competition! For PE, we joined Goody and Luna for a game of beach volley ball just along the road from the marina which was completely tiring for the adults - well, me anyway! Mia has been making herself another skirt and Lochy has been mastering his magic kit we bought from Jersey and have only just re-discovered. We also re-discovered our game of Cluedo I had put away because the kids were too young when we left and we had a fun evening, once Lochy learnt not to say for example, "So, it's not the candlestick then" every time he saw a card! Mia asked if we could play it every night, but I'm not sure Mark and my patience could last for much longer than once a month! At least it wasn't monopoly. No thank you, we don't need monopoly on the boat - perish the thought!

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Win win lose, lose lose find
09/24/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

I've just realised I didn't update the blog about our wonderful wonderful humpback experience two days ago. Dan offered to take us out to see the spinner dolphins, but just as we got out of the pass, we spotted humpback whales. Dan's girlfriend Perrine does whale spotting tours for a diving company and so we knew that if the whales looked like they were just chilling out, we could snorkel with them. What I didn't realise until we got in, was that the whale we could see on the top was just a baba and was being held up to the surface by his mother who we couldn't see until we were looking under the surface. Dan reckoned the baby was about 4-6 weeks old due to the colour and the fact that he was still needing help to breathe. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing the experience was, to be within a couple of metres of a 20 metre whale and her baby. That was our first win of the week.
The next win was closely followed by a lose, as last night we watched the France -New Zealand match on a big screen on a superyacht - Tiara. 5 minutes before the game ended we were winning the sweepstake for the scores and then the referee made a terrible decision on France's last try and the scores changed - we were so close to winning $600. Mark stayed on for a little while after the rest of us and I got a message to say our dinghy wasn't where we had left it. Thinking rather negatively that it had been nicked, I was relieved to hear the chug chug chug of our 3.3HP engine coming back to the boat, having been found by Mark drifting in the marina. I think someone must have accidentally let it go when they were untying their own painter and whilst I have my suspicions as to who that was, they shall remain nameless!!
We are now anchored back in our original spot with very clean children, very clean clothes and a very clean boat. Mark and I scrubbed up quite well too!

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9 years
09/22/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

Yep, Mark and my 9th wedding anniversary! And our present to each other? A couple of nights in a marina. I can't explain the excitement I've had of being able to use a hose to wash the boat, instead of sea water by the bucket. Or Mark's excitement at being able to fully charge the batteries using shore power. It's the little things! The kids were over the moon to be able to have a water fight (on the condition they scrubbed the decks at the same time) and to be able to ride their bikes up and down the pontoon. Mark and I weren't intimidated by parking between two super-yachts at all, honest, as it has only been, oooh, 9 months since we have been in a marina. Actually Mark is super cool when it comes to parking the boat, so we had no problems. I haven't actually had one on shore yet, but I'm also excited about having a proper shower, although I expect I will still rinse all over, turn the water off quickly, lather up before a quick rinse off, purely out of habit!
We had a lovely BBQ on Luna in the evening, which was supposed to be a welcome back to Joop (dad from Goody) It made me giggle to see Jacolette pour her beer on the BBQ to calm it down with the declaration "just leave it to the South African woman to control a BBQ" and the look on Lars' face as she put out the flames on his lovely gas BBQ. "Oh, is it gas? I'm used to the real thing!" Luckily Lars had everything under control and could light it again. But I made a mental note not to leave Jacolette near my cooker!
The downside of the day was that Joop couldn't join us for his welcome back to Tahiti BBQ as when he arrived in Tahiti, he didn't realise that the visa they issued him when he first arrived in the Marquesas was a single entry one, so the moment he landed, he was deported on the next plane out. He did however manage to hand Jacolette the spare parts he had bought with him, so the mechanic can get on with fixing the engine. And the last news of Joop? He had managed to get tickets for the South African rugby match, as the first plane out of Tahiti was to NZ. Mark is now wondering how he can get deported in time for the Scotland game!

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Keeping you in the picture
09/20/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

20 September 2011
Pacific Bliss stayed an extra couple of days much to the kids' delight and they really did get to play in concentrated bursts in between school and food and sleep! We went snorkelling with them over a sunken aeroplane and boat which was pretty cool. They have been the first boat we have met who have a girl Mia's age and a boy Lochy's age. A perfect match.
The Jackson Four enjoyed a lovely meal at Perrine and Dan's apartment and a swim in their pool and Lochy was completely made up by being given a grey shark tooth that Perrine had collected on one of her dives.
This morning we went to the diesel dock to fill up with the intention of staying a couple of nights in the marina so we can completely recharge the batteries using shore power. It would be cheaper than hiring a generator, however, no room in the inn today. We've reserved for tomorrow.
We've been told that two of our 6 parcels we have arranged to be sent here have arrived, so Mark can get on with the duogen repairs tomorrow!
A little update on our next plans? Well, we need to be in Tonga for the end of October to leave for NZ. With so many places to visit and so little time left, we (well I - still need to discuss this with Mark!) have decided we'll go to Bora Bora (MAY need to miss it out and see Moorea instead) which takes less than 48 hours. Then 1035 miles to Nuie (about 9 days) and then 250 miles to Tonga. Then next season, we can decide how far we will come back again towards French Polynesia before spending a more leisurely season in the Pacific!

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