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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The toothless wonder!!

20 October 2011

My, my, the tooth fairy has been busy. Two visits in 4 days and now Lochy has finally lost both of his top teeth, much to my amusement! After checking Goody made it safely into the boat yard, and then a play date on another French Cat (the kids not me!) we left Raiatea today for Bora Bora. It seemed such a shame not to go now it was so close and it is unlikely we will be coming this far back next season. And of course, then there is the Wales-Australia rugby match which Mark wanted to see (never mind the NZ-France - foregone conclusion!)
The sail over was a lovely 6 hour 25 knot breeze trip; the kids enjoyed putting together the starwars lego AT-AT walker again, a favourite gift from last Christmas. Having seen how well organised the French boat's lego was, I came back to our boat to whip our lego collection into shape - about 6 hours later and we have instruction manuals with correct lego pieces. I don't think it will take the kids as long to put it together as it did me to sort it, and I am now realising that when you find a tiny bit of lego, you should really put it back in the lego box rather than chuck it in the bin which is what I had been doing. It's pay back time now though as the kids ask "mummy, will you just help me find this one little piece?" and I have to sort through a tray of light gray, dark gray, black or white pieces - why can't the star ward lego have just a splash of colour?! Current position: 16.30S 151.46W

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10/17/2011, Raiatea, French Polynesia

Bumped into another French couple with a baby we met in the Marquesas who have managed to get teaching jobs here and so will be here for a little while. It was nice to catch up with them. Have been checking all the different weather sites over the past couple of days and it appears that the winds will die down to a more manageable state tomorrow; I guess that means we will be heading off soon! We have also been looking into stops on the way to break up the journey if we want, though as anyone who knows us or sailing know that our plans are in a constant state of flux. If the winds are good, we'll press on, if the winds are taking us via some stop-offs, so be it!
The kids and I managed to do a whole heap of school yesterday - only today, I realise that it was Sunday, but, heh, they didn't know that and we'll be missing out on a couple of says of school whilst we sail no doubt. Mark and I were only just saying how much the kids have changed with their attitude towards school. I've just asked them to come up for school and they've said "OK, mummy." It was good doing school with other boat kids as they all had the peer pressure of each other to do well. It seems to have had a positive effect on Lochy, especially. So, just as we arrive in NZ, we've got the school thing sussed!! I wonder how they will adapt to school life?!

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Breaking the number two rule
10/15/2011, Raiatea, French POlynesia

Never leave on a Friday. We learnt that lesson in Panama (the fish hook incident!) But we're not superstitious, right? But this Friday trip also truned out not to be so lucky. We do like the wind, but last night was a little strong for our liking (45 knots gusting 50 at times) so, after leaving Tahiti (with our package in hand - yeah!) on Friday morning, Mark and I made the decision to duck into Raiatea. We were going to bump into it anyway, if we didn't change course. With the big swell, we didn't WANT to change course so we just decided to stop there for shelter and a re-think. Maybe a month at anchor has made us soft, but I think it was the sensible decision not to press on. We were both exhausted! We were surprised to see Goody at the same anchorage, but the kids were disappointed that there were no kids - Jacolette has taken them back to SA with her and Joop will follow once he has sorted out the boat and it's on the hard.
It was sad to say goodbye to Luna on Thursday. Lochy was especially upset as he, Emil and Jacob got on really well after initial teething problems on Lochy's part. And talk about teething, Lochy has finally lot one of his wobbly front teeth. Luckily the tooth fairy will be able to give him 100 Fpfrancs, though he'll have to exchange it for Tonga money when he gets there, as we might not be going to shore, given tat we've signed out of FP.

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Breaking the number one rule

10 October 2011
Breaking the number one rule
Never go back. That's our number one rule. Even when we left the bikes in the North of Fakarava, we managed to get them back without going back. Yet, here we are back in Tahiti, trying to get our package. We had a fantastic time in Mo'orea with Luna and Goody and we finally said goodbye to Goody, though they may not be going back to SA after all!! They have headed up to Bora Bora, whilst Luna and I made our way back to Tahiti. Mark and I decided that we would go straight from Tahiti to Tonga, but there is a 'squash zone' in the Cook islands at the moment; two high pressure systems close together which squashes the wind and strengthens it, so we may have to wait a couple of days before we head off. We had a nice little show from some whales on the way back. It's now 12 October and there's no sign of the package. We know it's in Tahiti - it's been here since 3 October, but we cannot get our hands on it - if it's not here by tomorrow we are going. Although we need the parcel, what can we do? We have been told we have to have patience. We've been here over a month. We've been patient for the last week. But now we have to go. So, tomorrow we'll head off to sea. It is about 1500nms so will take us about 12-15 days. Next stop Tonga.

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More rays in Mo'orea
10/07/2011, Mo'orea

OK, so we have been swimming with dolphins, check, humpback whales, check, sharks, check and now we can add to the list stingrays. Not quite out in the wilds of the Pacific, but in Mo'orea, where the hotel daily feeds them and so they are pretty much tame and all over you if you want a close encounter. After negotiating the shallow water channel between our yachts and the motu (tiny island) where they are, we were in no doubt as to the location of the rays, it being ambushed by 3 boat loads of cruise-shippers and honeymooners, all slightly pink in matching swim wear (I mean top and bottoms, not all of them in the same swim suit!) The Goody, Luna, and Pegasus children jump right in, with the instruction from Mia that if the black tipped reef sharks swim towards you, don't worry, just swim towards them and they'll swim off, they head straight to the centre of the feeding rays. Dirk (aged 2) wasn't too impressed however and I was the first to offer to go back to the dinghy with him and work on his two word level language skills (that'll be $60 please!!) "Big shark" "two rays" "mummy's gone" "Mia's hat" etc etc.
In the afternoon, I once again kidnapped the two mums (as I did in Martinique with Samba and Eol) and whisked them off for a hike up to Belvedere point, a four hour round trip. The rain didn't deter us, whilst we stomped up the hill and had a nice girly chat with no kids. A beautiful view rewarded us from the top, before we had to head back before it got too dark.
We take it in turns to cook on each boat and are making the most of Goody being here when they have just sprung it on us that they have to fly back to South Africa for 3 months in 10 days time, much to my (and Jacolette's) disappointment. I think the parcel has now been cleared by customs now ready for collection (though my French is not so good when someone speaks quickly on an answerphone) so we'll probably return back to Tahiti in the next couple of days and then be ready to make our onwards journey, though we'll be sad to leave French Polynesia.

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Still in Tahiti!
10/05/2011, Papeete, Tahiti

The package didn't arrive. Doh. The tracker on the USPS website says arrived, but we don't know where it is. So, Mark and I decided to come into Papeete as we still needed to check out (Mark arrived at 3.30pm yesterday, so of course they were closed already.) So we are alongside the town pontoon, which has security gates. When we went to check out, the man said if we didn't use electricity and we left by 10am, we could stay for free which was very nice, so we had Dan and Perrine round for dinner to say thank you for being so fantastic whilst we've been here. Lochy and Mia were running up and down the dock with some French kids from the boat next door. They still haven't mastered French yet, but they were playing battles with big sticks and remarkably, they denied me the pleasure of saying "I told you so" after I had warned them that it would all end in tears, probably Lochy's. I was secretly hoping they wold knock Lochy's front teeth out, which are now protruding at such an angle that we are going to Have to do something about them, like tie a string between them and the pontoon whilst we drive off. Lochy tried extra hard to pull them out in the bank as I had suggested he may get paid double by the tooth fairy if he loses them in a bank, but he has never been one for pain, so there they remain, wobbly and at right angles to his mouth! We got some NZ dollars in the bank, because I've been doing my homework on Nuie and it turns out you can't use a bankcard in the shops and there is no ATM on the island. No flies on me. So, today (Wed) we are off to Moorea with Goody and Luna also delayed due to deliveries and engines. And maybe this afternoon, we'll go to a motu where they feed stingrays and finally see some rays in action.

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