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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
The penny drops

25 October 2011

I've been trying to work out why I am not enjoying this passage quite as much as previous passages. I normally love being at sea, but I've just realised. We've always had crew with us for longer journeys and those extra four hours a night? They make a difference, let me tell you! Normally, skipping a few islands on the way wouldn't bother us as we actually prefer longer stretches, but now I realise why everyone responded with a "New Zealand? Really? But you're so late in the season." We're actually not late in the season for getting there; I don't think the other boats will have left by the time we get to Tonga, but we can't really stop off anywhere on the way unless we were to stay a week or so. Firstly, Mark and I find it impossible to stay one night only in an anchorage. It just can't be done. By us. Secondly, it's a whole other country we'd be checking into, which involves cost, customs, border control. Which is a whole load of fuss when you only want to catch up on a snooze for 24 hours. Thirdly, people are so friendly here in the Pacific that in these smaller islands it would be considered an offense to only stay a night when their hospitality is so huge.
So, we'll just press on. It's good to know that we could drop into these islands if we needed to, but this season we'll be passing them by, and we'll come back to them next season. So yes, we're late in the season for cruising through the Pacific but not to get to NZ. We even toyed with the idea of skipping Tonga and pressing on to NZ, but I think we really would be wise to stop by Tonga, re-provision and wait for a good weather window. So, we have about 8 days to go. Dig deep, dig deep! Curr Pos: 17.43S 158.31W

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Plodding along

23 October 2011

Not much to report; we're just getting back into the routine of being back at sea. It's half term holidays so we're not doing much in the way of school, though Mia is excited to have finished her first history course and wants to start the next one straight away. Lochy now wants to do the first one. Getting back into chess and cards and lots and lots of reading. The wind has been a bit flukey the last couple of hours and so Mark and I have done a few sail combinations - not like the lovely trade winds where you set your sails and that's you for a couple of weeks! Also, we're weaving between huge underwater mountains which probably explains the changeable swell too. We've made OK progress though so we're happy. Curr post: 17.16S 154.50W

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Sea legs all present and correct

23 October 2011
Well, it's been a beautiful first day's sail - a stark contrast to last week's little expedition, but then again, it's not a Friday. We could have left yesterday but neither Mark nor I felt easy about the old sailors' superstition about never leaving on a Friday. That may sound silly, but after our two Friday departures being rated as the worst passages to date, we weren't going to make it a hat trick. The benefit of our last windy jaunt was that the sea legs have obviously been shaken into us and have remained - so all happy on board the good ship Pegasus.
For our last night in Polynesia, we decided to put on our glad rags and head to the Pearl Lodge resort for a night of Polynesian dancing. We were going to anchor outside the resort, but the winds were going to push us on shore so we opted for the safer Bora Bora yacht club buoy on the other side and a 35 minute dinghy ride across. This was fine on the way there, and we enjoyed much hip shaking from the girls and knee knocking from the boys and then the obligatory lets-laugh-at-the-stiff-hipped-western-tourists-dancing whilst they dragged me up on stage along with many other tourists. A lovely evening only slightly hampered by a very wet dinghy ride home - the kids were fine as we had taken along a ground sheet for them to shelter under, but the same could not be said for Mark and me!
We've just stuck a second reef in the main for the night and Mark has headed to bed for 3 hours sleep, so, I'm going to sign off and check the sails and see if the booby is still sleeping on our port bow! Curr Post: 17.06S 152.51W

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