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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
Minerva reef
Catherine
11/24/2011

24 November 2011

Before I start, I just want to say Heartbeat were able to find a solution for their forestay and have actually continued on to NZ without stopping at Minerva reef - they must have given a wrong position yesterday as their current position put them to the South East of Minerva.
We arrived in Minerva at lunchtime. What an amazing place. I was quite nervous about heading to a reef in the middle of the ocean, but as it was day time, we could see the other 3 boats anchored and then the turquoise patch of water in the middle of the deep dark blue.
The pass into the reef was wide enough not to be a problem and we joined the others in the South East corner of the reef. As the rocks were uncovered, we dinghied over to the reef and had a little walk. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean! What a zoologist's paradise. As soon as we arrived at the reef, then a white tipped reef shark came to say hello, then we saw octopus, sea cucumbers, sea slugs, large clam shells; one of which squirted Mia in the fave with sea water, perhaps the funniest thing we have seen together as a family! (Although the Gibraltar ape peeing on Mark's bag came a close second!)
It seemed quite amusing to see the other crew also on the reef and to stop for a chat. Apparently the snorkelling here is amazing, but the sea was so clear we didn't need to snorkel, but the kids had a swim off the back of the boat in the afternoon. Mark and I caught up on sleep whilst the kids did their school work by themselves and now we're just planning what to have for dinner and then take a look at the weather. I'm very pleased we stopped off here. What an experience. Current position: 23.38S 178.53W

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A lively sail
Catherine
11/23/2011

23 November 2011
A lively sail
Well, the winds lessened to 25 knots for a while but they're back up to 30 again so it's been a lively sail all day at about 7 knots. We still have 3 reefs in the main but are due to arrive in Minerva at first light tomorrow to join the other boats that left the day before us.
When Heartbeat left (a day ahead of us), we gave them our satellite phone to use as they did not have any way of getting weather info or updating their current position. Given that Sophie is pregnant, we wanted to be reassured that they had a way of contacting land if they needed. Jacolette from Goody back in South Africa kindly agreed to be our shore support, receiving texts from Heartbeat and sending them to us in e mails and vice versa. Last night was quite rough, so I did not check my e mails for a while as I was feeling quite sick, so we were surprised to receive an update from Jacolette to say Heartbeat had lost their forestay and what was our position, would we be near them soon? Unfortunately, some time had lapsed before we got the message, and when we got an update as to their position, they were now further North from us, so it appears they are heading back to Tonga. We are waiting for good news that they have arrived back in Tonga safely. This morning on the Southern Cross SSB net, I was able to relay their situation, so other boats in the area can be alert. This is the one leg where there are other boats around as New Zealand becomes a bit of a bottle neck for yachts escaping the cyclone season of the South Pacific. I think we'll get another position update at 6pm local time, so am checking my e mails regularly. Otherwise, all well onboard Pegasus. We're really pleased we are stopping at Minerva now to wait for good winds to take us down to Opua. Curr position: 22.42S 177.36W

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U bend trouble
Catherine
11/22/2011

22 November 2011

About 5 boats left the anchorage yesterday, but we were happy to wait one more day. Just as we were about to leave, the winds picked up to about 30 knots in the anchorage, so we weren't sure whether to leave right away. The question was answered by the kids' toilet becoming blocked and so Mark spent some time trying to work out the problem. He even went in to the water to see if he could unblock it from the outside. Unfortunately, it seems to be more a pump issue than a big log issue, so for now we'll all be using the same head!
The winds did lessen, so we left at midday; if we had left any later, we thought we might risk getting in after dark. When you're heading to a reef in the middle of the ocean you don't really want that. And now, conditions are best described as lively - the wind is 30 knots SE true on our beam, swell about 2-3 metres in the same direction. We have 3 reefs in the sails and are still going 6.7 knots. SO now we might be getting in at dark, though it will be the night before! Mia is asleep - her remedy for seasickness and we're all feeling a bit queasy - we should get our sea legs just as we arrive in Minerva! Curr position: 21.16S 175.43W

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OK, it's official
Catherine
11/20/2011, Pangaimotu, Tongatapu, Tonga


We're leaving Tuesday. Or maybe tomorrow. Or maybe Thursday. Having said we're not going to Minerva reef, we've decided we possibly will. Or probably. But maybe not. If you've not gathered already, sailing can never be a definite art. There are just too many variables to consider. However, having decided and told other boats that we are going to leave tomorrow (Monday) and we are going to stop off at Minerva for 3 nights, we've just come back to the boat and asked ourselves why would we want to be in the middle of a reef in the middle of the ocean for three nights? So, if we leave Tuesday, we can get there Thursday and then leave on Saturday for Opua, hopefully getting in around 2nd December. This way, we can avoid the patch of no wind for two days (by being at Minerva reef) and avoid the patch of high winds that should be in NZ around the 4th December. Bob McDavitt, NZ's weather ambassador, has recommended leaving Mond/Tues if stopping off at the reef, or Thursday if going straight there. But we're chomping at the bit now, so Tuesday it is.

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OK, it's official
Catherine
11/20/2011, Pangaimotu, Tongatapu, Tonga


We're leaving Tuesday. Or maybe tomorrow. Or maybe Thursday. Having said we're not going to Minerva reef, we've decided we possibly will. Or probably. But maybe not. If you've not gathered already, sailing can never be a definite art. There are just too many variables to consider. However, having decided and told other boats that we are going to leave tomorrow (Monday) and we are going to stop off at Minerva for 3 nights, we've just come back to the boat and asked ourselves why would we want to be in the middle of a reef in the middle of the ocean for three nights? So, if we leave Tuesday, we can get there Thursday and then leave on Saturday for Opua, hopefully getting in around 2nd December. This way, we can avoid the patch of no wind for two days (by being at Minerva reef) and avoid the patch of high winds that should be in NZ around the 4th December. Bob McDavitt, NZ's weather ambassador, has recommended leaving Mond/Tues if stopping off at the reef, or Thursday if going straight there. But we're chomping at the bit now, so Tuesday it is.

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My lovely clean bottom
Catherine
11/18/2011, Pangaimotu, Tongatapu, Tonga


19 November 2011
We checked out of Tonga and left town yesterday (Friday) back to Big Mama's (Pangaimotu) It looks like we'll be leaving on Monday (though still not 100% official!) Spend too long talking to other boats and looking at weather websites and your head can get into a right fuddle! Today was spent cleaning the barnacles off the bottom of the boat. Even though we're in Tonga, the water is a little chilly once you've been in for half and hour (me) or an hour (Mark) so the bouts were interspersed with hot cups of sweet tea (more to wee into your wetsuit later for extra warmth!) We've just got one more side of one more hull to do, and Pegasus is lovely and smooth. I did the metre I could reach with my snorkel and mask which didn't involve me putting my head too far into the water and then Mark did the rest (propellor etc) I do understand why New Zealand sets such stringent regulations but feel a bit sorry for poor Tonga who has all the barnacles of all the boats' bottoms from the Pacific that are heading to NZ. Now we're off to the beach with the kids so they can clean the bottom of the dinghy.

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11/19/2011 | rose marie crolla
are you sure that you didn't get the kids to do the hulls? making them work for their board? well got the car on the road at last and it's a great wee runner. passed mot after a few little jobs and going great. unfortunately dino did lookup how big the petrol tank was and filled her right up £74 later!! think it might have illusions of grandure- thinks its a jag or the like! xxx

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