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S.V Condesa Del Mar
23 meter Herrishoff Schooner built in Wilmington Boat Yard California 1970 onwards. Fittout completed mid 1990's. Mark and Jenny Gaskell purchased Conmdesa November 2011 and crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2012.
Radio Wake -up calls
jenny g
09/03/2012, Marina De La Paz

First, deep in my subconscious, is the sound of the cock crowing in the distance then soon after followed by the cathedral bell tower striking long slow chimes that bring you into a new day.
8.30 - Our day in Marina De La Paz officially starts once we awake to the channel #22 VHF radio, we hear the airwaves come alive with 'Goodmorrrrrnninnng Fleeeet!" (that's us!) this is an open radio program where you should participate where necessary or possible, on your 'truckie style' hand-held receiver. First: the net controller asks if there are any medical emergencies or issues overnight.... Usually silence reins which we all hope for. We breathe again when he moves onto the weather watch reported in by someone called 'Bluey', bay watch report and then 'whose coming and whose going' and so on. This is in case you want a ride, a lift or need to get mail out. He then does a running report from 3 marinas on the Baja coastline (Marina De La Paz, Marina Palmira and Costabaja Marina) Tick ...Tick... and Tick! I do feel less guilty listening from the cosy Captain's quarters when one of the marinas randomly misses a reply. But they are more likely to be sorting some boating crisis or need or check- in or check-out, not running late.
Next comes- What's on around town? This draws me in every time imagining myself attending the R & B night on the pier, salsa in the park, darts over the road, dominoes in the cafe, or I could (should I wish) volunteer for the next celebration in town from where I lay. My subconscious does a reality check for me and I remember that the most urgent project is the one we are living and breathing and madly planning. However before they finish that segment!... I do see myself attending the National Geographic celestial documentary, invitation for Friday, courtesy of the Mexican Technical College. Here, they build their own telescopes and also engineered and have constructed the planetarium! That is now I've forgotten the contact boat to radio in my name for that outing as they have long moved on- but maybe tomorrow I could catch that. Within seconds the pace seems to have elevated and has taken several turns spinning my easily distracted mind into thinking about the Ice man; Goose and Ghost rider with everyone clipping in and out of the air waves.
See you don't often have a Christian name in these morning session, only a boat name, so I am 'Condesa' should I call in. There are a whole community of "Wandering Puffins", "True Companions" "Bright Angels" "Blue Wizards" "Sea Otters" and my favourite being "Black Dog". It feels kinda fun to have a stage name... well, a boat name.
Anyway my point is, many topics are covered for you within the half hour, but the one I feel we should jump out of bed for is the 'Swaps and Trades'. I hear daily of things we need eg: dingy anchor, lifting gear, inflatable canoe, as well as the many things we could swap. Though the bit I love best is that you pay coconuts or in some cases ....peanuts! We, the cruising community like to look out for each other, so what goes around comes around. Nice!
One day, he who hums will be ready to participate and I have my scribbled list of swaps and trades waiting right by the Ray-marine VHF radio, should he surprise me. Until then, I have ears pricked waiting for a rustle at the navigation station, that's when I'll know I might have to jump on my bike and to go get us more coconuts. But I do have salted peanuts down in the galley somewhere.

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Jenny g
03/03/2012, La Paz Mexico

25kg each SR Flour , Plain FLour
Baking Powder, Bi carb soda
15kg Sugar
10 boxes each Kellogs Corn Flakes, Bran, Honey Smacks (if ever I see them again)
30 bags powdered Milk
15 pkts each Tortilla Wraps, Bread,
6 bags each Rice, Pasta, Vermicilli, Cous cous
10 lge tins of Gatoraide, iced tea
3 lge tins Coffee 10lge boxes Tea Bags
10 Boxes sweet Biscuits ,Salada, Rice crackers
10 bags salted nuts, plain nuts, rice crackers
THE LIST GOES ON - tomorrow will be canned goods....slowly chipping away

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How good!
03/03/2012, La Paz Mexico

I heard in a meeting from a more experienced 'Puddle Jumper' that we are, and I quote...."Going where people only smile" Now that... is a really exciting thought.~~~ (Imaging life going by where everyone smiled). I have been thinking about this ever since I heard the phrase, and wondering why. This business, of people only smiling day in and day out almost warrants making the list a wonder of the world. Surely it could be listed as a No. 8 - 'Natural' wonder.
I think that it is the 'tick of time' that winds everyone up, to the point of wringing that last grin from our faces. Over here in Mexico where the favourite saying is "Manana" which means 'maybe someday' and the 'maybe' is interpreted loosely, and yes... the 'someday' speaks for itself. For me, know it is February opps March, but as for the day, date, and on many occasion the time has become less and less relevant. Over here in the marina, and I dare say in the French Polynesia they/we (now) only talk in 'Seasons' there are only 2. So that in itself immediately makes life less stressful. There is the season when you sail and the season when you stay put. Here the Mexicans smile a lot also and are extremely helpful, no matter what dirty, crammed, or high flying, near impossible job you have got to achieve. Then again it could be that they know they will never see you again, so 'adios amigos' may be behind that smile, I know I would be thinking that if I was them.
The trades and services here are awesome and the prices cheap! Worthy of every cent we pay. The Taxi driver (Rafael) drives you any distance to the supermarket both near and far. He then waits patiently no matter how long you take. His little face shows up at the exact checkout you go to, then you find he is overseeing that the items are packed correctly. He insists on placing the bags in the trolley ...and insists on wheeling it out... and unloading again when we get to the car... and then again when you get your marina trolley! I looked behind me to see if he was following because I could have done with a hand up and over and down into the galley, but no he was on his merry way to drive another yachtie somewhere. Not that time was an issue, just she was there.
This is not random service with a smile.....The boy in the bike-hire shop; I didn't even buy my bike from him. He has been very generous with his time. Firstly, he sold me that cool seat for only 50 pesos, (less than $5) and then graciously fitted it for nothing. A day later I had the gall to swing by for another simple issue. Yet again - no payment required, he just smiled! See what I mean - how good!
The only way for this phenomenon to make it across the Pacific to Australia might be to abandon that ticking clock ...........perhaps I should just go visit where people only smile and do some more research. Stand by, oh! Make that 'manana' .

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The sweets

The pillion passanger heading off for the ride of his life

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The Adventurer
Jenny g

An unassuming Australian adventurer rumbled into town on his dust covered black motor bike with side car. He had driven through the Copper Cannon System, moving to the beat of his own drum and possibly the drums of the Tarahumara Indians. After seeing both the bike and him so dusty and weathered I decided to check the history of this expedition on Google ....and what a rugged wilderness passage it was for him!
He was in town checking in with us as potential crew, then planed to drive to Seattle to stow his bike and to visit to a few good people. Who he says helped him along his way. I googled his next trip from La Paz Mexico to Seattle America, and it too is a journey of huge mileage, not to mention the drop in temperature to 5 degrees. This ranks him as a serious adventurer and biker as well.
He spent 2 full days sorting, god only knows how much an adventurer has to sort after such an extensive trip for years through the wilderness. He then bunks his tired and dusty self into Mexican hostel accommodation close to our marina. He can't drift off to sleep for his weary body won't let him but takes much needed rest.
He chats to the people around him within and I suspect takes a marzipan sweet from an idle person in the hallway of the accommodation. He asks an idle person sitting in a wheelchair if he wants a ride in his bike up to the shops and when this was accepted with such delight, he then offers this disabled person a side-car ride to Seattle with him the next day - 'just for kicks' he said. However the adventurers' calendar already was hard pressed for time to be back within 3 was a tight turnaround. With his "should be fine" attitude he makes both space and time for another human being on his antique motor cycle.
We both felt this special adventurer warranted a wave off on his journey, so we head up to the car park in time to see his departure. As we approached the side-car we were offered a marzipan sweet by the disadvantaged pillion passenger. The still dust covered bike was loaded up to the hilt with the side car companions' trusty wheelchair strapped to the top - readily accessible. That grateful companion was sitting pretty with the box of sweets on his lap ready for the next person he will meet along the route north I suspect.
This is not my story to tell but just want to say that 'the adventurer' was going to be inspiring as a crew member aboard Condesa. The Pacific crossing will be just a part of his next expedition; it must be never ending adventures for people with the time and the respect for the world and what it has to offer. And I am sure the latest travelling companion who accompanied him on the ride north to Seattle in that side car had witnessed a rare act of kindness he would never have imagined being offered to him.
I looked forward to hearing more about the Indian tribes and their lives in the Copper Canyon region when we are drifting across the Pacific.
But sadly that day never came for either of us. RIP Dean

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The Bravo Markets
Jenny g
25/02/2012, La Paz

In the middle of the markets

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The Butcher
25/02/2012, Bravo Markets La Paz

Found the one I think I need

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