S.V Condesa Del Mar

23 meter Herreshoff Schooner built in Wilmington Boat Yard California 1970 onwards. Fit out completed mid 1990's. Mark and Jenny Gaskell purchased Condesa November 2011 and crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2012.

28 July 2021 | The Heart of the Reef
21 July 2021 | Whitsunday Islands
15 July 2021 | The Coral Sea Resort
11 July 2021 | The a Great Barrier Reef
07 July 2021 | The Barrier Reef
04 July 2021 | Middle Percy Island
30 June 2021 | Underway headed for Middle Percy Island
23 June 2021 | Coral Sea
18 June 2021
07 June 2021 | Gold Coast
25 July 2015 | The Yard Brisbane Ship Lifts Murarrie
01 September 2014 | Nara Inlet
01 September 2014 | Nara Inlet
15 August 2014 | Lady Musgrave Island
11 July 2014 | Middle Percy Island
30 December 2013 | Southport Gold Coast
15 December 2013 | Brisbane River
17 September 2013 | Brisbane River
28 July 2013 | Bundaberg to Brisbane Sail
28 July 2013 | Bundaberg to Brisbane

I Wonder

28 July 2021 | The Heart of the Reef
Jenny Gaskell | Is God’s gift
After a few days on anchor outside Airlie's rock wall, the time had come to head into the marina. The high wall protects the marina from the weather and we knew a change was coming.
We radioed ahead as instructed, as the marina staff kindly provide a dockhand to assist with lines.
We fell away from our anchorage, entered the leads and carefully navigated the somewhat narrow s-bend walled entrance into the marina. I was standing pretty on the forward deck watching for any other vessel movement above the height of the wall, with my line in hand.
Surprisingly, perched on top of the wall we inched past, sat a helipad and I wondered about it's shrewd location and use. Perhaps it's for a medivac team for any offshore emergency?
Anyway, meandering cautiously, allowing oodles of time for the dockhand to walk to our berth from her last job. Thrilled about having assistance, especially when you don't have bow thrusters to combat wind and tide.
Once inside the entrance, He Who Hums and I were both blown away by the number of huge super yachts within! We, my friends were heading down millionaires row, which looked like a postcard scene from Monaco. When I looked around I suspected two things in that instance .... VIP's must arrive via the helipad! And secondly, the docking assistance must be to limit incidents, as NO one wants to bump into neighbours like these before an official introduction.
Peering at the dock, I wondered where our dockhand could be, we were almost ready to turn into the pen. I was scouting about but not seeing anyone even remotely interested in taking my line. I wondered if we had the right pen number when He Who Hums from the helm said, 'We'll have to get this right'! (Oh No shit Sherlock🤦🏻‍♀️) .... staring at million the dollar boat next door.
Already planning my jumping off point and the need to swiftly tie all 3 lines before before our 10ft bowsprit wanders off in the breeze.
We've executed this manoeuvre many times before, but somehow this one in particular just ramped up a notch or two million!
I leapt like a gazelle and quickly threw on the midships line first ✅, bolted to the stern and locked down the line He Who Hums tossed ✅. Running up to the bow noticing the boat was drifting across towards our neighbour, aware I had left some slack at midships to allow for forward momentum📈. I immediately hooked the bow line on the cleat and leant with my full body weight to drag her back across the pen before "kissing" our neighbour hello, (not me, the boat!). That's then I heard a voice behind me advising I might need to tie it a tad closer. And without even looking I wondered if that name tag read Sherlock🤔.
After all was said and done, we were warmly welcomed and given a rundown on the facilities. Such a nice touch, although taking a line for me would have been farrrr nicer.
However, where the super yachts around oozed sophistication and power, Condesa made up with elegance and charm, sitting quietly in amongst them.
That night we turned on our special old -school deck lights before heading up to the harbour-side restaurant, immediately aware our neighbours were ablaze with stylish names splashed professionally across each stern, just above the swim platforms where their jet skis perch. Not to mention the vibrant neon lights below the waterline igniting the marina. The fish were seemingly just as engrossed with the light source, continually returning for a closer look, barely believing their eyes.
This outstanding marina became our home base for a while. We sailed out for days at a time, enjoying different parts of the Greatest Natural Wonders of the world and returned when the winds were unfavourable.
Like the fish, we continued doing loops, equally mesmerised by the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays. Sailing Butterfly Bay and circling around to the famous Whitehaven beach, absorbing the magnificence of the long stretch of soft silica sand, part of which swept and swirled around the shallow waters for as far as the eye could see.
I wonder what it would be like to drift aimlessly with the tide from the very top of Whitehaven to the far end.
Each time we trekked up to the viewing deck, the landscape morphed into something gloriously different, but yet the same.
No wonder everyone here....on charter, private and tour boats, helicopters, sea-planes, both sail and power boats, the monohulls and cats, the tall ships and the mega yachts keep coming back, day after day, year after year. For as long as nature's beauty reins up here in the 'Heart of the Reef', people continue to tick bucket lists and why wouldn't you?

Shooting Stars in a Simple Place and Time

21 July 2021 | Whitsunday Islands
Jenny Gaskell
Oh they appeared... they were everything... and they left in the blink of an eye.
I am talking about the family, and the mini vacay had onboard Condesa. We were so grateful our stars aligned and we could be together in the same place, at the same time for more than a few hours.
So remote, the world they left behind, stayed behind, insert in one clear, breathless night and absolutely nowhere else anyone needed to be. A rarity and we were in heaven!
It was a stunning anchorage. Condesa drifted into the long, deep and narrow inlet of Nara to spend the night, in what looked like nature's own auditorium. The moon barely lighting a path. It's was unusual to see the waters so lifeless and smooth as silk, only when you broke the surface did the phosphorescence ignite with iridescent lime green sparks. Condesa's deck was scattered with cushions and doonas ready for a night of star gazing. Even Edie (the little heart thief) and Lulu (the little Minx) were nestled in amongst us, their faint little voices broke out with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, each word floating reverently up into the atmosphere.
If I could freeze frame a moment in time it would be this one, appreciating it could never be repeated in the same way again.
Nothing makes you feel smaller than peering at the "universe" and trying to make sense of the infinite galaxy of stars and all that might exist beyond.
I was listening to the banter about Jupiter bring the brightest star and hearing the little ones chirping into the conversations with their questions. All
of it gentle like white noise that added to our unique observatory setting. The Milky Way was littered with stars and the visible constellations were a beautiful memory of being our road map to sail home across the Pacific.
Is there anything better than the wonder of a child? No, but in reflection, having your children and their children share such an moment was one of life's special gifts.
The intermittent silence was deafening and strangely even more powerful, as each of us formed our own perception of what spanned the night sky.
Eventually one after the other they drifted off to bed. The final break of silence, He Who Hums asked what I was doing... 'I'm busy, counting my lucky stars and you can do the same'.

The Point of a Pier

15 July 2021 | The Coral Sea Resort
Jenny Gaskell | Perfect
Hi!
Just lying right here on terra firma, scanning the long stretch of this pier jutting into the Coral Sea. The original timber structure now supporting a gleaming white arc canopy for protection. I imagine one would alight from one’s ship with one’s trunks after a stint at sea back in the day. Now the Pier has been decommissioned for transits and set up for one to sit, should one wish to watch the sun melt away behind the pretty vista. 🤔 *Note to self - One might just do that later.
Speaking of stretch, if I lift my head far enough, I can spot ‘Condesa’ anchored just beyond in the glistening waters, patiently awaiting our return. Just one beautiful vessel, amongst many.
I wonder if she is what He Who Hums saw in his mind’s eye? When he was a young-gun travelling salesman 35+ years ago. He stood here, on this landmark and told himself .... ‘One day I will sail a boat here’ .....and despite the odd “Debbie downer”....Here he/we are! Over the years it has become our favourite anchorage of all.
Kudos to the cricketer who earned himself a different cap I say!
If I shut out my surroundings, I could be anywhere in the world. The background music is adequately exotic, giving an air of ‘holiday romance’ to this resort and the tempo of the bongo drums is fitting for the tropical pool bar setting.
Feeling a tad guilty lazing here in Peurto Rico 🤦🏻‍♀️, I mean Airlie. I take stock and check... and so far today we are doing exactly as planned and that was - nothing! Well, maybe a few laps should we feel the urge. For now just to remain in stillness, when your heart and head are ever so gently rocking is suffice.
There’s a ruckus happening from beneath the jetty, I surmise a shark chasing a very large school of fish🙄. And much to our surprise the proof came later. It was a 2 metre tiger shark doing the rounds in Port of Airlie anchorage😳. Lucky He Who Hums had checked our hull and propeller back at Brampton Island. There will be absolutely no water jobs for Condesa in the Whitsundays. So, I presume when we are done here, we’ll just have to rest out there.
Plus, that stroll to the end of the pier to wrap up one’s day of dreaming. 😑

T’was a Wee Mutiny

11 July 2021 | The a Great Barrier Reef
Jenny Gaskell | Great then Horrid then great
Anyone who sails, can relate to the fact that every island is beyond fabulous, right up until the swell or the weather gets boisterous. It's just the Ying and the Yang of sailing but most people see only the cocktails and sunsets. Mostly because when things like this happen the last thing you have time for is capturing it.
After the most stunning island sunset we had ever witnessed, we then woke up to a horrendous swell and tide change within the anchorage.
It was going to be a long night. Condesa was hobby-horsing, to the point where our aft-cabin windows were underwater, until they came up for air . You wouldn't read about it! (Uncle Lin's would say). With each deep plunge, I was ready to bolt upright and hold them tight, fearing they might somehow unlatched under the pressure. He Who Hums knew they wouldn't, but slept at the nav desk to keep one eye on things. There, he made his own plan, as he remained awake helpless to the situation.
We weren't the only ones riding this out. It mattered not, how near or far to the island you were, every vessel in the anchorage was rolling around like a pig.
It appeared most had made an escape plan and executed it as soon as they could.
You guessed it! Anchors away at first light, right when I was finally in a deep sleep and dreamin like a crazy fool.
Next minute, my life jacket is on and I took position at the helm. At first glance I mentioned the GPS map looked skewiff, (pretty much like my mind). He who dared to disagree was obviously way too keen to bring up the anchor and hoist the sails, which in turn made me then think he also appeared a tad off!
It was during this exercise, we had an unexpected issue with raising the main sail. I was trying to keep the nose pointing into the wind that felt like two opposing magnetic fields at play. One being the wild water and the other was the skittish wind. My patience was lessening as the rocky scape appeared to be nearing, and still I didn't have the nod that the main sail was up. I couldn't look up to see, as the wheel and I were at loggerheads.
Even though I have stated before, objects always appear to be closer to you than they really are, but today was not the day to trust any of my theories. Time and distance were racing each other and there was nothing I could do but voice my opinion over the wind, wait and watch.
Lots of frustration had, for both of our roles, the mood was frayed....let's say flogged actually, like our flag we left fluttering it's goodbyes in the A frame hut.
Finally I got the go ahead to wrangle Condesa away from the headland. I muttered a few words which meant congratulations of sorts and immediately turned to fill the sails with wind.
We had a wee mutiny on board. 🏴‍☠️
'Cause everyone prides themselves with being competent, right? I reminded myself how harmonious we are normally, changing guards like clockwork, backing each other's moves, most times without a word uttered. What had just happened? I guess I wasn't prepared for it being anything other than our usual get up and get out routine.
Clearly it was not the time or place to debrief, as we had 60 nautical miles of very spirited sailing still ahead. My mood mirrored the confused sea as Condesa stomped through the 2 mtr swell that also beat our back quarter, adding insult to injury.
My mother would be cursing Huey, Pedro would be pleading to his sailor mate Stew and after a good distance, we pleaded mercy to the sea.
'He-Who-the-Buck-Stops-With', altered our heading and we "fell off" enough to sooth both Condesa's path and my perspective on one or two things.
We continued to weather the same conditions, knowing we could take rest when we reached our destination.
I noted the Captain becoming chirpier with each nautical mile we ticked off. I guess he felt he was gaining back some law and order aboard. 😆
It was well beyond 'brunch' , when I plated up "humble pie" for us to divide evenly in two. 😉
I put on my rose coloured glasses and saw he was beginning to look less skewiff than first thought, as was the sea-state.

PS. No need to send help, this was so last week 😆 Many Yings and no yangs had since.🙏🏻 🙄

Bit of This n Bit of That

07 July 2021 | The Barrier Reef
Jenny Gaskell
A hot cup of tea in hand, breakfast is done, island ahead and I’m wedged into the loving lap of our well-travelled orange beanbag. The sun’s strength is just enough to balance the temperature of the Queensland’s winter sea-breeze. It’s a shame, today we don’t have enough wind our sails cannot counteract the 2-3mtr swell but we are underway.

How was it, when I was in the galley it felt like 50knots out here. It’s actually the swell more than the wind that created havoc whilst cooking. I found muscles I haven’t used since my netball days. And I’ve discovered I have some fancy defence footwork I never knew I was capable of. I always preferred the attack positions, shooting goals mostly..... Well still shooting goals, but they result in the form of bacon, cherry tomato and feta omelette with freshly chopped parsley tossed from a great height (because the swell said so), and cracked black pepper dumped on my downward fall. Panfried sourdough toast, infused with smoked bacon butter (because I didn’t clean the pan before frying the toast) 😂
That’s how things roll out here! However, “Some of the greatest meals came out of that galley on the Pacific Crossing!”- He Who Hum’s words not mine. I do wish I’d kept a diary of what I dished up, because random creations seem to make the greatest meals. When I stand looking at the stowage of fresh produce, it is easy to be inspired, pick a colour, any colour. This morning He Who Hums response to my question was, ‘whatever is easiest it going to be tough down there’. And that is exactly how it panned out. The bacon was closer than the smoked salmon and I have no idea where the cream cheese has been stashed. I was also aware anything in a cereal bowel would have ended up as textured Picasso style wall decor. So, an omelette it was, which also made for easier transportation back up to the helm.
I can sit here now and plan lunch with a pen and notebook but you and I both know that it will be whatever falls out of the fridge first, because that’s the certainty I am working with today.
Besides looking out I get to see the two tall hairy topped, stoney faced islands (Hexham & Alnwick) we moved between with 100ft of blue green water, the peaceful place where turtles lurk for breakfast, a fisherman bobbed catching their next meal. Through the pass there was the vastness of nothing to take in before we spotted our next destination a mere morning tea distance away.
I had better get ready it was almost time to engage my core and put the kettle on.

You’re Kidding Me

04 July 2021 | Middle Percy Island
Jenny Gaskell
We returned to our favourite island, Middle Percy! Not much had changed, the pretty picture perfect A-frame stool huddled amongst the coconut trees, looking out to West Bay in which we were anchored. It is a comforting sight after a full day on the water. Flooded with feelings of home away from home, the kettle will be on the fire and maybe the promise of pumpkin soup or goat stew to be served, if we are lucky.
It became evident the years had past when we found our flag slightly more flogged, deep within the frame among hundreds of other boating paraphernalia. Sadly Condesa's name and years were barely visible, evidence 5 years had passed. We will fix that later, as we made plans for our first morning to walk up to the homestead.
He Who Hums suggested we take the shorter 2.5klm creek bed walk, beyond the lagoon and we would return via the 4klm round route past Rescue Bay, Ring Ring Rock, where you can pick up a line and watch whales jumping in the pass below all at the same time. Both routes were filled with mystique and wonder. Every tree and rock told the tale of it's harsh existence contrasted by the sections of lush rainforest and plumes of happy butterflies that spring to life as you near. The vital landmarks can be anything from a painted coconut, a hanging float, a line of sticks, piles of rocks or fallen trees placed intermittently even as the bush thickens. We looked up we had reached the steep climb we were warned of.
Excited when I spotted, what I thought was a donkey up ahead amongst the trees or a wild horse? No, too short to be a horse He Who (had) Hummed said. We stopped in our tracks as it slowly turned to look our way I heard the words "wild pig" that made me will my adrenalin to get me from where I stood up to the fork in the tree instantly. The standoff remained until we focused and Old Frank the resident goat stepped out in the clearing where we could see his short identifiable black horns. It appeared he was waiting for us. We encouraged him to carry on ahead and he reluctantly did so, until he needed a breather again, where we'd catch him up again. This time we beckoned him to pick up his step or get out of the way, which he did, a few seconds after the command sank in. I wondered if Frank was Bronte the brown Labrador reincarnated, as she lead us from the homestead back to Condesa the exact same manner.
I heard a noise to the left of us in the bushes. Frozen again, as wild boars were still in the forefront of my mind. Bounding out came 3 kids! Relieved, how cute, they looked leaping and playing in the long grass. Oh god, I hope we are not between the parent and the kids. I didn't fancy being ambushed from behind. We sussed out the scene and Ol' Frank was puzzled by our concern so we returned to our ambling pace set by the nonchalant goat on island time.
We reached the plateau and overtook Frank leaving him in the scrub, as the pleasant thought of sitting with the caretakers chatting over tea and biscuits was now within reach. Lots of familiar historic machinery around the homestead to match the stories with the caretakers Robin and Anne. Also the owners of the historic 75ft schooner we passed sitting high and dry in the lagoon at low tide.
"Sorry, anyone needing a top up?"
Oh yes please!

Sail Under Your Own Star

30 June 2021 | Underway headed for Middle Percy Island
Jenny Gaskell | 15knots NE

Ever wondered how much your surrounds unfluence your mindset, enhance your health, even alter your biology?
Living on the water feels refreshing and bit like a reset for me. I am acutely aware of my bubble, even more so when I’m sleeping. It is the slow rising and falling with the pull of the full moon as if the ocean is in a beautiful deep sleep. And knowing the constellations are above as a constant guide is a true gift in itself. It all feels good right? Unless of course it’s cloudy, rainy or the wind is on the nose. (I don’t mean smelly, I mean blowing the wrong direction).

So, when the weather doesn’t play the game, we seek refuge in an anchorage or a protected bay. And if you have a small draft you can shelter from a big blow up a picturesque river, creek or even in a mangrove. For Condesa, we headed her into a marina this time to carry on with boat jobs, allowing the wild wind and sea-state to settle.

Our good friend and natural born sailor friend Pedro, once told me he hated coming to shore . Wait, what?! I was agasped, totally naive to what he was actually saying. What about the dining out, the people you meet, the awesome local markets? Or, the long, hot, day-dreamy shower while you wait for the laundry? (asking for a friend)
Years on and I understand what he meant. The rainy day we arrived I was alerted to local news about slippery, wet ramps and croc sightings in the marina all whilst making my way up the narrow gangway to check-in and book the courtesy car to run errands. Time is of the essence when you head to the nearest town and so you overhear conversations, not so much about the weather, more “news” related and intense. The minute you pick up on the vibe of a town, before you know it you’re driving with the break and excellerator on at the same time. (if you know what I mean)

So here we are - the chemistry of the environment, feeding our cells and sure enough your brain is wired to sweat the small/big stuff. Pedro had a good point though....many actually 🤟🏻😆. The day you untie the boat from the dock, drift away, the rules and regulations dilute in your wake, then it’s you, your vessel and the blanket of stars to cocoon the quiet that can rein. (within)

Stay safe wherever you are everyone!
Vessel Name: La Condesa Del Mar
Vessel Make/Model: Herreshoff Schooner 73 ft
Hailing Port: Southport Brisbane Australia
Crew: Mark & Jenny Gaskell
About:
Boat and water lovers from the east coast of Queensland. Both Mark and Jenny enjoyed an upbringing holidaying on the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast where the smell of the ocean is ingrained at a young age. The passion grew with each vessel large and small over the years. [...]
Extra: Having conquered the east coast of Queensland Australia the biggest challenge and adventure was crossing the Pacific ocean in 2012 just months after purchasing. Leaving La Paz Mexico in March 2012 reaching for Australian waters October 2012. We love the simplicity and beauty of being live-aboards.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/svcondesa
Social:
La Condesa Del Mar's Photos - Main
The return to our favourite spot in the Percy group. Two days was not enough but we will return 🤩
1 Photo
Created 5 July 2021
The surprise week with the kids in Musket Cove
38 Photos
Created 18 September 2012
Throughout Fiji Islands
20 Photos
Created 12 September 2012
Our Puddle Jump Celebrations on Moorea Island
20 Photos
Created 12 September 2012
Discovering Tahiti and family come to visit Condesa
20 Photos
Created 3 September 2012
This little escapade was one of my favorites maybe it was the great company we had
16 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
This is the river discovery as inthe blog Free Falling
19 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
Our stint in the remote beauty of Suwarrow
26 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
Our trek deep into the Cascades on Nuku Hiva
20 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
21 days at sea
22 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
Day 21 onwards !
3 Photos
Created 14 May 2012
Here are files of photos from purchase to preparation for the Puddle Jump
20 Photos
Created 12 April 2012
Captured as we worked
28 Photos
Created 12 April 2012
Our 6 weeks in La PAz we have has a ball and celebrated with the locals and the fleet. We have worked hard and will reep the rewards at sea.
22 Photos
Created 11 April 2012
When out and about I snapped a few styles of homes and buildings - enjoy
26 Photos
Created 4 April 2012
The word "carnaval". The general consensus is that it evolved during the middle ages, as part of the Roman Catholic ritual of lent. I hear it concludes on 'Fat Tuesday'???
20 Photos
Created 16 March 2012
The journey south from Guaymas to La Paz
20 Photos
Created 16 March 2012
From Day 1 - Day 7 The preparation to launch La Condesa Del Mar to sail the Sea of Cortez
18 Photos
Created 4 January 2012