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.

20 February 2012 | Marina De La Paz
17 February 2012 | Marina De La Paz
15 February 2012 | Marina De La Paz
11 February 2012 | Brisbane
25 January 2012
04 January 2012 | Guaymas to La Paz
12 October 2011 | Brisbane Australia

Key Performance Indicators

13 October 2021 | Hook Island
Jenny Gaskell | Northerlies blowing !!!!!
Walkin the walk and talkin the talk, from what I've seen it is actually a big part of a Boatie's job description. Of course when you come into an island you don't have to go far before you spot a water lover of the same elk, even from a distance. And of course after the usual tee-tar-tate the very next thing I can 💯 guarantee you, is the confirmation of the wind direction 🤣. Oh which ignites the conversation towards how long it will blow etc. PS There are no prizes for getting it right. Even an ol bloke off SV Blind Freddie would know the forecast despite some hearing loss. Many sailors are itching for the same wind to start their return voyage south.
However, a single question was asked by a landlubber that had me thinking. Q:- But how do you know which way to go to get home?
Well, an old seasalt once told me 20 years ago (and no it wasn't Pedro), this sailors nic name was Nine-and-a-Half, but that's another story🖖😆. His instructions as he left me at the helm for my first night watch ever were rather simple. 'Ok just keep Australia on this side and the open sea on that side, and the view of one star constellation in your rigging! You'll be fine' 😬 Righto then, I told myself 'you've got this jg' as he left to go sleep. Yes sleep! I then set out to survive his somewhat simplistic instructions.
Unlike Nine-and-a-Half, He Who Hums does homework and the return trip for us looks like this - he had opened the maps, identified our location, pin pointed our destination and scanned the area between for depths and hazards ie rocks, reef, sandbanks, channel markers and set a course navigating around any such issues. Then it's up to us to watch for any other moving or stationary vessels eg- small fishing boats 🚣🏾‍♀️ whilst underway. This diligence happens from broad daylight into the night. Aside from all this, you keep an eye on your sails, listen to your motor, watch your navigational equipment and care for people on board. Should all that be honky dory then your plain sailing!
And sometimes (like yesterday) some other very thoughtful sailor will photograph Condesa under full sail, doing what she does best and uploaded it to a Sailing Facebook page, making it look as majestic as it felt scooting down the east coast of Queensland.
What they don't capture is Condesa sneaking into a crowded anchorage, navigating the narrow headland markers at 2.30am due to a change of final destination because of (you got it) the updated wind forecast.
For me it was just as exhilarating to helm her in the pitch black last night as my first ever attempt to night sail. It was as black as the ace of spades outside, apart from the hundreds of anchor lights ahead. I was guided mostly by the single I-pad plotter and messages from He Who is Humming to himself on the forward deck. He was busy looking for a spot to drop anchor.
Inching in as quietly as one can to not disturb the sleeping explorers. He Who is navigator finds the spot and I bring Condesa in carefully and cut the engine.
Silence reins after our 19 hour sail south. Before we bed down the boat and ourselves we look up to the gazillion stars and thank those who's job it is to watch over us. And to those beautiful people who pepper the heavens with their prayers whilst we are navigating life out here. 🙏🏻 🥰

image courtesy of Matt Power


From Dream to Dream

07 October 2021 | Marlin Marina Cairns
Jenny Gaskell | 10 knots Northerlies, calm seas sunny days
You guessed it! Condesa is southbound, leaving Lizard Island behind.
We are counting our blessings to have had the weather window and the guts to head so far north, knowing people can get caught at Lizard Island for anywhere up to a month waiting for the right forecast (which would send some humming people troppo). What did Pedro say? The biggest thing sailing will teach you?...... is patience.
They wait there because no one likes to bash into the weather to mo e south. I probably should explain. The underlying pressure to keep moving, is the insurance companies require vessels to be south of Bundaberg for cyclone season.
However, this rambling was not meant to be about weather. 🙉

We said goodbye at sunset drinks the day prior and parted with a bag of fresh fish fillets, gifted from the young fisherman who wanted nothing in return. Too bad, he got the beers taking up room in my fridge for his kind gesture!
Ok where was I ..... Yes, the feelings when Condesa turned her back on the kaleidoscope of reefs and marine life and navigated away from her anchorage. He Who Hums so loudly, put up our sails and I played my part in exiting Watson’s bay in a very serene and humbled manner equaling the surrounds.
Once settled into the rhythm of the sea, it was sweet grilled Fish salad prepped for lunch and fish disguised in crumbs with vegetables for dinner. Enough to sustain us for the nightsail ahead.
Being the end of the moon’s third quarter, the stage was set for a dark voyage. There was nothing to see, not even on land. We travelled with the whoosh of the water that mesmerised us. Whilst the navigational screens had us visibly pointing in the right direction. It was no surprise there was minimal marine traffic around us or on the radio throughout the night as we were sailing in pretty isolated waters far north Queensland.
After 20 hours in next to no wind, we motor sailed toward the distant red and green harbour lights. This sight slowly sharpens your mind the closer you draw near. Eventually, we turned Condesa to landfall and followed the very long channel markers into port, whilst everyone was sleeping.
We dropped our sails first, then entered the rock wall passage and found our allotted mooring. It is here your brain electrifies into 💯ON. He Who Hums was manoeuvring with precision and in the wee hours of the morning I was using my low voice and spotlight to guide Condesa dockside.
All this happened with the lullaby of the one lonely little bird nearby who sensed a new day pending. We tried not to disturb him as 3am was way to early to start the flock of gulls off and I would hate to try to sleep with those guys banging on about picnic scraps and hot chips (as they do in this seaside marina).
We held a little supper of tea and toast before bed where we both silently acknowledge our safe arrival, something we never take for granted.
The pillow never felt so good! (I lie. I say that every night. 😂) The brain had us rocking, while our bodies remained dead still.
I swear the sleep fairy must have circled once with her wand and all the wonders of our Fitzroy Island voyage replayed in fast forward from beginning to end.
We had a solid 4 hours recovery before the seagulls announced another stunning day, the reef tour boats were in action, clearly with some food onboard by the sounds of it.

We are AOK!

01 October 2021 | Lizard Island
Jenny Gaskell | Heavenly!
Ok this is a quick update as I have to sit in the bar to get reception and we all know my list of drinks are not that extensive.😂

What a gem it is! From the minute we wake to the time we fall into bed, it is a visual spectacular all around us.

Nature at its best! The waters are pure, air clean and reefs are thriving despite the previous cyclones and disasters they have endured in the past years.
He Who Hums is still the keeper of every wind gust in the bay, but I have to say the investment in the new windlass (anchor winch) and heavier anchor chain has us sitting pretty and there is never a question of any issues. The wind is dying off, so the days ahead will be his well earned glass-out where he can relax.
We have anchored right out the back of Watson’s Bay. To the left of us is a mountainous range. Yes, of course we climbed Cooks Peak to take in the 360 degree view of the stunning reefs. How high you ask? Bloody high! - Note to self not as fit as required. 🤪

To the right of us on land is the exclusive resort and the Reef Research Station where scientists from across the world came to study our world wonder of over 4,000 species of coral - and 16,000 different fish. Hey don’t quote me, I had a touch heat stroke by the time I walked to the station.🥵
The low lying land adjoining both has a runway for light aircrafts.
The surrounding reefs, filled with clam gardens and colourful coral sitting in aquamarine waters that drop away into vibrant blues and greens, equivalent to an opal gem stone.🥰
So our welcoming committee were two healthy (aka large) lemon sharks who scoot in as soon as the anchour drops. I haven’t spotted them since, but the fish life here is plentiful, so everyone is happy.
I am off to get a pic of the two large Humphead Wrasse in the clam garden (acting like sharks 🦈 in my peripheral vision) and perhaps the lone croc spotted by staff on Coconut Beach. They radio broadcast the boats in the bay so everyone is aware.
All in all we are channeling the famous and talented Captain Cook, Valerie Taylor, Steve Irwin and Bo Derek (kidding)
Should we survive all that, it will be ‘cooks night off’, as the Marlin Bar is open for sunset drinks, fish and chips on the menu.
Up here, no mask required, but shoes are essential! Not even kidding!
Wow this is thirsty work, off to get another drink! 🍹

We are AOK!

01 October 2021 | Lizard Island
Jenny Gaskell | Heavenly!
Ok this is a quick update as I have to sit in the bar to get reception and we all know my list of drinks are not that extensive.😂

What a gem it is! From the minute we wake to the time we fall into bed, it is a visual spectacular all around us.

Nature at its best! The waters are pure, air clean and reefs are thriving despite the previous cyclones and disasters they have endured in the past years.
He Who Hums is still the keeper of every wind gust in the bay, but I have to say the investment in the new windlass (anchor winch) and heavier anchor chain has us sitting pretty and there is never a question of any issues. The wind is dying off, so the days ahead will be his well earned glass-out where he can relax.
We have anchored right out the back of Watson’s Bay. To the left of us is a mountainous range. Yes, of course we climbed Cooks Peak to take in the 360 degree view of the stunning reefs. How high you ask? Bloody high! - Note to self not as fit as required. 🤪

To the right of us on land is the exclusive resort and the Reef Research Station where scientists from across the world came to study our world wonder of over 4,000 species of coral - and 16,000 different fish. Hey don’t quote me, I had a touch heat stroke by the time I walked to the station.🥵
The low lying land adjoining both has a runway for light aircrafts.
The surrounding reefs, filled with clam gardens and colourful coral sitting in aquamarine waters that drop away into vibrant blues and greens, equivalent to an opal gem stone.🥰
So our welcoming committee were two healthy (aka large) lemon sharks who scoot in as soon as the anchour drops. I haven’t spotted them since, but the fish life here is plentiful, so everyone is happy.
I am off to get a pic of the two large Humphead Wrasse in the clam garden (acting like sharks 🦈 in my peripheral vision) and perhaps the lone croc spotted by staff on Coconut Beach. They radio broadcast the boats in the bay so everyone is aware.
All in all we are channeling the famous and talented Captain Cook, Valerie Taylor, Steve Irwin and Bo Derek (kidding)
Should we survive all that, it will be ‘cooks night off’, as the Marlin Bar is open for sunset drinks, fish and chips on the menu.
Up here, no mask required, but shoes are essential! Not even kidding!
Wow this is thirsty work, off to get another drink! 🍹

Story time

26 September 2021
Jenny Gaskell
Certain words should never be written in the same sentence, but here goes!
I saw a blind man with a cane walking to the dock in croc country, far North Queensland!
There you have it, how I needed to get that off my chest!
It was also that deceivingly peaceful end of day, everything appears still and quiet around here, but everyone knows reptiles lurk beneath the surface.
I was totally in my own little world on the way to the laundry for the third time, to collect the final load when something sliding from side to side at the top of the gangway gets my attention. You've got to be kidding me, this man must be off track! Did he miss the restaurant back there? Quickly analysing his right to stroll the marina to enjoy in the late afternoon like anyone else, I guess. Yet I was still listing my every concern as to why he shouldn't actually be there alone.
Not wanting to act hastily, I searched his eyes to check the degree of sight we were dealing with. He clearly hadn't adjusted his line, or his eyeballs for anything present, not that I personally needed him to, just saying. So, do I ask... stop him ...or just acknowledge the lovely day.... no weather.... heck no🤦🏻‍♀️.
With that he was passing me, I then see a woman at the top of the deck tottering from leg to leg in extreme anxiety, almost whimpering. Ok, now things have gone from bad to worse. I had let him continue with his white stick that appears to have him in the middle of the ramp and I run to her to ask if that was her husband, thinking I had worked this all out. 'No!' she stressed, in what sounded like a little girl voice. She was miniature, but quite mature, if you know what I mean. Her dishevelled grey hair was sticking out from her crooked straw hat and in her own special way she cried that she couldn't do it! What. was. I. dealing. with? Is it a full moon? My mind was racing to work out what exactly was playing out? Our dock was normally filled with routine, day to day, mix of clearly identifiable capable crew and excited and eager tourists heading straight for the charter boat of their choice. No, these people didn't seem to fit the bill. I dare not look any further afield, I had my hands full with this quirky and still squealing little lady. She, in panic told me she had to go down there. Pointing as if a monster croc was snapping behind me. 'But I'm afraid, I am 'spose to be goin on a boat soon!' Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph, if she can't make the relatively wide ramp, how's the adventure up creek going to go. I wondered if they had smelling salts onboard the croc tour as they are going to need it. While she was dropping her bundle, I was dropping my basket offering to walk her. At the same time quickly scanning to see if the white cane picked up the right angle turn ahead.
Out of nowhere a dashing young man with a child in one arm, offers his free elbow, saying 'allow me'. Oh well then, while she was instantly smitten, I was relieved and they walked off into the sunset without a hitch, strangest thing I ever did see.
I headed to back to the normally mundane walk, smiling at my thinking the only thing to stir my senses that afternoon was going to be my crisp, fresh sweet smelling, warm towels.
This was 24hours ago and I'm needed again, this time by He Who Hums. We are about to enter the passage between island and reef to drop Condesa's sails and anchor for the night. All will be bedded down before sunset and we will be safe and secure. But my lesson here is that things aren't always as they appear.
I scamper up the companion way and right now it all looks as orderly as yesterday's pile of freshly folded linen.

The Impossible Dream

24 September 2021 | Crystalbrooke Marina Port Douglas
Jenny Gaskell | Bit of this bit of that, sunshine and the odd shower

Wooo hooo! There is a weather window good enough for departure for Lizard Island this weekend.
Whilst in Port Douglas, we have driven to higher ground and seen the very turbulent offshore waters and the peace and quiet of the Daintree lookout made it all the more boisterous.
He Who Hums is in the bowels of Condesa, checking the engine mounts with a marine mechanic who is supple enough to crawl around the area.
It’s funny, you phone the engineer workshop and the big burley owner says he’ll send someone who is working nearby in the marina. We located the said worker and once he heard the words “engine mounts to be checked”, he then sent the smaller skill-set over to view the job (location is in the bilge of Condesa, where no man roams - just sayin😬).
At 9am I set off to the commence provisioning, noticing the person who viewed it yesterday had sent an even smaller tradesperson today. 🤣
Yes, you do need to be like a carpet snake to get around Condesa’s engine. This roll call of mechanics reminded me of the spanners lined up on the workshop wall. It appears you keep downsizing until you get the right fit for the job.
So, I left the boys to it but didn’t get too far on my mission. I am caught up in The Port Douglas Book Shop, with a very chatty and extremely knowledgeable owner and his furry companion Brandy. The cream coloured Labrador who guards the door, only letting dog-loving-people step over him.
The shop owner loved an early customer, I guess it set the tone for his day amongst preloved books. Within the first 15mins he learns I’m from the marina, makes me a cup of tea, sets it in the maritime book nook where all dog-loving-people sit and insisted I stay as long as I want.
I view the low-set old ruby lounge reminiscent of the one my great grandmother owned and it smells of vintage comfort, so I sink into the too-warm-for-this-weather velvet seat. I respond to the ongoing questions shot from the next isle and ignore Brandy’s polite stare at the biscuit as it goes to my mouth and back to the saucer. All this is happening whilst pretending to read as I notice passersby view us, (the dog lover and dag) through the bookshop window. I have found the perfect book of maps from where I sit.
So now, let’s look at the next leg - 100 NM north (200klm) a 2-3 day hop, even beyond Cooktown.
In conversation someone said to He Who Hums ‘Oh! if your going that far you should also visit Princess Charlotte Bay!’ And, whilst that bay sounds perfectly divine, I can see it is far, far, far north Qld. Before we know it we will be in New Guinea if we’re not careful.
People, we have to turn this ship around before the cyclone season begins!
So back to the plan, if we take a few days to reach the allusive Lizard Island and spend a week “researching” the reefs whilst waiting for weather, eventually the northerly winds should start to blow. Which by then the calendar should read mid October. In that case Condesa a will need to be facing south to begin her return journey. a) pre cyclone season and b) to keep the insurance company happy. Fine! That’s all good timing for family and Christmas prep also.
Speaking of home, I need to get out of this time travelling velvet couch, find the actual book I came in for and hot foot it back via the markets to check on the boat jobs. Actually, I also want to see how small the worker became to achieved the impossible.🙊

Crystal Clear

17 September 2021 | Low Islet and Port Douglas
Jenny Gaskell | Perfect Conditions for Reef exploring
The picture postcard surrounds of Port Douglas enveloped Condesa as she glides past the yacht club deck. It is such close range you can hear the low collective mumbling of the cheerful patrons. This view must trick them into losing their sense of time, as it does us out in the water. The afternoon light sinking behind the mountain ranges, familiar tall palms and deathly quiet waters combined bring back memories of the last time Condesa checked into Crystalbrook Marina. My memory bank says last year, but the true date was September 2015. The familiarity so welcoming, warm and wonderfully tropical. Somehow there is a need to inhale to refresh the already crystal clear image. No wonder I didn't want to leave here last visit, however I can rest assure the heat will be the only thing to drive us out as summer's heat will do that.
He Who Hums loudly busied himself to work on Condesa's hull in Cairns, knowing those impressively gnarly croc skins we handled in Kuranda markets came from these eerie creeks. There was no way he was going to be scrubbing the hull, even from the dingy.
I swear the tourist footage playing of a large croc leaping 10ft out of the water has left him slightly gun shy. Ummm two words "Australia Zoo" hellooooo. 🙌🏻
Crocs are alway in the back of your minds up here, even when walking the marina, which takes me back to the day I warned two Asian back packers, sitting dangling there feet in the cool waters. Them not understanding a word I said about sightings of crocodiles the Marina.
Me: snapping croc charades.
Asian back packers: Horror stricken... lifting their feet.
I never meant to be overly dramatic, but they understood where I was coming from.
Sadly there are no backpackers in town these days but everything else is still here.
We have our sights set on sailing to the elusive Lizard Island, which might happen if our stars align. If not there are many other reefs waiting to be explored nearby.
Meanwhile we seem to meet like minded people who share the love of something so beautiful as the lines of an old boat. But if ever there was a time for long stories to not be cut short, it is when He Who Hums and others speak of any classical boat and their history. With the right person, boat names roll off the tongue such as Bolero, Premier, Links , Hallison, (I could go on 😑), triggering all they know, the whereabouts and credentials. He Who Hums has always been a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to tracking certain boats. It has become a way of life and each time he takes me there I fall more in love with the sea and the vessels who roam across the world.
Anyway, I must go! We are about to jump into a car and we know the driver, he is cut from the same cloth as He Who Hums. Let's call it another fanciful history lesson in classical boats for me listening to these two whist in transit.
Stay safe and we will too!


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