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.

06 September 2023 | Brisbane australia
24 August 2023 | The Panama Canal
19 August 2023 | Linton Bay Panamá
11 August 2023 | Bonaire
07 August 2023 | Bonaire par of the king do of the Netherlands
01 August 2023 | Dominica
26 July 2023 | Antigua, West Indies
10 February 2023 | Hobart
06 March 2022 | Brisbane River
08 December 2021 | Gold Coast Queensland
20 November 2021 | Southport Yacht Club
17 November 2021 | The Great Sandy Straights
13 November 2021 | Coral Sea
06 November 2021 | Keppel Bay Marina
28 October 2021 | Hamilton Island heading south
13 October 2021 | Hook Island
07 October 2021 | Marlin Marina Cairns
01 October 2021 | Lizard Island
26 September 2021
24 September 2021 | Crystalbrooke Marina Port Douglas

Little Home Truths

06 September 2023 | Brisbane australia
Jenny Gaskell | Spring
We are back!

Big cheers to one spectacular adventure with He Who Hums and Pedro; the world circumnavigator/ legend/sea-dog and Viking (incase you didn’t know).
The Caribbean voyage has left me with a kaleidoscope of Island memories and physically I feel free as a bird. 🕊️
I say “I” because He Who Hums feels a little lack lustre from the 3 leg flight home from Panama. After weeks of balmy nights spent sleeping on top deck ducking in and out as showers passed over him.🌧️
When one door shuts another opens they say. Both of us relieved to be through customs when the automatic doors of Brisbane International Airport open to reveal two sweet faces peeking over the rails, little hands gripping their signs larger than their small frames. WE are home!
Like always I cling to the joys of blue water sailing. Knowing it is the fragility of some things that gives more value to life.
So standing here on the threshold between land and sea I unpack some lessons learned.
On top of the list is patience, acceptance and faith, a gift from island people with nothing but big smiles. 🙏🏻
Then there is less clutter, simple living reliant on what you have available. Sailing life is as raw and real as the island grown food we consumed. All marked, pitted and imperfect, yet tastier, fuller and richer. Onboard it is mostly about the weather and the “power you find within” fills every other void. I can tell you just outside of our comfort zone is a place of absolute truth with no room for anything but the facts.
In the blink of an eye we are back in “perceived” reality. Reminded instantly of the role media plays in our everyday lives in the city. The breaking news alerts delivered with full impact.🙈 The old saying no news is good news is where I like to stay. I can’t tell you how peaceful it is not having access to the horrors of world news. I wouldn’t mind if it was balanced with good news but no…good news doesn’t sell 🤷🏻‍♀️
The best headlines for us on returning were two little signs -

Welcome Home G-Ma and Dar
Love Edie and Lulu!

That is all! Oh and Thanks for coming for the ride with us!

Monkey Fist

24 August 2023 | The Panama Canal
Jenny Gaskell | Perfect clear day - no rain
3.30AM SV Jade is poised in a bay this side of the Americas Bridge to take onboard our pilot for the canal. Meanwhile we 4 x line handlers get a briefing on aft deck, by Pedro.
" Listen up!! (Bit of pirate gruff) Once we reach the lock, good chance we will be a mid-canal tie up. So, they'll throw a line down to each of you with a monkey's fist on the end. Get out of the way or it will knock you out cold! You then need to tie a bowline joining THEIR line to YOUR line. Quickly attach it and send it back asap! Don't muck around they'll be waiting." I'm standing amongst 30mtrs of rather unruly rope in a 2ft square space. I can tell by looking at it that it will tangle up as it leaves the deck. ..*must sort that first.. then I need to do a few practice bowlines without the advantage of seeing what I’m doing. 😜
It is after 4AM the pilot-boat is meant to be here. Pedro continues -"When he gets here the Pilot will instruct you further but things might change, so be ready"🥺
I can hear and feel the adrenaline escalating around as the variables are adding up.
Being a Pilot in the Panama Canal is considered a VERY prestigious position. Roy Bravo, our fabulous agent said that I should check if the Pilot would like a hot breakfast as soon as he arrives, and apparently the preference is a hot lunch they I’m responsible for also.👩‍🍳😬
Ok, add that to the pile of knots at my feet and in my stomach. Jeeze I now need to use the loo, alas no time. Out of the dark "He/Senor" stepped onboard with a co-Pilot! 👨🏽‍✈️👨🏿‍✈️And we are off... I'm on my way to happiness or misery today 🎶ahh-hah, ahh-hah. 😚
With our position low to the water we could take in the workings of the magnificent lock system. Imagine this place in 1880 clearing the dense, dark and dangerous jungle. Add in torrential rain, landslides and tropical diseases.🧟‍♀️ A living nightmare for sure.
At 4PM the final lock gates opened to the sound of bells ringing and 100 tourist's cameras pointed down at the final lock and the lock gates opening at a glacial pace. Our diminutive yacht overshadowed by the multi level car carrier over 200 mtrs long with its head up in the clouds.
I hear three cheers from the upper deck of the 1913 Panama Canal Building.
We were celebrating too, happy to report no one lost an eye or a digit. 😝👍
SV Jade is well clear of the canal by 4pm when another pilot-boat miraculously appears. I watch the satiated and happy pilot and his +1 take a weighty leap across the gap between our boats. Their day done as it speeds off with VIP urgency.
We could finally drop our guard after 12 hours on task. A little frayed around the edges we may be but it hasn't unravelled any of us! Pedro's manoeuvring of Jade in and out of 3 ascending and 3 descending locks with a strong under current and random turbulence kept him on his game. Bravo all round.
Canal tally for Super Pedro is now 11! What a Viking!
A double monkey fist pump to you! 👊😅

Our Magic Carpet Ride

19 August 2023 | Linton Bay Panamá
Jenny Gaskell | Warm with heavy showers
Last night we anchored in Linton Bay, up close and personal to reefs and the jungle. As the darkness settles over the jungle the terrifying sound of the howling monkeys along with the all night drummers (maybe the Kuna Indians) hindered our sleep. Whoever it was the rain did not hinder them. He Who Hums stayed on top deck suffering all three, despite the ear plugs of gave him. Apparently the howler monkeys can be heard 3klm away even through thick jungle, so orange ear plugs were definitely not the answer. 🙉
At first light Jade quietly mooched out and around the many vessels. Some obviously abandoned, some with sleeping owners whose guard dog chatted us. The guard dog’s furry companion lifted his head, eye rolled and resumed his resting position. Another day and another threat. As is like the graveyard of masts protruding from the water yet motionless in our wake. I shudder at the tragic loss of these vessels. The hidden monkeys sounding way more upset than the agitated dog to see movement so early in the morning.
A beautiful day in front, rain clouds building behind and restless cranes stirring in one favourite tree waterside.
Underway we watch hard and heavy rain fall, some threaten us, others caught up to us. But there is nothing like a fresh deluge of rain to break up the journey and cool things down. An hour can disappear quickly along with the sight of land. With very large dump of rain I can imagine the ecosystem of the jungle (now non visible) is ignited. Under the huge canopy is home to jaguars, pumas, spider monkeys, anteaters sloths and armadillos. Would loved to have seen a sloth!
The Atlantic side of the canal is very different to the Pacific side where the city of Panama stands.
When we transit the Canal leaving the Atlantic it will be the end of Pedros stories. I have enjoyed hearing about Blackbeards antics, Sir Francis Drake discoveries and Sir Henry Morgan's callivary and the soldiers who were sent to conquer. Many of them would never have seen the cross fire coming.
We only spot the cannons and gunneries clearly as as we exit each beautiful location.
These lands now inhabited with the surviving generations of the Pre Columbian Indians, the Europeans - Spanish and Portuguese, French, Africans, the Dutch and German along with the island natives, who together create the tapestry of nationalities living in the Caribbean islands.
What a magical carpet ride it has been for us. We, who came from our own large island, far from the history of gold smuggling, pirate raids and bloodbath battles of these lands.
We love our place down under we call home in the Pacific. The lucky country Australia!

Naval Gazing

11 August 2023 | Bonaire
Jenny Gaskell | Warm sunny days

It’s early morning and the normally calm waters of Bonaire harbour started to rise and fall. I stirred to a change in Jade’s tempo and poised for last nights dishes to start a racket🙉.(I left them out for God to dry)😬 I’m aware Pedro would have sensed a change way before the first clink of dishes.
It appears a mega cruise ship came into port at first light this morning. The American cruise liner has cast a large shadow over the quaint capital of Kralendijk. Yep, looks like they have more onboard than people live here- things are about to change in this seaside town.
I tippy toed my way over top deck, dodged the sleeping body of He Who Hums to find myself a seat with today’s vista. Shocked to see this ginormous ship actually has a roller coaster on top almost in the clouds. Is that even a thing? 😳
I can see why Pedro likes to sit here for sundowners. Nestled in each corner of the rear deck are two seats with a table to rest your beverage. The aft safetyrail wraps around giving back support and an arm rest! No core strength required…ahhh feet up 😑
Thankfully the sun is not high enough to affect the cool breeze off the water…but give it 5-10 and this too will change.🫠
This Caribbean Island has only two seasons - Dry and Drier! 🤣 Therefore warm (and warmer) all year round for anyone looking for the sun.
There’s Cacti aplenty on the northern end, the earth literally dry as an old boot. But cacti fencing is a thing!
The other end of this island has low lying flatlands, featuring tall pyramid shaped salt stacks ready for exporting. The surreal landscape opens up with kilometres of mauve-pink salt plains that glistens in the sun! I’m definitely adding this to the natural wonders of jg’s world for sure.
The insane pink mirage stretches along one side of the road and vibrant teal ocean on the other both illuminated by the white coral foundation.

I have mixed feelings about tiny miniature huts still standing neatly on the waters edge as they were historically for slaves whilst they harvest solar salt, Maize and to cultivate dyewood 😥
My mint green sarong fluttering against the turquoise waters draws me back to see
white coral waving from beneath the ripple. A school of black bodied fish with a perfect ultra violet outline pass under Jade, such contrasts on every level here. Exactly as the billboard states, Bonaire -In Nature We Live.
The waft of coffee percolating drifts up from the galley which tells me Pedro is awake and an immediate big splash on the portside indicates He Who Hums is up too. Time to get into this day and our chores.
Our next island adventure awaits on Curacao. 😎😍😎
In order, we need to:-
Drink up
Shoes on
Lock down
Shop around
and Check out with port authorities.
All before Jade Sails off in the direction of the Panama Canal.

Clear a Head

07 August 2023 | Bonaire par of the king do of the Netherlands
Jenny Gaskell | Beyond perfect

Loneliness is the space inside your head.

3rd night at sea. A quick 360 degree scan, the Caribbean Sea is empty. Not a soul to be seen for days on end.

It is Saturday 5th August. Dinner is done, the sun has set across the water without any pizzazz at all 🤷🏻‍♀️ and now I’m on watch until mid-night.
It is a perfect temperature under the stars and I have the consistent Caribbean trade wind as my friend.
I get settled, select two navigation stars on the forward port side to follow. A little celestial navigation never hurt anyone. 🤣Just in case the gps cuts out. SV Jade is pointing west for the ABC islands Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire and Carasao) We map 130NM daily. ETA - another two days. 7/8/2023

I start by taking in the GAZILLION pinholes across the blacker than black sky. Twinkling brightly like great knowledge and power stands behind the ink black veil called night sky.

Looks like a clear night of magical sailing. It’s is perfection, just the visible main sail and gib moving us along at a steady 5knots in subdued silence.
One hour in I mention (yes one does talk to the sky) to a few little black puffs of clouds to push off so I don’t have to drop hatches or get my foul weather gear on. Today’s three bursts of squalls in broad daylight was good training in timing and direction of clouds to be concerned about.
I’ll be able to tell when they are a problem without looking as the breeze intensifies and then Jade will prance about like a guard dog antsy with the change of surrounds.
By the second hour into my shift, the horizon had bled eerily into the night sky and those clouds have pocketed my leading stars. I won’t action anything yet (I tell myself) there is a good chance when full moon shows it’s face it might shoo them away. I’ll wait, the moon will shed light on this scenario and all the shadows will hopefully disappear.
It’s 10.20pm - Right on cue an orange glow lifts from the horizon. Within the next hour as she rises from the east, her reflection will edge closer bringing me both light and company.
By the time I hand over to He Who Hums one last scan around and still no traffic to report, the whole sky has lifted, the clouds and stars both have dispersed. It looks like an ordinary night sky, he doesn’t know what he has missed, it’s not the time for that.
The best has happened and so I brace myself retreat down the steps riding the surges from the following sea the same way a monkey swings. I involuntary weave the straight hallway to the aft cabin, wedge myself amongst pillows to counterbalance the lean and listen out until I hear nothing more.

Monday 7th
*3am arrival in Bonsaire, the island is flat as a tack, apart from the National park on southern end. The shoreline buildings set a well lit edge to the island with tall palms (just the way I like it). I spied a square rigger called Cococabana! Like I said it’s dark, it started with C 🤣. I know I’m gonna love this island known for boating history not to mention the best diving in the world!
Goodnight… good morning and good day ! The sun is about to shed sunlight on this place!

The ups and downs

01 August 2023 | Dominica
Jenny Gaskell | Warm 28-30 breezes on the water

Ok, so we've been onboard Pedro’s boat- SV Jade long enough to have a routine and our own favourite places to be comfortable at different times of the day. SV Jades feisty sail from Antigua ironed out a few glitches. Oh nothing I haven't heard before and between Super Pedro and He Who Hums I barely had time to help find a solution and crisis was averted. Murphy made sure air bubbles were in the new steering fluid so no steering for a bit until it was topped up and we all hoped that was the only problem. It took probably 5 minutes and it was only the messy sea state without steering that had me concerned for a nanosecond.
The next leg across from Guadeloupe to Dominica was perfect smooth sailing in fact I think we motored some of the way.

The Caribbean islands have massive bays and ports and you can just imagine it in the 1600-1800s with Tall ships and the like seeking and discovering /fighting to take over new islands. We all know about pirates of the Caribbean, definitely the Johnny Depp kind.
As you can imagine sailing with Pedro we get to hear stories from a wide range of topics. And after serving up BLT's for brunch yesterday I was privy as to how they managed to stop the pirates in the Caribbean .
He started with, You know those men who jumped ship became buccaneers on land as he enjoyed his bacon in his wrap. I crank my neck to peer into these heavily treed monstrous hills as we drift by visualising the hunting down, slaughtering,
salting and trading of pig meats for...I guess a "clean living". Until the mystical square riggers came into the bay and pirating the big ships sounded like a better living. The ending is history but Pedro's version, (you got it) had everything to do with the release of all the women from prisons and brothels as a distraction ... apparently it worked and family ties brought some sense of civility to the ports. I'm sure there was so much more to the story.
His voice changes tone when discussing where to stop in new anchorages. I noticed he adds a bit of pirate gruff to the discussion. Definitely short and sharp, gaining certainty as he decides and scampers across the decks outwardly discussing the options we all have. Meanwhile I look deeper at the crystal clear waters hoping to spot a treasure chest strewn before the wing span of the Frigate birds soaring overhead had my attention. Jade settles in the shade cast by the volcanic mountain that commanded these waters long before the pirates and we arrived.

I Spy

26 July 2023 | Antigua, West Indies
Jenny G | Warm sunny and breezy

Current position:- Antigua, onboard
SV Jade
45' Fuji Ketch rig
Super Pedro's yacht
This location is the end of his solo circumnavigation of the world! It is a privilege to be here and sail the next leg Antigua to the Panama Canal with him.
We have docked at the Antigua yacht club for the past week to achieve the list of boat maintenance, repairs and a spit and polish all before we depart.
Everyday here begins as the breeze intensifies to a constant 15knot funnelled through the hatch above our bunk.
Off I go achieving my own list of things and driving all over this island, in and out of little villages.
Following below is a snapshot of what "I spied" whilst I consistently got lost.

Street stalls sell home grown mangoes, pineapples, greens, papaya, watermelon, plantains etc
Humming birds are swift, colourful and busy. Even the small bugs are bright red and blue and laundry hanging gayly flapping loads of. intense colours.
The street dogs are savvy, they look hungry but go about their own business. As do the goats and their kids.
Speaking of kids, the
pickneys are totally adorable, squishable and stealable!
The youth have such sweet innocence in their eyes, beautiful smooth skin and hair twisted with beads.
The adolescence are really too beautiful for their own good.
Anyone can get a ride by just standing on the side road heading the direction they need.
Both men and women have long dreadlocks or wear high hair under wraps a bit like Madge Simpson.
Adult Antiguans are very cool dudes, it is something about the way they walk.
I hear they can still cast Obeah - (voodoo or black magic) on someone if needed. 😳 eek!
Where was I.....
The village names are cute as are the gelato colours they paint the tiny homes. A favourite village called "Sweets" I'm thinking it would suit He Who Hums.
Everybody here has a nickname, eg "Spotlight" has helped us find our way for any product, person or place.
"Cute" has his face on the billboards around town. His nickname given at birth to lessen the fact that he was a butt ugly baby. 🤣
We haven't met "double ugly" but I am imagining.🤔
The patch of rainforest on the northern part of this island is richly dense, a perfect place to run the flying fox through the dark green lushness.
Beaches are plentiful, "honeymoon magical" and adorned with bright coloured umbrellas, lounges and I'm sure a tray of cool drinks!
A tip - Dining at any of the the beachside shacks or restaurants is a must-do.
He Who Hums asked around and found Sir Viv Richards and enjoyed 18 holes of golf, picking up chat where they left off back at The Gabba in the 70's/80's. However, the Cedar Grove fairways are wide, long and hilly. I could guarantee my golf ball would roll right back to me if I played.
Time here, (just like boating) runs by the cock crowing or the sun's position. And if you can't see or hear either of those it a "hair past a freckle" kind of life. 😜
They tell me there are only two roads....I can tell you should you get off either road there are many a winding track to take you deeper and deeper into a village, never to find an out at the other end.
I can confirm my sense of direction is shit. The landscape changes at every turn. Some churches have become vital landmarks but it all depends which bend on which long road you're on. There are corner shops I recognise ...then bright houses I don't! But, I stop to photograph these because of the perfect afternoon light illuminates the colour against the vegetation.
It's a collidescope of the above all flashing past me as I try to find my back across the island without GPS.
We have visited the Sir Vivian Richards stadium & training facilities, met with Sir Andy Richards and He Who Hums has discussed sporting facilities at length.
By day 7 the boat jobs and more have been achieved.
Tomorrow we'll leave Falmouth Harbour and head to ....(wait for it ) "Jolly Harbour" to check out with customs.
Provisioning will take place on Guadeloupe, the island where fresh and French produce are available and affordable.
After all
My gallivanting, I see there are those here who-have ...and those who have-not, I'm not sure who is more content.
But I am.
Vessel Name: La Condesa Del Mar
Vessel Make/Model: Herreshoff Schooner 73 ft
Hailing Port: Southport Brisbane Australia
Crew: Mark & Jenny Gaskell
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
La Condesa Del Mar's Photos - The last of La Paz memories
Photos 1 to 22 of 22 | Main
Rancho Viejo
Poncho style
Filling the galley
Rancho Viejo Resturant
Wooly hair - windy deck when the Cornwamms come in
Happy Captain ow the date is here
Morning breaks over the bow
Marlin Club in Black and White
The beauty and the beasts
Night light in La Paz
Full moon easter 2012
Full Moon rising