— A QUARTER CENTURY 'OUT THERE' of fingers." Regardless of the mileage, residents of St. John, who'd come to the though, the greater curiosity for many Mitchells' aid in the Coral Sea nearly two current and would-be cruising couples decades earlier. is probably: How did this amazing couple In 2005 they began closing in on keep their relationship so solid during the completion of their lengthy cir the inevitable highs cumnavigation, with and lows? stops in Bonaire for "If you want to some "fabulous div"Get rid of all the fears and go sailing," advises ing" and the San enhance all the dreams Paul. "Go sailing Blas Islands. Then, that the cruising life with your best friend in February of last — hopefully that's year they transitcan give you." your spouse. ed the Canal, and Because you'll soon after returned enjoy it a lot more. Many armchair to Costa Rica, where their lap around sailors are there in the armchair the planet had officially begun 21 years rather than out on the water beearlier. As Paul remembers, "We crossed cause they don't have a partner who our outbound track at sunrise just outwill go. One of the reasons is fear. side Golfito." The woman who doesn't want to leave all the comforts of home often fears what the future will be. It's up t would be interesting to know how to the guy to get rid of those fears many miles the Mitchells have logged through patience, understanding during their 25 years of voyaging, but and training. Get rid of all the fears unfortunately they haven't got a clue. "A and enhance all the dreams that the couple of times I tried to add it all up," cruising life can give you." says Paul with a smile, "but I ran out
"Like all successful cruising couples," says Susan, "we're partners. But we have more than just a partnership: we're lovers, we're best friends and we're partners. And we've been very lucky that we've never had different life goals. Another factor in their success may well be their philosophy toward the cruising scene: "There's a lot of interaction between yachties," notes Paul, "parties, potlucks. . . it builds wonderful camaraderie that we very much enjoy, but only to a certain extent — about a third of the time. We've always enjoyed spend-
A scrapbook full of memories. Clockwise from lower left: Susan shops for veggies in a Madagascar market; curious kids at Lamu, Kenya; Paul and Susan aboard 'Elenoa' this year at Zihuatanejo; revelers at the '05 Trinidad Carnival; a vintage shot of two friendly Golfito kids from '85; 22 years later those same kids had grown into men!
July, 2007 •
• Page 149
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.