The Best Thing About Cruising, Old Friends, And A Few Days In Fiji

DSC7752 Edit

There are many wonderful things about the cruising lifestyle. But the one we love the most is

making new friends. We are in Denerau, Fiji, visiting with Jim and Cheryl Schmidt, who we first met in Tahuata in the Marquesas Islands in 1977.

Intermezzo kids017

Jim and Cheryl were sailing Win’Son, a 70’ S and S motorsailer and we were aboard Intermezzo, our 50-foot ketch. Jim took the photo above the following year while we were sailing in Melanesia.

Img 036

We formed a quick and lasting friendship, based on a common set of interests, which we have found the norm when cruising. (Jim and Cheryl above with Elyse and Sarah, Auckland, New Zealand in 1977.)

Img 020

The photo above, a beach scene at Cocos Keeling Island in the SE Indian Ocean, was shot from Win’Son’s deck. We had a young crew member aboard, helping out after Steve had a bout of malaria, and we were ready for him to find another boat. The Schmidts were looking for someone to help stand watches crossing the Indian Ocean, and a trade was arranged. Jim still gives us grief over this.


Jim and Cheryl became our first clients in 1980 when they ordered the Deerfoot 73 Wakaroa, shown above reaching not far from where we are staying in Fiji. They kept her for 34 years, just parting ways last year.

Which brings us to the present. When Cheryl sent us word she was having a 70th birthday party for Jim we decided that friendship demanded we attend. (The birthday boy above showing the benefits of a lifelong interest in keeping fit.)


And above, trying to keep up with Cheryl.

We would like to report the results of an exercise plank contest held the following morning between JP–Jim and Cheryl’s black belt holding older son–the father, and your humble correspondent. However prudence requires that we state only that the younger generation could not maintain a plank comparable to the older generation.


One cannot visit Denerau without a few local photos. We will start with this shot of the marina. That’s Mirabella V reaching for the sky with her tallest mast in the world.


This couple out for an early morning paddle put things in perspective. It would be interesting to know who enjoys their time on the water more, the paddlers or the owners of the big sloop.


Mirabella V carries a Carbon Cub, an offshoot of the venerable Piper, on floats. Great recon tool.


Although small as mega yacht marinas go, there is a fair share of interesting traffic to watch here.


And then there is Tata’s, one of the top three curry houses in our travels (the other two being in Panama City and Port Louis, Mauritious).


A small part of the feast for the multitude assembled for Jim’s celebration.

DSC8079 Edit

Along with friendships, we love sunsets and sunrises on the water.

Off to New Zealand tomorrow.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 13, 2015)

Comments are closed.