hcholbert Howard C Holbert

In their quaint Seattle home, Tom and Janelle prepare their sixty-foot sailboat for their epic adventure. Amid scattered maps and well-loved nautical books, they carefully chart their course, only the beginning of what promises to be a soul-stirring journey. This chapter sets the stage for their odyssey, introducing readers to the couple's deep-seated love.

Adventure All public. © hc holbert

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The Maiden Voyage

"How's it coming along down there?" Janelle called from the helm, her wispy

grey hair blowing in the sea breeze.

Tom poked his head out from the cabin below. "Making progress!" he reported

with a grin. Though they had spent weeks preparing for their journey, there were

still last-minute details to be sorted before casting off.

Janelle smiled as she gazed out at the Puget Sound, the late morning sun

glittering on the gentle waves. She breathed in the salty air, savoring this

moment. At seventy-two years old, she had never imagined she would be

embarking on a sailing voyage halfway around the world. Yet here she was,

about to set sail with the love of her life on the adventure of a lifetime.

She heard Tom's footsteps as he climbed up to join her.

"How's it looking, Captain?" he asked. At fifty-nine, Tom was thirteen years her

junior, though his close-cropped hair had begun to match her silvery shade.

"Smooth sailing ahead, Admiral," she winked.

Tom moved beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. For a long

moment, they stood in silence, soaking up the ambiance.

"I can hardly believe we're doing this," Tom finally murmured. "It feels like a


"I know," Janelle sighed. "But just imagine the places we'll go, the things we'll

see..." Her voice trailed off dreamily.

Ever since they had first met through a senior hiking group five years ago, they

had bonded over their shared love for adventure and nature. During long walks

in the forest, they discovered their mutual passion for art, poetry, and the sea.

When Tom had shyly shown Janelle the sailboat he had inherited from his late

father, a daring idea had sprouted.

Though neither had much sailing experience, they began taking lessons, poring

over navigation books, and mapping out a potential route down the Pacific coast.

As the dream grew closer to reality, their hearts swelled with exhilaration. This

voyage meant more to them than just tropical destinations and nautical miles. It

was a chance to reconnect with nature, reignite their creative spirits, and

rediscover themselves along the way.

Janelle gave Tom's shoulder a playful nudge. "You know, we'd better get moving

if we want to make it out of the Sound before dusk."

Tom chuckled. "Aye aye, Captain!" With one last squeeze, he made his way

back down to the cabin.

Janelle took her place behind the helm and switched on the engine. She expertly

maneuvered the sixty-foot sailboat away from the slip where it had been docked

for months. As the marina grew smaller behind them, her heart beat faster. This

was really happening.

"How's it looking down there?" she called over the putter of the engine. "All


"Ship shape!" Tom's voice floated up.

Janelle grinned and pushed the throttle forward, relishing the thrum of the engine

vibrating through the soles of her feet. The boat picked up speed as they cruised

north through the Puget Sound, the Seattle skyline receding in the distance.

Despite the chill in the air, Janelle remained planted behind the wheel, not

wanting to miss a moment of this maiden voyage. The wooded shores swept by

on either side as they sailed on, sunlight glinting off the rippling surface.

Once they passed the shipping lanes and entered more open seas, Janelle killed

the engine and let their momentum carry them forward. The sudden silence was


She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, tuning her senses to the gentle

rocking of the boat and the cry of gulls overhead. The salty tang of the sea

mingled with the woodsy aroma of sun-warmed cedar. This was freedom.

After a few moments of tranquility, she heard Tom's approaching footsteps


"There you are," she said, opening her eyes with a smile. "Are we ready to let the

wind do the work?"

"Ready when you are, Captain."

With practiced movements, they unfurled the sails and positioned them to catch

the breeze. The boat lurched forward, sails snapping taut.

Janelle's short grey hair whipped around her face. She let out an exhilarated

whoop. Beside her, Tom laughed joyously.

"Now this is sailing!" he called over the sound of the wind.

As afternoon melted into evening, they stayed on deck, unable to tear

themselves away. They shared tidbits from the worn books they'd brought,

quizzing each other on knot-tying techniques and navigation rules.

When the sun finally slipped below the horizon in a dazzling display of golds and

crimsons, Janelle reluctantly switched on the running lights.

"One day down, a few hundred to go," Tom mused, sliding an arm around her


Janelle leaned into him contentedly. "That may be, but this first day was perfect."

As dusk deepened to night, they stood together at the bow, sailing toward

adventures unknown.

Oct. 3, 2023, 5:56 a.m. 0 Report Embed Follow story
Read next chapter The Parting Beacon

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