Kurt was an experienced sailor. When he suggested that a group of his friends go sailing with him they all knew they were in experienced hands and safe. Five of them met at the wharf in the early morning; Jasmine, Bobby, Marcus, Teresa and Kurt. They had all the essential items 18 year olds needed: life jackets, packets of nibbles and plenty to drink.
They were in very high spirits as they boarded the Skylark. The sun was nudging its way over Waiheke Island, their destination. A breeze kicked the water up into tiny lapping waves and eerie shadows shuffled around the moored boats. A chill seized Jasmine and she wrapped her arms around herself.
“Are you sure we’ll be safe?” she asked.
The cloying dawn muffled her words and disguised the apprehension that niggled at the edges of her words.
Kurt dismissed her words with a brisk wave of a hand.
“I’ve been sailing since I was knee high to a grasshopper.” He tilted his head as if her question was insulting. “We haven’t left the wharf yet, so you can get off now if you’re worried.”
Embarrassment seized Jasmine. Kurt was her boyfriend and she should never have questioned his prowess as a sailor. She had watched him win races since she was ten years old and so she was being quite silly to question his ability to get them out to the far off island and back.
Pulling on an Auckland University sweatshirt, she went up the stern and took hold of the tiller. Kurt pressed the button and the yacht burst into life. Their motor hummed as they glided past the other silent boats still attached to their moorings. Inside, Jasmine could hear people scraping off breakfast bowls and the smell of toast drifted across the water to them.
Jasmine turned the tiller and directed them away from the wharf and out to sea. A breeze now caught the mainsail and it flapped as if filling with energy. The Skylark tilted to one side as the wind filled the mainsail and Kurt turned off the motor. The sails filled with wind and they glided over the water. This was the part of sailing Jasmine loved. She loved the sensation of floating while listening to the waves gently lap against the hull.
Kurt scrambled over the tackle and took over the tiller, giving Jasmine a light kiss as he did.
Excitement filled his face with laughter.
“Hey, babe, this is the life!” he announced.
Everyone else murmured agreement. They all issued a very loud, ‘woo hoo’ that echoed over the water. The morning was becoming lighter but they were alone on the water and that was exciting.
“Breakfast at Waiheke, then?” Marcus asked.
“Of course!” they chorused.
Back home, the radio was always on so Kurt’s parents could monitor weather conditions at sea. It crackled into life, predicting storms.
“Where’s Kurt?” his mother asked.
“Sleeping in, I expect,” his father said. “He always does on Sunday.”
Writing order: Lrennes (USA), danaesidh (Aus), Hemali (India), Linda Alley (Aus), Ray Stone (Cyprus), Gabrielle Burt (NZ), Donna McTavish (NZ), Anna Zhigareva (Scotland), Sumanda Maritz (South Africa), roseyn (AUs)