Voyager

Voyager

by D. R. VerValin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491848616
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/15/2014
Pages: 852
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.89(d)

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VOYAGER


By D. R. VERVALIN

AuthorHouse LLC

Copyright © 2014 D. R. VerValin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4918-4861-6


CHAPTER 1

Present Day—Maui News Office, Kahului


It's nine a.m. Monday morning, and Tom Durkin, editor of The Maui News, has already mentally accumulated an informative story for next week's Sunday newspaper. Rising from his desk, he heads to his office door, and then scans the newsroom for his newest reporter, Bill Wise. "Hey, Bill, can I see you for a minute?" he shouts when he spots the man.

Bill Wise only started with the paper last Monday. A recent graduate with the ink still drying on his journalism degree, Bill feels lucky to have landed a job, especially back on his home island. After a week at work, Bill knows most of the people and, most importantly, the locations of the restroom and coffeemaker, which will likely be crucial to his first assignment.

"Come on in, Bill. How was your weekend?" Tom asks. It isn't that he really cares, but he wanted to break the ice with his new reporter.

"Great! Took a cruise around the island, the sea was smooth, and the weather was great. What more could a land-lover hope for?"

"Sounds nice," Tom says with a smile. "Take a seat." "I've been thinking about an informative article for next Sunday's paper, and I'd like you to write the story. As you know, a lot of baby-boomers are retiring, some from here on the island and others coming from other places to spend their golden years in our little piece of paradise."

"Okay," Bill says, flattered by the fact that he's being assigned to something a bit more exciting than measuring out Folgers for the filter and he is somewhat intrigued.

"I'd like to do a story on retirement communities here on the island, what they offer in the way of services, what it's like to live there, and what it costs. Take a look at several of them for comparison—you know, the best bang for the buck ... that sort of thing."

"So ... a kind of Consumer Reports deal, huh?"

"Something like that," Tom answers. "I'd like to have a draft copy to look at by, say, noon on Thursday."

"Sure, you bet," Bill says. "I'll get right on it."

"Good. Now, before you head out, I had a chance to talk to a Miss Suzanne Baker yesterday, the manager at the Kalama Retirement Community over in Kihei."

"I know the place. I only live about a mile from there."

"Great. Suzanne is a friend of my wife's, and she's agreed to do an interview for us. She'll be in all day today, and she's expecting you. Matter of fact, you might be able to catch her this morning, if you call right now. Here's her number, in case you need it."

"All right, sounds like a good place to start. Thanks," says Bill, taking the business card from Tom's hand.

"And thank you, Bill. Now go get to work!" Tom says with a smile.

Bill glances down at the card, smiles back at his new boss, and walks out of the office. The assignment is not a tough one; he had much tougher ones while working for the school paper. Frankly, he'd hoped for something more challenging, but at least it will get him out of the office. Besides that, if he does a good job, it would confirm for Tom that he didn't make a mistake by hiring him.


* * *

The drive over to the Kalama Retirement Community is one Bill takes every day on his way home from work. Having been born and raised on the island, the climate and sights that awe the island visitors generally go unnoticed by him. Every day is just another day in paradise. Nevertheless, one sight always takes Bill's breath away: the blue Pacific. Whether he's swimming in it, sailing over it, or just enjoying the seascape, it always has a soothing effect on him that makes him glad he's one of the lucky ones that can stay here day after day.

The entrance into the retirement community, like so many island locations is loaded with tropical foliage. Visitor parking is close to the front door, and the appearance of the place is generally quite charming.

Bill studies the facility from the outside, making mental notes he will be able to use when comparing other retirement communities to this one.

In the lobby, a young, perky receptionist greets him. "Good morning. Can I help you?" she asks, smiling and sounding genuine, rather than the robotic responses one might get at some front desks.

"Good morning. I'm Bill Wise from The Maui News, here to see Suzanne Baker."

The receptionist taps a few keys on her computer, and then smiles back at Bill. "Yes, she's expecting you. Please have a seat, and I'll let Ms. Baker know you're here."

"Thank you," Bill says, and then walks over to sit in a burnt orange, cozy-looking chair, next to a small table with a neat, spiraled pile of magazines on it.

The receptionist picks up her phone and dials extension 2009. "Suzanne, Mr. Wise from The News is here to see you ... Sure, I'll let him know." She quietly hangs up the phone and looks at Bill over the top of her desk. "She's on her way. In the meantime, would you like some coffee?" she asks politely, still sounding quite genuine and hospitable.

"No thanks. I've already had my morning limit. You have a nice place here," Bill says.

"Yes, we like it. The staff works hard to make the grounds look nice. Our residents and their guests really enjoy it."

"How long have you worked here?" Bill asks.

"About three years now. I wouldn't wanna work anyplace else. The staff is great, and it's just a wonderful place to work."

"That's great," Bill says.

"Oh, here she comes now," the receptionist says cheerfully, nodding toward a woman coming down the hall.

Suzanne Baker is the antithesis of what Bill would have expected for someone of her position. She is young, tall, blonde, and extremely good-looking. "Hello. Suzanne Baker," She says, holding out her perfectly manicured hand for a professional shake.

"Bill Wise, Maui News."

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Wise."

"Please, call me Bill."

She smiles. "And please call me Suzanne. Now, why don't we go to my office? I'd be happy to tell you all about this place and the services we provide."

"That'd be great," Bill says.

"I don't know how much time you have, but I'd be happy to show you around the facility and some of the model living quarters."

"Sure, that would work for me. I have all day."

"Would you like to take the tour?"

"I'd love to," Bill replies, primarily because it will give more time to study Suzanne. He quickly tries to catch a glimpse of her left hand and is happy to find it devoid of rings. "Can I take some pictures?"

"Sure, but I'll do you one better, Suzanne says. "If you miss something, call me, and I'll send you a picture by email."

"Thanks, but I'll try not to bug you. I know you've gotta be busy here."

"It's no problem. I'm proud of this place, and as far as I'm concerned, your article in The News will be some free publicity. Just feel free to call me if you have any questions."

The tour proved to be quite informational. Great landscaping, a large dining room, and the living quarters were well laid out and well furnished.

"I've noticed your residents have all sorts of things going on, from card games, to painting classes and Tai chi. They really seem to be enjoying themselves."

"They do!" Suzanne commented with a smile. "They can keep as busy as they want to be. We offer several classes, including one in photography, and we even have a book club. If we discover that someone has a hobby or interest we aren't providing, we make every effort to get someone in here who can organize that activity for them. We also encourage private family get-togethers so residents' families can visit. We try to make this as close to them having their own personal residence as possible. Take that party over there," she says, nodding in the direction of a happy gathering. "It's Mr. Skiles's ninety-third birthday, so his son, daughter, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are throwing him a party. Mr. Skiles is one of our most colorful personalities. He was the fourth man to sail around the world, a PT boat captain during WWII, and a real Indiana Jones type, or so the story goes."

"Really?" Bill stops for a moment, trying to comprehend the brevity of what he's just learned about the elderly man smiling in the corner, surrounded by children and wearing a polka-dotted party hat. "War hero, huh?"

"That's what I've heard. If you ever need a human interest story, you oughtta talk to him," Suzanne adds. "Well, as for the facilities, that's about it. Is there anything else you'd like to see, or do you have any other questions for me?"

"No. You've given me plenty to think about," Bill says, not at all talking about the facilities alone; Suzanne will certainly linger in his mind for quite awhile.

"Well, if you think of anything—"

"Yeah, I have your number. I'll just call," Bill says.

"All right. I have to go now. I've got a luncheon with a prospective new resident, but I'll be back at about one if you need me," Suzanne remarks, wearing a smile.

"Thanks for your time, Suzanne. You've been most helpful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour."

"I'm glad. At least let me walk you back to the lobby. It's easy to get a bit twisted around in all the hallways."

"Nah, that's not necessary," Bill says. "I'm sure I can find my way out. I don't want to hold you up."

"Okay," she replies. "Thank you ... and good luck with your story." With that, Suzanne smiles and extends her hand again.

Bill reaches out to shake it, meeting her eyes in the process, and he can't help but be drawn to the attractive, kind woman who was obviously quite passionate about her work. "Thanks. Thanks a lot," he says with a smile, backing away somewhat awkwardly and heading off to look for the front door.

After traversing the labyrinth of rooms and corridors and finding the front lobby, Bill bids the receptionist farewell, and then slowly walks to his car, still thinking about the facility tour and Suzanne. He rolls over in his head all he's seen and begins to piece together the lead-in for what he's sure will be a rather mundane consumer piece. Meanwhile, the story about old man Skiles nags away at him, an opportunity he's sure he shouldn't pass up. Maybe there's a great story there, even if it's only half-true, he thinks. "Hell, I've got all day. What can it hurt? Besides, maybe I can learn a little more about Suzanne," Bill says to himself before he turns and heads back to the front entrance. He walks straight up to the smiling receptionist. "Hi again. Is Suzanne still in?"

"Just a minute and I'll check." She picks up her phone and dials extension 2009 again. "Hi Suzanne. Mr. Wise, from the paper, is back to see you ... Okay. I'll tell him you're on your way."

Within the minute, Suzanne walks into the lobby. "Hi, Bill. Did you forget something?"

"No. I just can't stop thinking about Mr. Skiles. Are you sure he was the fourth man to sail around the world?"

"As far as I know, yes."

"And when was that?"

"During WWII or around that time. Why?"

"Uh ... it's just that ... well; I read somewhere that no one sailed around the world alone after Vito Dumas in 1943, at least not until the sixties or seventies. Are you sure Mr. Skiles's alleged global voyage happened during WWII?" Bill asks.

"I'm really not sure of all the details, but I'd be happy to introduce you to his family, since they're here today. They're really great people, and I know they can tell you a lot more than I can," she admits.

"I wouldn't want to intrude during a party," Bill says, suddenly wishing he'd let it go.

"No, that's okay. The party is over now, and I'm sure they'll be flattered and thrilled to know that a reporter wants to talk with their dad."

The family gathering is a big one, and kids were running everywhere, all of them bearing a slight resemblance to the old man in one way or another. Suzanne carefully leads Bill through the happy throng so she can introduce him.

"Mr. Skiles, this is Bill Wise, from The Maui News. Bill, this is Mr. David Skiles, Bane's son, and his daughter, June. David, Mr. Wise is here for information on a story he's doing about retirement communities, and I just so happened to mention your dad's trip around the world. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all," David says. "Dad's pretty proud of it still, and so are we." He turns to Bill. "Hello. What can I do for you?"

"Well, Suzanne mentioned that your dad was the fourth man to sail around the world alone, during WWII. I didn't think that happened until the late sixties or seventies."

"In a way, you're right. Dad started in 1941, just before Pearl Harbor, and he didn't return until 1946. He never really made a big deal about it to anyone outside his close acquaintances because there was such a long lapse of time from his departure to the end of his trip. On top of that, he had a lady friend onboard at times, so he technically wasn't always alone."

"Dave!" Suzanne says in surprise. "I've never heard that part of the story. So Bane was quite the ladies man, huh?"

Dave smiles. "Well, it's kind of hard to explain. Dad can do a better job of it than I can. Would you like to meet him? Do you think that'd be all right, sis?" he asks June.

"Sure. Dad loves to tell his stories to anyone who'll listen."

"Listen folks," Suzanne says, looking at Bill. "I'd love to hear the story again, but I have to run to my luncheon. You're free to use this room for as long as you need, as it's clear for the rest of the day."

"Thanks, Suzanne."

"You bet, Bill. Bye."

After Suzanne walks away, David says, "Well, let's see if Dad's ready for story hour."

"When isn't he?" June jokes.

Bane Skiles is hunched over in his wheelchair, near the large windows. Rather than paying much attention to his family anymore, he's gazing out over the grounds, toward the bright, glistening, blue Pacific that Bill so loves. As he approaches the old sailor, Bill wonders if his mind is even still in the room or if it has carried him, once again, out to sea.

"Dad? Dad, this is Mr. Wise, from the paper. He'd like to ask you some questions about your trip around the world."

Bane turns his chair toward his son and looks at him curiously.

"Good morning, Mr. Skiles. I understand it's your birthday."

"Yep. Yet another one. Like some wise soul said, there is no cure for the common birthday.

"Well, every year, it's one more candle. Christ, I ain't got the breath to blow the damn things out," the old man says, shaking his head. "My great granddaughter blows 'em out for me. I like the little ones to feel like they're involved, ya know?"

"That's nice, Mr. Skiles. I'm sure they love it," Bill says.

"Speakin' of that, what can I do for you, young man?"

"Well, sir, I hear you were the fourth man to sail around the world. Is that right?"

"Yep, and I woulda been the third, had that blasted war not gotten into the way."

"What can you remember about it?"

"Everything. Just cause I'm ninety-three, that don't mean I'm senile. Where do ya want me to begin?"

Bill can't help but smile at the old man's tenacity. "I've always thought it's best to start from the beginning. What made you want to do it?"

"I was twelve years old when I thought of it, with a book and a dream. Still interested?"

"You bet! Tell me more about this dream of yours," Bill replies.

"All right, but you got time, don't ya? I don't like to be interrupted."

"I've got all day," Bill says.

"Good, cause it'll take at least that long. Why don't we start when I was a little older than twelve? In my senior year at the University of Hawaii ..."

CHAPTER 2

December, 1940—Maui, Hawaii

In 1940, Alexander & Baldwin (A&B) Company was the largest employer on the island of Maui. With the rights and deeds to thousands of acres of land, in just over fifty years, A&B had developed the island from a sleepy paradise to the world's largest supplier of sugar. As successful as they were, it wasn't long before they outgrew the native Hawaiians ability to supply labor to man all the fields, so they employed hundreds from Hawaii as well as from the Philippines, Japan, Portugal, and other South Sea islands.


* * *

Bane Skiles, six feet tall with dark eyes and black, curly hair, was a lucky young man with Hawaiian and Caucasian roots, a product of two cultures. His father, a member of the A&B board of directors, by virtue of his position, could easily open the door for future employment for him at A&B when he graduated from the University of Hawaii. His mother's parents still retained a portion of their land and leased it to A&B, providing a modest amount of income for the family, but also serving as the catalyst his grandfather had used to secure a job as a production supervisor.

The Skiles family was enjoying a Saturday morning cruise on Voyager, their beloved sailboat, 35 feet in length with an overall rig area of 582 square feet. Designed by Sparkman & Stephens, Voyager was the Cadillac of sailboats. It had been built in 1938 and was one of only a handful of boats of its design. The vessel moved effortlessly across the ocean just two miles off the coast of Lahaina, Maui. Onboard were Bane's father, Adam, his mother, Loieina, his maternal grandmother, Amana, and his grandfather, Anadare Halulu.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from VOYAGER by D. R. VERVALIN. Copyright © 2014 D. R. VerValin. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Voyager 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Lynn-MI More than 1 year ago
This was such a combination of reading (834 pages) bound all into one book that it’s really hard to describe. The first 66 pages or so were totally boring and not worth reading --- but, when it took off, was a good read with way too much detail on almost everything that came up! It included: family, love, war, sailing, robbery, treachery, religion, mysticism, suspense, mystery…..and although the ending was sort of happy it just left with you almost had to buy the next book --- and at 838 pages unless you’re a James A. Michener fan, I wouldn’t recommend it! Even as a paper back (it was the over sized one) it was way too heavy to lug around anywhere! Had I not won a copy I would have not read past page 50 ---- and when I finished it, I enjoyed it but…..
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite Sailing solo around the world is no easy task. Bane has made up his mind to follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero. But, as he undergoes his epic journey, war breaks out in the Pacific. With a gift for discerning future events and an uncanny competence in everything he puts his mind to doing, Bane must try to survive the war. If that wasn't enough, supernatural events have thrown a dark-haired beauty, a red book and a silver artifact in his path. Will Bane be able to complete his journey or is his fate destined to be something else? To write about events that have happened in the past and to imprint upon these imaginary characters and situations takes a special dedication to detail and a talent for capturing the mood of an entire era. D.R. VerValin's Voyager kept me hooked with a great protagonist thrust into historical situations so detailed and accurate that I forgot I was reading a fictional narrative. The author has captured a convincing snapshot of the lives of men and women during the days of the war in the Pacific. The romance, horrors and adventures of war were painted in such vivid prose that it was easy to empathize with the characters. The use of nautical and military terms was also nice touch. Bane, as the protagonist, was so good to begin with that I had some concerns as to how the author plans to develop his character further. The transition from war/adventure to espionage/treasure hunt could have gone a bit more smoothly, but the author writes with such persistent ardor that I found myself just shrugging it off and going along for the ride. Voyager is a novel that strikes numerous chords, in a setting ripe with danger, adventure, romance and opportunities. Fans of historical fiction tinged with the supernatural will find Voyager to be a compelling read. I, for one, am certainly hungry to read more books by D.R. VerValin.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite Bane is a man on a mission. He’s a young man who has much to live for and a big dream. As a young child he decided he was going to sail around the world, but it would take him many more years to actually be able to accomplish that goal. There’s more to Bane’s journey than just traveling on a ship, however. He’s about to experience more about love and loss than he ever expected and it’s all coming out for the first time to newspaper reporter Bill Wise. It started as an article on why so many people flock to Hawaii, but it’s going to turn into an even bigger and better story than Bill could have imagined. Voyager by D.R. Vervalin is a story of adventure, respect, love, friendship and more. It is something that will stay with you for a long time and that’s why it’s a great book for teens and adults alike. I was intrigued by the different characters throughout this book. From minor characters like Suzanne and Bill to the most important characters like Bane and the woman he loves, I was definitely able to develop an emotional attachment to them all. I felt each of them had three-dimensional characteristics and that I could relate to them. It was great to read about Bane’s many adventures. Even characters like Merryweather, April and Judith really drew me in. Voyager by D.R. Vervalin was one of the best books I’ve read in a while, and one that I will enjoy again.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite Voyager by D.R. VerValin is an action adventure story that is both historical and fun. The story follows the travels of a Hawaiian named Bane Skiles. In 1941, his plans to take a voyage around the world are changed when Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese and their movement across the Pacific theatre. Bane chooses to enlist in the Navy then and is on the PT Boat squadron 10. If that was not enough, he finds himself having visions of a dark haired woman and the finding of a historical artefact from the Bible that has supernatural powers. I love historical fiction and I am a little light on world war fiction in my reading so this was the perfect book for me to dive into. It is a fantastic adventure story and it had shades of the Iliad that spoke to me, but it is original and well paced in its own right. Bane is an interesting character. It took me a little while to connect with him as I tried to figure out what made him tick, but once I connected I really felt myself focused on everything he did. You can tell this book is well researched and written so that everything from the actual facts to the supernatural fit well together. If you are like me and love a good historical adventure, this is the book for you. I recommend it highly from start to finish.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite In 1941 a young Hawaiian, Bane Skiles’ plans are altered when bombs are dropped on the sleepy little town of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese from across the Pacific Ocean. Although Bane didn't get to take the voyage he originally planned, he did experience a voyage with the Navy as a PT Boat Squadron, and discovers the meaning of visions of a dark-haired beauty.   Voyager by D. R. VerValin is filled with love, history, drama, suspense, and action. This is a tale of WWII Pt Boat Crews, along with other historical realities of the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941. The author has created an educational, yet fun and interesting read for those attracted to historical events by the plot and characters, actual historical facts, as well as a suspenseful love story. Including a variety of genres within the book, author D.R. VerValin draws the attention of many different kinds of readers.   As an avid reader of historical non-fiction, historical fiction and romance, I feel this book has a fantastic story line and plot to encompass all three genres. I enjoyed the realistic details portraying what it would have been like in the WWII era at Pearl Harbor, the suspenseful love story intertwined within, as well as the bit of fantasy. Voyager by D.R. VerValin is elegantly written to grasp the full attention of all readers. Although a bit of a lengthy read, the book is well worth the time devoted to finishing it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read.  I couldn't put it down.  I learned several things that I never learned in history class.  I highly recommend this book and can't wait to read more from this author.  Perhaps a sequel to this one.