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by Josh Withe (Rowerwet) Merrimack River Valley, New England - USA

In the loft upstairs in an old barn a man with a plan began to lay out a sturdy frame to build a boat on. Then he bought a sheet of plywood and drew lines on it.

After making sure the picture on his plan matched the picture drawn on the plywood, he cut the plywood into pieces.

The man spent a few days gluing more wood to the plywood. Then he set some of the pieces of plywood on the wooden frame so they stood upright.

After that the man spent a few moments looking at the parts and the shape they made from many different angles.

The next day he worked on the boat. Long strips of wood were laid over the frames, but the man wasn't happy. They didn't fit the way he wanted them too. He shut the lights off and went back in the house.

The next day he worked on the frames with a saw, now the long strips fit perfectly into the corners of the frames. When the man was happy with how they fit, he glued the strips to the frames.

Now the frames and strips looked like a boat with invisible sides, so the next time the man came out to build, he glued panels on each side.

Now the pieces looked like a boat, but it still wouldn't float! It didn't have a bottom.

The man finally glued on the bottom, and Seagull was born.

The next thing she knew, the man picked her up and turned her over, then he took a wood plane and smoothed all the edges on the top of seagull. When the man was happy he glued two decks onto each end of Seagull. "Now she has flotation she will never sink" the man said.

From time to time, a boy and girl came upstairs in the barn to see Seagull. Seagull learned she was to belong to the girl, her name was Abby.

Then it got cold out, the nights were long and the man rarely came out to the garage loft. Sometimes he looked at Seagull, but rarely did anything to her. Then the weather began to get warmer. Seagull could see, from the window in the loft, that the bare trees and bushes were turning green. The days got longer, but the man didn't come back to work on her.

Then one day the man came. He lifted Seagull up on his shoulder and headed for the stairs. Seagull had never been moved like this before; she wasn't so sure she wanted to leave the barn loft.

The next thing she knew Seagull was out in the sun. "This isn't so bad" she thought, but then Seagull was placed upside down on the roof of a car.

The man put straps over Seagull and then pulled them down tight, "why are these straps so tight?" she thought.

The next thing she knew, the car was out on the road, going very fast! "This man is crazy, I want to get down!" Seagull thought, but the man just drove faster.

After a terrifying ride over rough roads, and one road that was so dusty the man had to slow down to see where he was going, Seagull saw a very shiny flat area surrounded by trees. The man stopped the car, he took the straps off Seagull and carried her to the water.

"What is this stuff? It's cold, and wet, I don't like it! I want to go home to the barn!" thought Seagull.

Then the man put some cushions in her, he held a paddle and wore a strange vest. He pushed her out into the water a little and then stepped into her.

After the man got seated on the cushion, Seagull found the water was soft, it seemed to cradle her the way nothing else ever had. While the man was heavy, he didn't feel heavy in the water; instead she could spin and float a light as a feather.

The man used the paddle to send Seagull out on the water. Soon seagull was floating high above the bottom, there were trees, and rocks down there, along with many other things.

Seagull saw fish and turtles. Some of them seemed to be afraid of her, but others came closer to see what she was. Seagull heard a strange noise. She went closer to the side of the pond to see what it was. There sat a frog in the water up to his neck. He was calling to the other frogs along the shore.

"This is fun, I like the water" said Seagull, "this is so much more fun than looking out the barn window!"

Just then the man turned Seagull and paddled her back to shore, she was sad, "I was having so much fun, why do we have to go now?"

The man got a lady on the shore to take Seagulls picture.

Then he pulled her up on the sand. He got out a big roll of plastic and wrapped it around her. Then the man went back to the car and got out his staple gun. When He was done, Seagull was safely wrapped in plastic.

Then the man put Seagull back in the water and got back in. In a few seconds she was back out in the water exploring farther than she had before.

The man and seagull left the bay and the car and went out to the main part of the pond. It had some waves, but Seagull found the waves just made the trip more fun. While the man spent his time looking at the shore and Islands, Seagull saw many interesting things under the water, bigger fish and turtles, objects she couldn't identify, huge rocks, even a sunken boat.

Soon the man turned back to the beach and loaded Seagull onto the car with the tight straps and drove home. "I was just beginning to have fun!" she thought, but once again Seagull found herself on the sawhorses in the barn.

Again the days got shorter and it got cold, the leaves fell, snow fell. Seagull slept and thought of the day on the pond. "I wonder what was on the other side of the pond" she thought," I wonder when Abby will get to take me there"

Spring came again, the man came upstairs and began to mark Seagulls hull. "That pencil tickles!" she thought, but she did her best to keep still so his line would be straight.

Then the man cut another board and stuck Seagulls skeg on, "now you'll go in a straight line on the water!" he said. The man glued cloth all around Seagulls corners, "this will protect you from rocks".

Then Abby and her brother came upstairs. They were dressed a little funny in big shirts that went to their knees. Abby began to spread white paint all over Seagull, Abby's brother did also.

The kids were proud of Seagull's paint. When they were done she was white all over. "I guess I like being covered", Seagull said.

Then the man added a handle to each end of Seagull, he tied a rope to each handle and he said "now you're ready to go camping".

Seagull's First Flight

The next thing Seagull knew, she was outside again.

This time she rode on a small platform on the back of the van.

After hours of driving, and even a ride on a ferry,

the van parked in a sandy parking lot.

The man untied Seagull, carried her down to the pond, and put her in the water. "Ah, that feels much better", she said.

Then the man said "Abby, get in your boat and learn how to paddle it."

Abby took the paddle from the man, and then he shoved Seagull out into the water.

Once again seagull was flying over a new scenery, only this time Abby was in command.

Abby went this way and that, learning now to steer with the paddle, in a few moments she could make Seagull go in circles and straight lines.

Meanwhile the man and other people on the shore were bringing canoes and kayaks down to the ramp, they loaded them with boxes, bags and paddles.

One by one the canoes and kayaks filled with people and were launched onto the pond.

The man said "come on over here Abby, it's time to go".

He took the paddle from Abby and stuck it in his canoe, and then he took Nicolas and put him in Seagull next to Abby.

The man tied the bow rope to his canoe, launched it and began to pull Seagull over the new pond.

Before long they had passed most of the other canoes, and Seagull was busy watching all the new animals in and on the pond.

Ducks, Geese, Loons, Turtles, fish, snakes, and Snails, the water was so clear she could see all the way to the bottom even in the deepest parts.

Before long they came to a shallower section and then an Island.

Everyone was out walking around and talking, even the children.

The canoes were unloaded, tents set up, while the kids ran off to play in the woods.

Before too long it got dark, Seagull was pulled up on the shore to spend the night resting to the call of the loons.

The next morning Abby and Nicolas got out of their tent near the water and seagull, as soon as they had dressed the man told them they could go boating.

The water was mirror flat, with just a hint of fog, every frog and bird could be heard as they sang their morning songs.

Abby took Seagull out again and Nicolas took a kayak, they paddled far from the Island over the smooth water.

Eventually, they came back for breakfast, by then their cousins were awake and ready to play.

After the sun was all the way up, it got warm out. The children spent many hours paddling Seagull around the Island and playing in the water.

After lunch some of the adults went swimming, Abby followed them in Seagull.

They swam over to a small nearby Island and walked around.

There was a big tree lying in the water. They said it had been leaning out over the water before with a nice rope swing on it.

One of the kids who swam decided he was too tired to swim back to the big island.

After Noah joined Abby in Seagull, they began to explore the shore of the Island.

Seagull could see everything under the water, but Abby and Noah could only see a little bit. They did notice some tiny fish hiding under the old swinging tree.

Noah took the bailer, which was already attached to the stern rope, and tried to catch some of the fish in it.

After they didn't catch any for a while Noah paddled Seagull back to the big Island, where they picked up Nicolas and Levi.

The four of them were happily singing and playing when Uncle Michael swam up.

Like a sea monster he pulled himself up on the bow of seagull.

With squeals and laughter the four cousins crowded into the stern of Seagull, and then Uncle Sea monster leaped off the bow with his arms!

The wave he set up caused Seagull to fill with water! Good thing the kids all had their life jackets on!

The water quickly stopped coming in, while Seagull was tippy she didn't sink.

Abby, Noah and Levi just flopped over her rail into the water and used the bailer to remove most of the water in her cockpit.

Before long, they had the water out enough to climb back in, but after that they stayed away from Uncle Sea monster!

For most of the day Seagull was constantly in use by one or more of the cousins.

When they stopped playing in her, the man got in and took her for a paddle.

He explored parts of the pond Seagull hadn't seen yet, and even tried to see how fast she would go.

That evening the cousins went fishing from Seagull and canoes.

Once again Seagull spent the night on the shore of the Island watching the moon over the peaceful water.

The next morning Abby and Seagull followed the man's canoe as they explored the shores of the bay the island was in. They stopped at one canoe carry and went for a short walk.

Then they paddled over to the small island again and explored it.


Before long, hunger drove them back to the big island for breakfast.

That morning the kids took Seagull out, but today the wind was blowing, before long they ended up downwind from the island.

Abby, Nicolas, and Levi were fishing and having fun, singing silly songs at the top of their lungs!

After a while Abby figured out she couldn't make much headway against the wind.

So the man ended up towing them back to the island with the kayak.

After lunch it was time to pack up the tents, load up the canoes and head back.

All morning long the adults had been watching the sky and commenting on reports of possible thunderstorms.

Now the sky got darker and the wind picked up. In the final rush to get the canoes loaded Marcy the dog ended up at the wrong launching area.

So the man put the Marcy in Seagull to ride back.

The canoes and kayaks began racing back to the boat launch, but that Marcy refused to sit in seagull's cockpit, instead she insisted on standing on the bow deck!

As the boats got out into the waves from the main part of the lake, the rope towing Seagull began to tug and go slack.

Marcy the fell into the pond and began swimming! The man backed up the canoe to catch Marcy by the collar, and then he put her in Seagull again.

Once again Marcy stood on the bow deck, and once again she fell in...

This time Marcy's parents fished her out into their canoe. She still didn't learn though. This time she tried to balance on top of the huge food cooler, swaying and slipping as the canoe bobbed in the waves.

Later that summer Seagull got one more chance to float, for some reason Abby and Nicolas decided to launch her into the smallest lake ever.

While they had fun and imagined wonderful adventures, Seagull found the tiny pond in the back yard had nothing to see under the water.

"I like real lakes better, but I'm glad to be part of their fun".

After that trip Seagull sat in the barn and dreamed about noisy playful children, enjoying and exploring, quiet peaceful nights on the pond, and the call of loons as leaves and then the snow fell outside.

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