Now who's Laughing?

By Bryan Lowe - Seattle, Washington - USA

I am always dreaming boats, surfing the net for my next boat building adventure. Often I return to designs I've been thinking on for years. Today, amongst all the Welsford, Atkins, and Theil designs, I returned to the DockBox by Michalak, and was delighted to SEE that one HAS been built.

Bill McKeough's Dockbox underway in Oklahoma.

As the designer says, "go ahead and laugh". Still, or perhaps because of that, as I gravitate toward the odd, I always thought the boat could be fun. I've been on the Skagit River Delta a couple of times in my Escargot, and the water gets pretty thin down all those little aquatic fingers amidst the reeds and cattails. Some amazingly beautiful scenes there, and no other boats, 'cept for the occasional kayak. The DockBox would get you there, if not in style, than with a certain sort of Scrooge-like frugality! And it would be fun, plain and simple.

Here I sit in my Escargot waiting for the tide to come in. The water is now 3 inches deep or so! My son took the picture floating on an inner tube connected to the rope you see.

Even though I already have my Escargot I'm going to do this someday, and when I build, it will be done as simply as the Dockbox itself. No resin. No sanding. Maybe I'll build two! I'll need a friend, you see, as I'll be missing my almost grown son something fierce. This was an adventure we always shared, and with a girlfriend and his own life becoming a reality, he just hasn't had time. So I'll build new memories. And even in retirement my friend and I will be able to afford it. Just 4 sheets of ply and leftover paint. It could probably be built in a few weekends.

When I am done, We'll give our boats to someone else. But who?

I'd give mine to some kids.

The Sammamish Slough, a nearby still water river, would be perfect for a first time adventure.

I could just see some late middle school kid or two having the time of their short and uncomplicated lives. There'd be some danger, but the risks would be acceptable to the right set of parents, and for the right pair of kids. This slough is just short of being called a "crick".

If our two adventurers were to fall out of the boat, they could save themselves by standing up in most places! 

Food? There's a restaurant on the slough's banks, way, way up far beyond the places other boats can get, and there they'd find a big, sloppy burger and more fries than even two kids could eat. After dinner, they'd push off into the weed choked waters, pushing with a long pole to a secluded corner I've been to just down the way. There's a few of those oversized rats called Nutria, looking for all the world like a Beaver, but without the flat tail. I see him every time I go there, and late at night the two kids will hear him, or some other creature of the night, slapping the water outside the boat in anger at their intrusion.

And even on the slough, a shallow thread of water hidden amongst soccer fields and business parks, even there, the stars will still be able to share a glimpse of past and future as they lie in their bunks.

They'd awaken earlier than intended, and while working their way through two packs of strawberry frosted pop tarts each, they'd untie the boat and let it slowly drift amongst the mists spiraling up from the water. They'd be Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, even if they, themselves, were unaware of it. There'd be almost hourly cell phone checks from the parents at first as Mom, especially, was worried sick about this adventure, but after a morning call the phone would be silent. Even as young boys, they'd know this was something rare.. something special. Things wouild be quiet for a while, but then they'd start talking of their trip next weekend.

Now who's laughing!?


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