From two walrus tusks, a ship’s boy on a New England whaler carves the perfect likeness of an ivory gull. Its red eyes are made of coral from the Sea of Japan. Its yellow beak is amber from the Baltic Sea. And its feet are black slate from Alaskan waters. The carving, which he names “Seabird, ” becomes Ezra’s lucky mascot, and stays in his family for more than one hundred years.
Ezra becomes captain of a clipper ship. He passes Seabird to his son, Nate, who becomes captain of a steamship. Nate passes it on to his son, Jim, a steamship designer. And now, four generations later, Jim’s son, Ken, is an airplane pilot, soaring above the sea with Seabird at his side.