Authors: Summer Waters
For Mum and Dad—who are always there for me
n the bottom of the seabed near a cluster of rocks, two dolphins were arguing.
“No, it’s not. I saw it first. It’s mine.”
They didn’t notice Spirit, their leader, a large dolphin with a magnificent yellow blaze along his side, swimming towards them.
“Girls,” he clicked, his voice low and calm. “What seems to be the problem?”
Immediately the dolphins fell silent, staring at Spirit in awe.
“I found a shell,” whispered Dazzle, the older dolphin. “But my sister Tiny says she found it first, so it’s hers.”
“Why do you both want the shell?” asked Spirit, curiously.
Dazzle hesitated. “It’s pretty,” she said, squirming with embarrassment.
“I want it for Mum,” butted in Tiny. “She’d love it. Please let me have it.”
Spirit shook his silvery head. “Let me show you something,” he said.
He swam to the shell that the sisters were arguing over. Gently Spirit nudged it with his nose. The shell rolled over, revealing a tiny mollusc hidden inside.
“Oh!” exclaimed Dazzle. “I didn’t realise it belonged to someone else already.”
“Me neither!” squeaked Tiny.
Spirit nudged the shell back to where he’d found it.
“It’s best not to jump to conclusions,” he said. “Always check things first.”
Tiny let out a sad sigh. “Mum would have really liked that shell,” she clicked.
“Then bring her to see it,” clicked Spirit.
“Oh!” squeaked Tiny. “I never thought of that. Come on Dazzle, let’s go and get her.”
As the dolphins happily swam away, Spirit wished that all his problems were so easily solved. These were bad times for the oceans. If only humans thought more about the consequences of their actions.
Then Spirit remembered the Silver Dolphins. Not all humans were thoughtless. The Silver Dolphins had already made a big difference. They gave him hope.
t was almost the end of another school day. Antonia Lee pushed her long blonde hair back over her shoulder as she put her book in her tray. Then, hovering by the door, she watched the hands on the classroom clock move round to three fifteen.
, she thought impatiently, hoping
the teacher would dismiss the class on time.
Miss Brown folded her arms and glared at the noisy children.
“No one is going home until there is silence,” she said. “Lauren, that includes you.”
Antonia willed the class to be quiet. She had a strong feeling that her dolphin charm was about to call her. Antonia was a Silver Dolphin, a guardian of the sea. Silver Dolphins were specially chosen to care for the oceans and the creatures living there. Antonia wore a magic silver dolphin charm around her neck and it called to her whenever help was needed. Then, using magical dolphin skills, she would swim to the problem and sort it out.
Silver Dolphins were rare. Only people who were in tune with nature and believed in magic
could become one. Antonia knew of two other Silver Dolphins. They were her friend, Cai, and his great-aunt, Claudia, who ran a conservation charity called Sea Watch. Claudia had just recently decided she was too old to do the work of a Silver Dolphin properly.
The class fell silent at last and Miss Brown smiled.
“Well done, 5B. Off you go, then.” Antonia was first out of the classroom, running for her peg, where she stuffed her pencil case into her bag. It was no surprise when her dolphin charm began vibrating. This wasn’t the first time she’d sensed it would call before it actually had. Cupping her hand around it so that no one would notice the movement, Antonia called to Cai, “Ready?”
Cai’s brown eyes widened in surprise as his own silver dolphin badge, pinned to his polo shirt, vibrated. He lifted his school bag to his chest to hide it.
“Yes,” he answered.
“See you tomorrow, Sophie.” Antonia waved at her other best friend, who waved a sketch book back. Sophie was mad about art and her latest project was painting pictures of the cats that roamed around Sandy Bay.
“Ooh, look at the lovebirds,” called Lauren nastily, as Antonia and Cai ran from the building together.
Antonia ignored the comment, knowing that it was the best way to deal with Lauren.
“Spirit, I hear your call,” she murmured as her dolphin charm thrashed its tail and then
began to whistle. Spirit was the leader of a dolphin pod and he was responsible for calling the Silver Dolphins.
Cai’s badge was whistling too and the combined noise was ear-splitting. Nervously, Antonia glanced up at the parents waiting at the school gates, but only a Silver Dolphin could hear the dolphin’s call and no one looked their way as they weaved between them.
“Which beach?” panted Cai.
“Sandy Bay’s nearest,” said Antonia, her fingers still curled round her dolphin charm. Its tiny tail flicked against her palm, urging her into the sea. She and Cai ran neck and neck down the street, only stopping at the promenade to pull off their shoes and socks. Antonia was first to jump down on to the
beach. Her feet sunk into the soft white sand and it trickled through her toes as she ran to the rocks.
“This’ll do,” she said, dumping her things against a large boulder before stepping across the rocks to the sea. Cai hobbled slowly behind. It was only the second time he’d answered the dolphin’s call and his feet weren’t used to walking across slippery rocks encrusted with knobbly barnacles. Antonia hesitated. Normally, she would answer Spirit’s call as fast as possible. But she had a strong sense that this time it wasn’t urgent and wondered if she should wait for Cai.
“You go on,” called Cai.
Antonia was grateful to him for letting her go ahead. What if her feeling was wrong and
Spirit’s call for help was life or death? Splashing into the water, Antonia concentrated on believing she could swim like a dolphin. The moment the sea reached her waist, she lunged forward. Instantly her legs felt as if they had joined together. Antonia whistled delightedly as she swam out to sea; legs flicking like a tail and arms paddling the water like flippers. She swam clear of the bay and into the open sea before she felt vibrations in the water. Something was coming towards her.
“Spirit?” she whistled.
“Silver Dolphin,” he answered. “You came quickly.”
Moments later, Spirit appeared and swam straight up to Antonia to rub his nose against hers. Spirit was a magnificent dolphin with a
yellow blaze stretching along his silver flank and dark stripes running from eyes to mouth and chin to flippers. Shyly, Antonia rubbed his nose back.
“What’s my task today?” she asked.
“This afternoon a boat anchored up near the cliffs. Two people were diving from it. They seemed to be bringing up things from the seabed. I couldn’t see what. When they’d finished they had a clear out and threw their rubbish overboard. It’s made a terrible mess.”
“Lucky you saw them,” said Antonia. Rubbish was a serious problem for sea life and could cause animals to choke or drown.
Cai arrived, panting slightly and with a
determined look on his face. “I made it,” he said.
“Silver Dolphin,” clicked Spirit, swimming forward to rub Cai’s nose with his own. “Thank you for answering my call.”
Cai blushed in awe.
“It’s litter-picking today,” clicked Spirit. “Follow me and I’ll show you where.”
Spirit set off at a cracking pace, until he noticed Cai lagging behind and slowed down.
“You’ll have to teach me how to do the arms,” Cai whispered to Antonia. Cai hadn’t learned how to use his arms like flippers and was still doing breaststroke with them.
“It’s easy once you get the hang of it,” Antonia clicked back. Becoming a Silver Dolphin had felt natural for her, but there was
a lot to learn. Antonia also knew there were still things that she hadn’t discovered.
Spirit was heading for the cliffs between Sandy Bay and Gull Bay. Antonia gasped when she saw the mess the boat trippers had left behind. It looked like they’d emptied a wheelie bin straight into the sea. There were empty tins, cardboard cartons and an enormous amount of plastic waste; all things that could injure sea life.
“It’s disgusting!” Cai exclaimed. “Why do people think it’s OK to dump stuff like this?”
“Often it’s because they’re just lazy,” said Antonia.
“And ignorant,” clicked Spirit. “Many people don’t realise the harm their actions cause.”
Spirit had to get back to his pod, so he left
Antonia and Cai hard at work. Cai was lucky enough to find an enormous clear plastic bag that they used to collect the litter in.
“Lucky on two counts,” said Antonia. “A dolphin could suffocate in that.” She shuddered, thinking of her dolphin friend Bubbles, Spirit’s inquisitive son. What if Bubbles had got his head stuck in the bag?
“I wonder what the people were diving for?” asked Cai. “This isn’t just picnic waste—look.” He held up a soggy sheet of plastic with a label stuck to one side. “
The Stretchy Strap, secures your torch to your arm for hands-free diving
. And there’s this,” Cai reached out and pulled another plastic bag towards him. “
Dive Bag, made from heavy-duty poly…
” Cai squinted at the label. “I can’t read that bit, but it goes on to
say that the bag is perfect for bringing diving finds to the surface.”
“Weird,” Antonia agreed. “It’s not like there are any wrecked boats around here. I wonder what they were collecting.”
A light breeze came from nowhere, ruffling the sea’s surface and sweeping Antonia’s hair across her face. She pushed it away, shivering as a bad feeling suddenly came over her.
“What’s up?” asked Cai. “You’re whiter than a ghost.”
“Nothing.” Antonia shook the feeling away.
“Oh!” she exclaimed.
“What?” asked Cai.
“Vibrations.” Antonia grinned, suddenly feeling much happier. “Someone’s swimming this way and I bet I know who.”
few seconds later, two dolphins arrived. “Bubbles!” laughed Antonia, as her favourite dolphin surfaced beside her.
“Flipper Feet!” squeaked Bubbles. Then, whipping up the sea with his flippers, he clicked, “Water fight!”
Antonia, Bubbles and Cai splashed water at
each other until Antonia remembered the second dolphin hovering a short distance away. Diving underwater, she swam over to greet her.
“Hi.” Dream hesitated, then gently rubbed Antonia’s nose with her own. “Dad said we could play, if you’ve finished your work.”
“We’ve nearly finished,” said Antonia, pointing to the clear sack of rubbish Cai was holding. “We’ve just got to get rid of that.”
“Leave the bag on the rocks for now and come and play Sprat. Race you. Last one there is ‘it’.”
Bubbles sped off, leaping in and out of the water, his body a flash of silver. Antonia helped Cai with the bag of rubbish and Dream
swam alongside so the three of them reached the rocks together.
“I’ll be ‘it’,” said Antonia once the rubbish was safely out of the water. “I’ll give you a three waves’ head start.”
Everyone scattered as Antonia counted three waves.
“Coming,” she called.
The sea was empty. Cai and the dolphins had dived under the water to hide from her. Antonia dived too and was just in time to see Bubbles dart behind a rock. Slowly, she crept towards him but Bubbles had seen her and swam away. Antonia grinned, knowing she’d have to be much faster to catch the little dolphin. Something was moving to her left. Turning quickly, Antonia saw it was Cai. She
chased after him, catching him easily and tagging him as he surfaced.