Out on the Sea

Out on the Sea

When Emily woke up the next morning, it took her a few seconds to remember where she was. But as she sat up in bed, it all came flooding back. She was in Mexico, of course! She jumped up and pulled open the curtains. Bright light came flooding in. Through the window she could see the glittering sea and the few wispy white clouds that drifted across the sky. Emily felt happiness rush through her.

Out on the Sea

Pulling on her shorts and a T-shirt, she crept into her mum and dad’s room. They were still asleep, so she made her way downstairs, and into the common room.

Rosa had set out some fresh fruit, tortillas, little bread rolls and thin slices of a spicy red sausage on the breakfast table. A man in his thirties was sitting on the veranda eating a plate of tortillas, sausage and eggs with red spicy sauce on top. He was tanned, with blond hair and a stubbly beard.

“Hi there,” he said, turning round as he heard her come in. “I guess you must be Emily. I’m Danny. I hear you’re a bit of a dolphin fan like me.”

“Oh, yes!” said Emily. “I love them!” She liked Danny immediately. He had friendly brown eyes and a wide smile. “Jess said we might be able to go out in a boat with you today.”

“You sure can. Now, why don’t you help yourself to some breakfast?” he said, waving to the table. “There’s hot chocolate or coffee in the two silver pots, and Rosa will cook you some eggs too if you want.”

“No, thank you. This all looks great,” said Emily, helping herself to some fruit and rolls. Then she poured herself a cup steaming hot chocolate. She breathed in as she poured it. It smelled delicious! She outside and sat carried her plate and cup down next to Danny.

“So, what do you know about dolphins?” he asked her.

She told him everything she had learned. “Not bad,” he said, looking impressed.

“Did you also know that the Spanish word for dolphin is delfin, and that they use echolocation to hunt their prey?”

Emily shook her head and sipped the hot, slightly spicy chocolate. “What’s that?”

“It’s when an animal like a dolphin sends out a series of sounds – dolphins make a series of clicks. They listen to the echoes that come back through the water and use those echo to help them work out how far away objects are and what shape they are.” Emily was fascinated. “Don’t bats do something like that too?”

“That’s right,” said Danny. “But I prefer dolphins.”

“Me too,” agreed Emily. They smiled at each other.

“Hey, do you want to watch some videos I’ve taken out in the sea here?” Danny asked suddenly.

“Yes, please!” said Emily.

Danny got out his iPad, and soon they were both watching videos of dolphins jumping and playing. Emily loved the way they opened their mouths as they were smiling. It was wonderful to see them swimming in the open sea rather than performing in a marine park. She really hoped she would get to see some for real! Just then Mr and Mrs Oliver came downstairs. “Look at this!” Emily called, g beckoning them over, and they watched the videos too.

Mrs Oliver smiled. “I almost wish I was coming out with you today. I love dolphins. Maybe I can come out for a quick boat trip before we leave…”

“You’re on,” said Danny with a grin.

After breakfast they all got ready to go out. Jess and Mrs Oliver loaded up the car with cameras, wetsuits and scuba-diving gear and set off back up the coast. Then Emily put on her swimsuit and lots of p waterproof sunscreen. She pulled her shorts and T-shirt on over the top, tied her dark hair back in a ponytail and put on her baseball cap and trainers. She was ready to go!

Her dad and Danny brought out a large cool box full of drinks and snacks in case they got hungry while they were out, then pulled the boat, The Trident, down to the water, and they all got in. Danny started the engine, and they chugged out towards the open sea, the wind blowing in their faces, keeping them cool despite the heat of the sun. They travelled over the reef and then further out, where Danny said the dolphins were most likely to be. Emily scanned the ocean. Where were they?

They motored up and down, but there was no sign of any dolphins. After a while a fishing boat chugged past them, heading towards the nearby village with a haul of fish and lobster. They saw three men aboard it, all dressed in white vests and shorts and baseball caps; their nets were piled in a heap on the deck. The oldest one, his face tanned and wrinkled from many years in the sun, raised his hand and called out a greeting.

 “Buenos días!”

Danny waved back. “Buenos días, Vincent! Have you had a good catch today?”

“So so,” the fisherman said. “Maybe more tomorrow yes, yes, I know,” he said before Danny could say anything more. He winked. “Maybe I change my nets and my luck it will change. Adiós, mi amigo.” And he turned his boat for home.

“That’s Vincent, one of the local fishermen,” Danny explained to Mr Oliver and Emily. “He’s one of the most senior fishermen in the village and I’ve been trying to talk to him about changing the way he fishes. I think if only he agreed, then the others would too.”

“How’s it all going?” Mr Oliver asked. Danny scratched his head. “There’s still a lot of work to do. Vincent and the others are always very friendly – they are kind people – but their methods of fishing have worked for them for years and it’s hard to make them see the benefits of changing their ways. It can be done though: there’s a village on the reserve where they are using nets with turtle exclusion devices to keep turtles and dolphins from getting caught up in the nets. I wish we could persuade the fishermen around here to change too.”

“So do I, if it stops dolphins and turtles getting caught in the nets,” said Emily, at the thought of creatures Shuddering trapped and in pain.

They motored on, still searching for dolphins. Emily began to wonder if they would see any that day after all. Danny stopped the engine and they bobbed around on the water as they shared out the lunch. “I guess it looks like the dolphins are swimming somewhere else today,” he said as they packed away the leftovers. “We can always try again tomorrow.”

“Can’t we stay a little longer?” Emily begged.

But her dad shook his head. “Danny’s got other work to do, Em. We can’t take up all his time.”

Danny started the engine, but as he turned the boat round, Emily spotted something. “Look!” she gasped. She was sure she had just seen a grey fin cutting through the water.

“What? I can’t see anything,” her dad said.

“There was a dolphin – I’m sure there was!”

Mr Oliver stood up and scanned the sea. “I think you imagined it, sweetheart. I can’t see any-WHOA!” he shouted as a shape exploded up out of the water, jumping in a high arc. Its wet grey sides shone in the sunlight and its dark eyes seemed to wink as it plunged back into the sea, sending water splashing all over them.

“It is a dolphin!” cried Emily in delight. “And not just one!” She suddenly saw other fins in the water. “There’s lots of them!”

Read Like: Midnight

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