Swimming with the Dolphins

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2009

Emma Place

Lily sat in a deck chair on the deck of her parents’ sailing ship, the Maid of the Sea. The sunlight sparkled on the water. It was a beautiful, sunny summer’s day and they were going on a little sail in the clear, blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine. The sails of the red boat were tightened with a loud slapping noise by a slight breeze that played across Lily’s hot face. Although it was hot, the day was lovely. Not a cloud in the bright, startlingly blue sky.

Lily relaxed and leaned back against the back of the deck chair and heaved a sigh of contentment as she watched the sunlight dance across the water. She sipped her lemonade. It was not too sweet and not too sour, just as she liked it. Ice cubes floated in it and the cool liquid soothed her parched throat. Lily had long, light brown hair that she usually wore down. It created a beautiful rippling effect when she ran. Her eyes were brown as well and she was tall for eleven.

Lily’s mom came onto the deck.

“Lil, would you like some chocolate-chip cookies before they’re gone? Your brother’s hogging them down below.”

William, Lily’s younger brother, loved food, especially sweets such as cookies.

“No thanks. They always make me thirsty,” replied Lily, taking another sip of lemonade. Talking of thirst had made her thirsty.

Swimming with the Dolphins jumping dolphin

Suddenly a dolphin leapt out of the water in a graceful arch

Her mother left as Lily leaned over the side and watched the lobster pots go by. She counted all the different combinations of colors. Pink and orange, red and yellow, the list was as endless as the sky above.

She watched as several waterbirds swam by, chattering excitedly like kids who have spotted a plate of cookies.

Suddenly a dolphin leapt out of the water in a graceful arch, his shiny gray sides glistening with the sunlight reflecting the droplets of water that poured down his curved body. He plunged back in with a splash, beak first, and was gone.

Another dolphin leapt out, followed by two more. Suddenly a pod of dolphins could be seen swimming just below the surface.

Lily stripped down to her swimsuit underneath her clothes, not taking her eyes off the group of dolphins. She wondered whether they’d swim away if she got in. They seemed friendly enough, swimming alongside the boat.

Deciding, she carefully climbed down the ladder and slid into the sun-warmed water.

At first the dolphins seemed wary, but then the first dolphin to leap came forward and nuzzled against her like a dog greeting its owner. Gradually the others came up and started nudging her as if asking her to play. She stroked their smooth skin and they seemed to like it—at least they clicked excitedly.

Swimming with the Dolphins riding the dolphin

The first dolphin came up to her and pushed her gently with his beak as if he was asking her to do something. She stroked him, but that didn’t seem to be what he wanted. He nudged her again and again. He gestured toward his back with his flipper.

“Do you want me to ride you?” asked Lily incredulously.

He continued gesturing. She gently grasped hold of his dorsal fin. She put a little of her weight on his back. He didn’t object. She put her full weight on his back and clambered on. He started swimming, his streamlined body pushing through the water. They started going faster, with Lily’s hair streaming behind them. She laughed and laughed. A moment she’d never forget: riding a dolphin!

The sun looked down and shone his rays on them, dolphin and girl, racing through the waves.

Swimming with the Dolphins Emma Place

Emma Place, 11
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Swimming with the Dolphins Emily Che, 13 Saratoga, California

Emily Che, 13
Saratoga, California

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