Dolphin Adventure: A True Storyby Wayne Grover, Jim Fowler (Illustrator)
Eighty feet below the ocean's surface, Wayne Grover hears a clicking sound. Soon he sees three dolphinstwo adults and a babyswimming toward him. A large fishing hook is embedded in the baby's back, and suddenly Wayne realizes that, in their own way, the dolphins are asking for his help.
Read an Excerpt
The Florida sun warmed our backs as we loaded the diving gear aboard our boat. It was a cool winter morning in South Florida, the kind my friends and I liked best. Several pelicans sat on nearby dock pilings, watching, looking for a bite of food they might beg from us.
Because the air was cool and the sea was warm, a foggy mist was rising up from the water, creating dancing clouds that the sun quickly burned away. My friends and I had been diving together for years, and this morning was perfect for another day in the clear water off Palm Beach.
By 8:00 a.m. we had untied the boat and started down the intracoastal waterway toward an inlet that led to the open sea. The entire coast of Florida has a barrier island that protects the mainland from the ocean waves, and there are only a few places to go through it to reach the open ocean.
My favorite diving friend, a man called Amos, looks like Santa Claus. He has a long white beard and a shock of white hair to match.
Amos is sixty years old but still loves to dive every chance he gets. He is always happy and laughing and makes our diving days full of fun. Today he seemed especially good-humored as he steered our boat to the sea.
Diving off the coast of Florida is different from diving most other places because the water consists of a moving river within the Atlantic Ocean called the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream runs from south to north along the Florida coast, providing divers with a free ride as long as they don't try to go against the current.
Today we would be using scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) to dive along the offshore reefs between sixty and ahundred feet deep. Each diver wears a single tank of compressed air with a device called a regulator that allows him to breathe.
Most of the divers with us were there to hunt for big fish. These divers carry spear guns with which to shoot fish to take home for dinner.
I was there to dive purely for pleasure and for the beauty of the underwater sea, so I carried no weapon except for the usual diving knife every diver wears in a sheath strapped to his or her leg near the ankle, for use only in emergency situations.
That morning the sea was as smooth as glass with no waves and no wind blowing at all.
With the mist rising up and the sun beating down to warm our bodies, it was a very special morning.
By the time we reached our diving area, we were all ready in our rubber wet suits, which would keep us warm in the sea's cool depths, and were outfitted with our scuba gear. Our flippers were on our feet, our masks on our heads ready to put over our eyes and noses when we got into the ocean.
As I looked down into the water, I could see the bottom approximately eighty feet under the boat. It was perfectly clear; the sky was a deep blue, and the air was cool and comfortable.
There had been other perfect days, but for some reason, that day was like no other.
Meet the Author
Wayne Grover is an accomplished freelance journalist specializing in marine research, historical wrecks, conservation, and ecology. Mr. Grover is the author of Dolphin Adventure, Dolphin Freedom, Dolphin Treasure, and Ali and the Golden Eagle. He lives in Lantana, Florida.
Jim Fowler enjoys kayaking, camping, and wildlife viewing. He is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Dolphin Adventure, Dolphin Freedom, and Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover. He lives in Juneau, AK.
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