It’s finally here! Release day for “Dolphin’s Cave.”
“Dolphin’s Cave” is a book that is for children and preteens as well as those who are young at heart:)
The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?
In Her Dreams
Darkness came as it did every evening—quietly and completely. Slumber always brought the same dreams ever since Coral Dover’s parents’ plane had disappeared off the radar en route from Oahu to Maui. Coral never gave up hope that her parents were somewhere waiting to be found. Her faith had been solid for eight long years, but now it was eroding like rocky sea cliffs, constantly being battered by the ocean’s salty reality. Her escape was her dreams. Every night the same events replayed, but they seemed new every time—like dream-state amnesia. Covers over her head and eyes tightly shut, sleep engulfed her as she sank into hope.
The ocean water was warm as she swam away from the protected cove of a black sandy beach. Suddenly a painless grasp at her legs pulled her underwater. There was no fear, only curiosity. The deeper she went, the cooler the water became, yet she wasn’t cold. More important, though, she wasn’t fighting to breathe.
Eyes burning from the saltwater, she couldn’t see who or what pulled her. Abruptly she was released and settled into a neutral buoyancy. Surroundings came into focus. The blue encased her, and there was no way to tell which way was up. Goosebumps covered her arms, and she turned around. She saw a turtle and a dolphin—her kidnappers.
The turtle held back while the dolphin moved in and nudged her leg with its snout and then turned away from her. It was ten feet long, dark gray on top fading to white underneath. She knew it was a bottlenose dolphin thanks to her mom, who had written and illustrated a children’s book called What’s Swimming in the Hawaiian Sea?
Coral used to insist that her mom read her newly published book to her before bed. This turtle looked exactly like the one in the book—a green sea turtle, or honu, as the Hawaiians called it. It was brown and about three feet wide. Unsure what to do next, she watched the turtle and let the memories surface.
“The turtle’s name comes from its adult diet of seagrass and other plants, which are stored in its fat and turn it green. The color isn’t external, but internal.” A warm smile danced across her mom’s face. “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was judged by the color of their fat, or what was on the inside and not the outside?”
Waves of her past washed over her every time she thought about her parents. Instead of drowning in her pain, she was kept afloat by the hope of one day seeing them.
The dolphin nudged her with its nose again, bringing her back to this dream reality. Its expression looked like a smile. She knew there was a mouthful of teeth behind that smile that the dolphin used to catch food. Coral was caught. The dolphin nodded its head, then swam under her and waited. Carefully and gently she touched its fin. The dolphin showed no signs of being upset by her touch. It didn’t attempt to bite or release a burst of bubbles from its blowhole. Both good signs, yet she held back.
The dolphin took control and pushed up under her. And just like that, she was riding it. She clung to its dorsal fin as it swam, surfacing every seven minutes to breathe. She almost slipped off a few times, but the dolphin slowed and maneuvered so that she could adjust herself. Unlike the dolphin, who breathed air, Coral was able to breathe both air and water.
How am I doing this?
Bewildered, she focused on what was occurring, how the water entered new slits on her neck and exited through her nose. When they broke the water’s surface, she took in air through her nose or mouth. The dolphin’s process was different. It blew out its used air from a blowhole on top of its head when it surfaced, sounding much like a balloon quickly losing air. Then it sucked air in through the same hole and refilled its lungs. Coral’s intake of air was quiet yet dramatic as she switched from water to air.
The dolphin stopped and waited in the sunlight, which was blinding. Coral’s eyes watered from the salt while they slowly adjusted. There was a small island off to the right, and the dolphin swam in that direction. There were no hotels or people around. Was she going to be stranded here, or was there another purpose? A knowing poured through her. Her parents were stranded somewhere and couldn’t get back to her.
There was no sand on this shoreline, only jagged black rocks from years of volcanic eruptions. They were heading for the tallest cliff when the turtle bumped against her leg.
“Where are we going?”
They swam right up to the cliff.
“Are my parents here?”
The dolphin dove into the clear blue water. A school of bright yellow-and-blue fish swam by, and Coral saw an underwater cave straight ahead. Her grip tightened on the dolphin’s fin as they swam into it. She could see lights ahead. Finally they were about to surface, and she’d have some answers—
Embrace your inner child… always! D. L. Finn