Two page spread depicting a mother and baby dolphin on the left swimming to the surface, and on the right the same pair frolicking on the surface.

Kari’s First Day


Kari was born swimming. The minute the little bottlenose dolphin came into the world, she swished her tail flukes up and down, up and down through the water—and there she was swimming swiftly alongside her mother.Illustration of a dolphin mother and newborn swimming together toward the surface.

Swimming was easy, but Kari had to breathe, too. Her mother led the way up to the surface of the ocean. Gently and strongly, she nudged Kari toward the light. Whoosh! Kari arched her back out of the water and took in her first breath of air through the blowhole on top of her head. Splash! She dove back under the cool blue water. In less than a minute, Kari came to the surface again. Whoosh! Out went the old air through her blowhole, along with a spray of seawater. Then another breath of fresh air—and down went Kari, diving back underwater.

Swiftly and smoothly, Kari and her mother swam through the shimmery blue sea. The rest of their pod was close by—but not too close. Kari’s mother swam around and around Kari, circling and nudging and guarding the little dolphin.

All the time she swam, her mother whistled to Kari. Tuwweee! Tuwweee! Tuwweee! Over and over, practically without stopping, Kari’s mother whistled. Tuwweee! Tuwweee! Tuwweee! This was her special call, meant only for Kari.

Soon Kari would recognize her mother’s unique whistle, and this would help her stay nearby when they swam with all the other dolphins in their pod. In time, Kari would develop her own whistle, too. But for now, Kari only heard her mother. Tuwweee! Tuwweee! Tuwweee! Kari butted up against her mother, and the two of them swam off together. Kari’s very first day in the deep, wide ocean had begun.