The story continues with Hopper traveling alone for the first time, hoping to find the home of his natural family in the Falkland Islands.
To read from the beginning, go here.
The Sound and the Storm
Comfort fled from Hopper’s heavy heart as he glided easily under and through the waves. He didn’t want to leave his parents, but he knew he must, so on he went toward the north.
That day passed and then another, and he swam on, stopping occasionally to eat some fish or krill. It was summer in the southern hemisphere, and he was still far enough south so there was no night, but Emmett had told him that in the north he would experience days and nights as we know them in those areas which are not so far north or south.
Sometimes he wondered if he was really heading for the Falklands, because he couldn’t see anything but water in every direction, but he knew Emmett had taught him well and that he would send him in the right direction.
In a few days he noticed that the sun dipped below the horizon briefly, and then in a few more days it actually got dark for a while. This was a new experience for him and gave him hope that he really was making progress. Before long he would be with his family. This thought excited him, even though he still considered Emily and Emmett his family.
After many days he thought he could see land in the distant north, or was it clouds? He porpoised along; that is, he swam along like a porpoise diving in and out of the waves at a high rate of speed. This is where he first heard that sound, something he had never heard before, an eerie and almost indescribable sound that he could hear when he was under water. It was kind of like seagulls in the distance, but this was something under water. “What is that?” he wondered.
Soon the sea was getting rougher. It was harder to swim over the waves. He found it easier going under water for longer periods. As he did so, the sound was still there. On the surface dark clouds grew bigger and bigger, seeming to surround him.
Rain poured down, lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and the wind beat the water into his face. Even under water the ocean was in turmoil. He kept struggling toward the north, but the storm began to wear him down. He grew very tired, fighting the wind and waves, and felt he couldn’t go on any longer. Then remembering Emmett’s words, he cried, “Help!” A wave crashed over him and everything was dark.
The next time Hopper was aware of anything, he knew he was alive, because he was very sore. His wings ached, and so did his legs. He didn’t know how much time had passed. The storm was over, and he found himself lying on a large log in fairly calm waters. A current was moving his log to the north, so he thought he’d rest there as long as it went that way. What he didn’t realize was that the storm had blown him for a few days to the west, and now going north he would come to the southern tip of South America instead of the Falkland Islands.
“How did I get on this log?” he wondered. The last thing he remembered was going under in the storm, calling out for help.
Then he heard some splashes in the water and a squeaky voice saying, “Oh, I think he’s awake now.”
Another squeaky voice answered, “Really? Oh oh oh.”
Hopper turned his head and saw a couple of black snouts poking out of the water. “Who are you?” he asked.
“I’m Del!” said the first voice.
“I’m Delphina!” said the second.
“I’m glad to meet you. My name is Hopper. I’m a penguin, a Rockhopper penguin. What are you? And how long have you been here?”
“We’re dolphins,” replied Del. “Delphina and I were out looking for our lunch when we received instructions to change our course and find a penguin who needed help in the storm. A few minutes later we heard you call out, ‘Help!’ so we knew you were the right penguin. Anyway, we pushed you up on this log, and have stayed with you ever since, which has been two days. The storm has passed, and you appear to have made it through all right.”
“Well, I’m a little sore, but I sure want to thank you for taking care of me.”
“We just did what we were told to do, and it was fun for us. And now that we can see that you can make it all right, we must be heading back to the others in our family.”
“Are you sure you can’t head this way with me?”
“We’d like to, but we must go. You’ll be okay now, and don’t forget to remember the one we should never forget.”
“Well, thanks again. I hope I can see you again sometime.”
“Bye-bye!” said the dolphins, and then his new friends disappeared under the gently rolling waves.