"Abel Johnson was ten years old and could never remember a time when he could not dive. His mother said he was a diver before he was born; he floated and swam in the warm ocean inside her for nine months so maybe it came naturally.
"He had lived by the sea at Longboat Bay all his life.
"Every day was special.
"But it all became much more precious the day he first shook hands with old Blueback."
Just as the sun came up, Abel pulled on his wetsuit and ran down the jetty. Already his mother was in the dinghy with the outboard motor running. It was cold this morning and Abel was still half asleep. He got down into the boat, untied the bowline and pushed them clear. With a purr of the outboard they surged away.
In the bow, he looked around, slowly waking up in the cold rush of air. Sunlight caught the windows of the shack above the beach so every pane of glass looked like a little fire. He watched his mother's hair blow back off her shoulders. She squinted a little. Her skin was tanned and wrinkled from the sun. He felt the sea pulsing under him as the little boat skimmed across the bay.
From the Macmillan hardback edition, 1997.
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Last modified: November 23, 2001.