A raft of sea otters floated among
the kelp fronds. Waves lapped against their fur as they bobbed up and
down. "Iím tired of eating mussels," whined Chloe. "Do you know how long
itís been since Iíve eaten a sea urchin?"
"Och, that sounds delicious,"
Ainslee agreed. "I can almost taste it now. Yummy."
"Why donít we each go down to the
bottom and see if we can find a few? Wee Bonnie, youíll have to stay up
here though. Mummy will bring you back a crab or an abalone. Would you
like that?" Maisie asked her bairn.
"Yes, Mummy. Iíd love a crab," wee
"You stay here and weíll be right
back. Hold onto the kelp fronds," Maisie said.
The other sea otters in the raft
dove beneath the waves. They went from rock to rock, looking everywhere.
When they surfaced, they had an assortment of things. "I found three
mussels," Leslie said. She lay on her back and pounded the blackish-purple
shells open with a stone sheíd carried up.
"I found two abalone," Mahri said.
She started banging them together, anxious to have the tasty meat inside.
"Mummy brought you a crab," Maisie
said, handing wee Bonnie the wriggling crustacean. Wee Bonnie lay on her
back and bit into the crabís shell. "Delicious," she said, gobbling down
the tender meat inside. Maisie had picked up a few crabs for herself and
started eating them.
Chloe had an octopus in her paws. "Och,
I hope itís not too tough. Sometimes octopus is very chewy," she said. She
bit into it. "Brilliant! Itís tender and delicious."
"Youíre being very quiet over there,
Ainslee," Mahri said. "Didnít you find something to eat?"
Ainslee was hiding among the kelp. "Ainslee,
what have you go there?" Chloe asked.
Wee Bonnie swam over to see. "Sheís
got a sea urchin, Mummy. Itís purple and crunchy."
"What? You found a sea urchin?"
Maisie shouted. "You were going to hide it from us, were you?"
Ainslee lay on her back nibbling
away on the urchin. "Well! You could have offered to share," Mahri said.
"Aye, Ainslee," Leslie added. "You
could have given each of us a wee bite, especially wee Bonnie. Sheís never
tasted urchin before."
Ainslee stopped eating. "Och, all
right. Come here, wee Bonnie. Iíll give you a bite, but the rest of you
will have to find your own sea urchin." She bit a piece off and gave it to
the wee one.
"Thatís delicious. I like sea
urchin. I want more sea urchin, Mummy!" wee Bonnie began to wail.
"Now look what youíve done!" Maisie
said to Ainslee. "Youíve gone and made wee Bonnie cry."
Suddenly Ainslee disappeared beneath
the water. "Where did she go?" Leslie asked.
Ainslee surfaced a few minutes
later. "Here you go, ladies. Urchins for everyone," she giggled and passed
one of the prickly purple creatures to each of them. I found a whole lot
of them. Hereís one for you, wee Bonnie."
The sea otters tossed their crabs,
mussels, and abalone into the waves and nibbled on sea urchin. Two
seagulls came flying by and spotted the half-eaten shellfish. They landed
near the raft of sea otters.
"Weíre eating sea urchin," wee
Bonnie told the seagulls. "Itís delicious." The seagulls squawked and flew
off with their leftover bits of abalone, mussel and crab.
"You told them!" Maisie laughed. The
others joined in.
"You canít have sea urchin every
day, wee Bonnie, but now and then for a special treat, weíll find you
some," her mum said.
After theyíd finished eating, the
otters lay on their backs and took a nap as the waves carried them gently
out to sea.