The day Manuela and her father spear a manatee, Manuela's life changes for ever. She has dreamed of this moment – only the most skilful hunters ever get near these elusive creatures. But the reality of the killing shocks her, and when she realizes the dead manatee has a little calf and that it has been wounded, she vows to look after it. However, when they return to their village, her father sells the calf to Jose Gomez, a heartless money-maker. Determined to keep her promise, Manuela and her cousin Libia rescue the baby manatee from Gomez and take it to their Granny Raffy's house. The girls devote their time to nursing it, but they know that unless they persuade the people of San Larenzo to stop hunting manatees, it will never survive when they return it to the wild. Together they set up a "manatee school" and slowly convince people not to hunt the already threatened species. But there's one person who won't be convinced: Gomez.