Neri - the title character - is a young girl with an affinity for water, super-human strength, the ability to swim long distances, and super-human lung capacity. She lives alone on an otherwise deserted island. Early in the first season, Neri befriends two Australian boys: Jason and Brett Bates. This friendship is at first a highly guarded secret due to Neri's fear of other humans. The Bates brothers live in an elaborate underwater research and environmental protection facility called ORCA (the Oceanic Research Center of Australia), located near Port Douglas, Queensland. At the beginning of the series, their mother, Dr. Dianne Bates, has been assigned to ORCA to study whale song in the hopes of facilitating cross-species communication. A significant portion of the series takes place on ORCA itself, and looks at the activities of its inhabitants, which includes the school-aged children of the resident scientists, such as Jason and Brett.