Divers have more unparalleled access to sea creatures than almost anyone else — except, perhaps, mermaids. They get to snorkel with sea snakes, come face to face with huge nurse sharks and swim alongside sunfish.
These rare moments when divers personally encounter animals we usually see in photos — like a dolphin — those are the moments that make diving worth all the tubing and pressure and tiny-but-not-insignificant dangers that come along with breathing out of a tank dozens of feet below the sea.
But saving an animal in distress? It’s a moment that makes diving a rewarding and fulfilling experience for many divers. And it’s also a moment that makes sea-friendly landlubbers tear up with the hope that a once-imperiled animal has a second chance at life.
Diver Keller Laros had one such encounter with a dolphin four years ago in Hawaii.
He was deep underwater surrounded by flapping rays, when he noticed a little dolphin lingering around his crew of divers.
The animal soon approached Laros, who saw a nasty fishing hook wedged in the dolphin’s left flipper.
Laros tried to get it out with his hands, but the little piece of flotsam proved difficult to remove as the dolphin circled Laros again and again, clearly asking for help.
But he pulled out a trusty set of what seem to be ocean pliers or shears and, holding onto the dolphin’s fin, pulled on the hook even more.
This beautiful exchange happens for minutes, with the trusting dolphin circling Laros and only once coming up for air.
While he wasn’t able to fully remove the hook, he did cut off a thick tangle of fishing line that restricted the dolphin’s range of motion. The dolphin then swims away into the dark sea.
In other, unrelated news: The ocean is a beautiful place, dolphins are beautiful creatures, and remember to never, ever, ever, ever leave your trash in the ocean (or on the ground, where it will likely wash into a stormwater drain, which empties into the ocean), because the most inspiring video would feature a dolphin that didn’t have a hook in the first place.
Watch the full video of the dolphin's plea for help below.