Dolphin encounter off Kona: An old friend returns

Courtesy: Keller Laros

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Video courtesy: Keller Laros

It was a rescue at sea watched by millions. A veteran scuba diver freeing a dolphin entangled in fishing line off the Kona coast.

Now, it appears the story doesn’t end there.

Master diver Keller Laros was conducting a manta ray dive with Jack’s Diving Locker Sunday night when something caught his eye.

“I saw something that clearly wasn’t a manta ray up on the surface, large kind of pale coming down, turn my head, and it was some bottle-nosed dolphins,” Laros said.

But not just any dolphins. He believes one of them was an old friend.

“As it came from my left to my right, it was looking right in my eye. It was squeaking pretty loud,” Laros said. “And I just got a feeling that it was the dolphin that I had helped with the fishing line back in January.”

Laros is referring to a remarkable encounter with a bottle-nosed dolphin in January caught on video.

The dolphin was in trouble, entangled in fishing line and approached Laros and other divers for help.

Laros carefully cut the line free while the dolphin patiently looks him in the eye.

It was an eye Laros says he’d never forget.

“I feel like a total connection with this animal just from what we had done in the past,” Laros said. “When I looked at this one, looked it in the eye, I had a pretty strong suspicion that it was the dolphin that I had met back in January, so it was a great thrill it’s like seeing an old friend.”

Videographer Martina Wing, who was with Laros in January, was there to share another magical moment.

“We look at each other, we kind of like shared a moment, ‘Oh my gosh! They’re back,'” Laros said.

It’s almost as if it had returned to say thank you.

“All of a sudden, loud, squeaking, clicking — I recognize the voice, turn around, and there’s the dolphin looking at me, kind of saying hello and good to see you again,” Laros said. “It was pretty awesome because I kind of always wondered what had happened to the dolphin and if we’d see it again.”

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