Diver Kayleigh Grant of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was diving a couple of miles off the coast on Oct. 21, 2020, when she found herself in the company of a friendly rough-toothed dolphin. But as a shark drew near, the dolphin started swimming circles around her and her diving companion.
“It is not entirely uncommon to see sharks and dolphins interact in the ocean,” Kayleigh, 34, told The Epoch Times, “but this particular dolphin would continuously circle us and seemed to want to herd us together into a ball.
“It definitely felt like protective behavior, as I have swam with this species many times and this individual was relentless in his herding and circling.”
Kayleigh said that the shark was calm, curious, and harmed no one, not even the dolphin—adding that sharks are “way more passive than they often get credit for in overly dramatized movies.”
Sharing footage taken of the curious encounter on TikTok, Kayleigh amassed millions of views. Many of the tens of thousands of viewer comments echoed her sentiment: that the dolphin’s herding behavior was profound.
And it was encouraging, she said, to see people standing up for the shark, reinforcing that they ought not be feared, but “respected as a top predator who does not look at humans as a food source.”
(Courtesy of Kayleigh Grant)
For the expert diver, there was yet a deeper significance to the encounter.
“I remember it vividly, as it was my first dive back into the ocean after the passing of my younger brother the month prior,” she told the newspaper.
“I remember crying in my mask and snorkel because I had asked him to visit me in the form of an animal, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
“It felt like we really understood each other.”
The diver, who runs Kaimana Ocean Safari with her husband, Cam, hopes to convey how sentient, intelligent, and emotional dolphins are; and hopes the video inspires others to protect these magnificent dwellers of the sea.
Kayleigh encourages visiting them in their home habitat (the ocean) rather than at an aquarium; eating less (or more sustainable) seafood; avoiding single-use plastic; choosing reef-safe sunscreen; and cleaning up local beaches for the sake of all marine life.