While looking for manta rays, a dive instructor comes to the aid of a bottlenose dolphin. ©From the video “Dolphin Rescue Hawaii,” Ocean Wings Hawaii, Inc.

It’s not often that stressed wild animals trust us humans enough to ask for our help, but that’s exactly what one bottlenose dolphin did earlier this year.

On January 11, 2013, several snorkelers and divers on a winter trip to Hawaii were enjoying a night dive with their instructors off the coast of Kona. While watching manta rays feed off plankton in a lighted area, a bottlenose dolphin swam in close. The dive instructors noticed that the dolphin’s movements seemed unnatural. As the dolphin made a few passes, they saw that the animal had become entangled in a fishing line that ran from its mouth to its left pectoral fin.

Although those involved in making the film footage, the dive instructors and camera operator Martina S. Wing of Manta Rays Hawaii, state that they do not advocate lay people trying to rescue marine life (instead they ask that you contact NOAA and/or local authorities), the dive instructors—who had thousands of hours of experience at this particular site—decided to render assistance based on the dolphin’s behavior and its approaching them.

What’s amazing is that the dolphin not only goes to the divers once for help but swims away to go up for air and then returns for more aid.

This certainly has my vote for one of the most stunning, uncontrived and moving wildlife videos of 2013. What are your favorites?

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy