This book consists of a collection of actual stories of inspiration and miracles that occur with Dolphins, Whales and many other animals.  They are meant to inspire and touch the heart. 

I have been blessed with many wonderful experiences with these beautiful beings, and hearing about so many others.  I began to collect these stories and I am excited to include them in what may be the first of many new books.  My intention is to share them in storytelling at children’s hospitals and nursing homes.  It is also my intention to donate a percentage of the profits to various animal causes.

If you or anyone you know has a story to share and would like to be a part of this book – please email me at:

Here are a few sample stories that will be in the book:

Dolphin in Distress
This Magic Moment
Dogs Have Angels Too
Rescue of "Lucky" The Humpback Whale


Dolphin in Distress
by Hannelore

There was a Dolphin in distress! 

The moment I arrived at my favourite campsite, a beach on the big Island of Hawaii, I heard about it!

It was a beautiful sunny day.  I was excited to return to Hawaii and it was my fifth year to set up camp at this beach.  I find this is a wonderful way to begin and end my ‘Communing with Dolphins’ retreat, allowing me to relax into ‘Hawaiian time’ and the energy of the Islands.  To rise with the sun, enter ‘Kai’ the ocean and swim first thing each morning with my beloved friends the Dolphins.  During this time I have connected with many wonderful human friends, fellow campers and also the locals who all share a mutual love and respect for the Dolphins.

I had just arrived and was about to set up my tent, when many of my old friends came to greet me and told me about the distressed dolphin.  She had a fishing line entangled in her mouth and it trailed about 30 feet behind her.  There were those who tried to help, but she would not allow anyone near.  Throughout the following week, while swimming, I could occasionally hear her cry.  She would not swim with her pod and stayed at the outer edge and away from any help offered.  There was a growing concern, especially from the ‘Dolphin community’ about the welfare of this entangled dolphin.  There were some people who did not understand how to behave respectfully with the Dolphins despite their desire to help. They did not understand they were doing more harm than good when reaching out and trying to grab at the cord. This only made her more guarded in allowing a more experienced swimmer with a knife or scissors to get near.

During the week of our retreat, we began each morning in prayer, holding circle and sending her messages of love from our hearts. We sent her light for protection and thoughts and images to let her know we were here to help.  Occasionally she would be spotted, but from a distance and we noticed the line was now gathering debris.  As the week progressed, she was becoming more lethargic and her cries were heart wrenching to hear.  At one point she allowed Dolphin Dave, a beautiful and gentle soul from Maui, get close enough to cut off about 10 feet of the line.

We were nearing the end of our time together at the retreat.  A group of us were in the bay enjoying a wonderful interaction with a large pod of dolphins.  They swim in large circles, play then move on.  After this playful encounter, I found myself alone in the water and contemplated returning to shore.   I heard her cries.  Looking around, I saw her slowly swim approximately 40 feet directly below me, with the line trailing behind her.  My heart went out to her as I sent her my thoughts and prayers, letting her know we were here to help.  I sent her images of David and of Susan, another dolphin lover, who had a pair of scissors to cut her loose.  I closed my eyes and sent her Reiki energy.  When I opened my eyes she was within arms reach, so close and moving very slow.  I agonized as I did not have a knife and let her know my friends did.  Ever so slowly she moved on, as the cord trailed past me.

Pauline, one of the retreat participants was nearby.  She also heard her cries.  I shared that she was close and to help send the message to her that help was near.  Approximately 20 minutes later we heard her cries again.  Once more she swam within arms length.  All Pauline and I could do was to send her as much healing energy as we could.  David and Dianna, another retreat participant, now joined us in circle sending her the message to allow for human help.  Pauline decided to return to shore. On her way back, she experienced the rescue mission. Within a few minutes she swam back toward us calling out “She is Free! She is Free!  Willy freed her!”

This is Pauline’s story –
“I was heading back to shore when someone brushed by me.  Below me were the dolphins and to my right was the distraught dolphin with a man who is swimming alongside her. I immediately felt drawn to HOLD THE FIELD to support him and the dolphin. I see him moving closer toward her head holding the fishing cord.  I then see the dolphin thrash about then swim away and waggle her tail very strongly up and down and the man has the cord in his hands. She is untied. He succeeded to cut the fishing cord with a pair of scissors. My heart became so full of JOY that I have no words to describe this moment, I can only yell YEAH, you did it, Bravo! I swam back so fast to tell the group where David, Dianna and Hannelore were: "She is free - the dolphin is freed" I shouted! I am still in awe as to how I swam back so fast. I felt like a little girl full of Joy and Happiness. Tears of joy came to my eyes.”

This is Willi’s story –    
“A few days earlier, I got close enough to her so that I could see the line went through her mouth, looped around her head and then twisted together so that it could not be pulled off from the front. I also noticed that she spent all of her time away from the main pod -- to me an indication that she was weak and vulnerable, and that she may not have been able to feed with the line through her mouth. We all began to worry about her survival.

On this particular day, I had been swimming with a very active pod, when Susan, from Vancouver, said she had seen the dolphin swimming by herself out a little further from shore than the main pod. It was almost an hour before I spotted her. By that time Susan had decided to go in. She was not going to be in the Bay for the next two or three days as she was going to do some healing work in Waimea. So I asked her if she would leave me the scissors and pouch she had purchased and I would try and cut the line loose. She of course agreed.  A few minutes later I saw the dolphin again, swimming deep.
I began to follow her but she would not let me get too close. I kept sending her visuals of cutting the line, hoping she would understand what I was trying to do. I tailed her for almost 20 minutes and then she disappeared, never allowing me to get too close.  About 15 minutes later I saw her again, still fairly deep, and swam down but she again stayed just out of reach and I didn't have enough air to keep at it. I'm persistent, but I began to feel like she was untrusting as a few people had pulled on the line and probably traumatized her.
(I heard a tale of one man actually trying to "hitch a ride", which broke my heart.) 

Unbeknownst to me at that time the group from the Retreat house had circled and was beginning to send her calming energy, letting her know that we were trying to help her. Susan had told me that she felt a rapid heartbeat from her and could tell she was probably stressed out.  A few minutes later I saw her for the third time. This time she was closer to the cliff and closer to the energy circle -- which meant she was in shallower water. It was still about 30 feet, but at least within my range. I swam down and she was obviously calmer. She allowed me to get just close enough to get my fingers on the end of the line. I wasn't sure how she would react, so I slowly began to kick and ease myself up the line towards her trying not to put too much pressure on the line. Still, I had to use the line to get closer. She seemed to be okay with it.
When I got to about 5 feet from her head, I realized that it would do no good to cut the line below where it began to twist together. She would still have it going through her mouth and be unable to feed. Also at that point she began to thrash a little as I was getting very close to her with the scissors.

I apologized to her, but in my mind I was not going to let go when I was this close.  I managed to pull myself a little closer despite her shaking her head and then went for it.

I got the scissors on the line and cut. As soon as I did, the whole line released from her. It obviously wasn't attached to a hook. She swam off and I swam up with this overwhelming sense of release and freedom.

For the next hour or so tears kept welling up every time I thought about it.  People wanted to hear the story, but after a couple of attempts at telling it, all I wanted to do was to be alone and let my emotions have time to settle down.  Over and again that sense of her "being free" welled up inside me and I was grateful for that amazing synchronicity that happens in Hawaii when everything comes together to make the impossible happen.
This is an experience that will stay with me the rest of my life. And it makes all my time in the Bay worthwhile.

It is so satisfying to be able to give back to them for all that they have given me.”

Willi with the cord

I was ecstatic and swam back to shore as fast as I could!  Willi was standing there holding the cord in his hands. He was feeling overwhelmed with relief and joy and at the same time humble and blessed to be the one to have the close contact with her to finally free her.  We hugged each other, both crying and both feeling such Joy!

I took this picture of Willi holding the cord, which now looked so harmless out of the water and without the debris.

What a beautiful and joyous way to bring our retreat to a close!  It was all so symbolic – how we are attached by cords to situations in our life.  Not letting go – gathering more debris along the way.  Isolating ourselves from others while in our pain and not allowing outside help.  Help that is there for us and that may come in many forms and not necessarily from our own species. 

The next day was a day of celebration!  It seemed to be so for many pods of Dolphins that came into the bay that day and also for the many Dolphin lovers that for the past few weeks have wanted to help.  The Dolphins were leaping out of the water, spinning, playing and interacting with all of us.  According to Todd, our caterer and a local resident, it was the most amazing active and playful experience he has had in the past two years. 

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share the retreat experience with others and cherish this memory which I now hold in my heart.

Thank you again Willi, for being there and for freeing our Dolphin friend

(Dolphin Dave sketched this painting depicting the rescue)
The following day, as Pauline was snorkeling in the middle of the Bay, mesmerized by a group of dolphins who were doing geometric figures below, bumped heads with Willi.  Laughing, thinking how weird it was to bump heads in such a large bay, asked him if he would recognize the Dolphin.  Just as she asked the question, a Dolphin swam in a circle around them and leaped up into the air.  He replied - “That’s her!”

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This Magic Moment
by Jennifer Anderson – 


I received this amazing story by email a couple of years ago and was inspired to contact Jennifer.  After phoning many Andersons in Hawaii, I finally located her.  She graciously gave me permission to use it in my book.  Her stories are incredible and she is currently putting a book together of these experiences.
It was like many Maui mornings, the sun rising over Haleakala as we greeted our divers for the day's charter. As my captain and I explained the dive procedures, I noticed the wind line moving into Molokini, a small, crescent-shaped island that harbors a large reef. I slid through the briefing and then prompted my divers to gear up, careful to do everything right so the divers would feel confident with me, the dive leader.
The dive went pretty close to how I had described it: The garden eels performed their underwater ballet, the parrot fish grazed on the coral, and the ever-elusive male flame wrasse flared their colors to defend their territory.
Near the last level of the dive, two couples in my group signaled they were going to ascend. As luck would have it, the remaining divers were two European brothers, who were obviously troubled by the idea of a "woman" dive master and had ignored me for the entire dive. The three of us caught the current and drifted along the outside of the reef, slowly beginning our ascent until, far below, something caught my eye.
After a few moments, I made out the white shoulder patches of a manta ray in about one hundred and twenty feet of water. Manta rays are one of my greatest loves, but very little is known about them. They feed on plankton, which makes them more delicate than an aquarium can handle. They travel the oceans and are therefore a mystery. Mantas can be identified by the distinctive pattern on their belly, with no two rays alike. In 1992, I had been identifying the manta rays that were seen at Molokini and found that some were known, but many more were sighted only once, and then gone.
So there I was: a beautiful, very large ray beneath me and my skeptical divers behind. I reminded myself that I was still trying to win their confidence, and a bounce to see this manta wouldn't help my case. So I started calling through my regulator, "Hey, come up and see me!" I had tried this before to attract the attention of whales and dolphins, who are very chatty underwater and will come sometimes just to see what the noise is about. My divers were just as puzzled by my actions, but continued to try to ignore me.
There was another dive group ahead of us. The leader, who was a friend of mine and knew me to be fairly sane, stopped to see what I was doing. I kept calling to the ray, and when she shifted in the water column, I took that as a sign that she was curious. So I started waving my arms, calling her up to me. After a minute, she lifted away from where she had been riding the current and began to make a wide circular glide until she was closer to me. I kept watching as she slowly moved back and forth, rising higher, until she was directly beneath the two Europeans and me. I looked at them and was pleased to see them smiling. Now they liked me. After all, I could call up a manta ray!
Looking back to the ray, I realized she was much bigger than what we were used to around Molokini - a good fifteen feet from wing tip to wing tip, and not a familiar-looking ray. I had not seen this animal before. There was something else odd about her. I just couldn't figure out what it was.

Once my brain clicked in and I was able to concentrate, I saw deep V-shaped marks of her flesh missing from her backside. Other marks ran up and down her body. At first I thought a boat had hit her. As she came closer, now with only ten feet separating us, I realized what was wrong.
She had fishing hooks embedded in her head by her eye, with very thick fishing line running to her tail. She had rolled with the line and was wrapped head to tail about five or six times. The line had torn into her body at the back, and those were the V-shaped chunks that were missing. I felt sick and, for a moment, paralyzed. I knew wild animals in pain would never tolerate a human to inflict more pain. But I had to do something.
Forgetting about my air, my divers and where I was, I went to the manta. I moved very slowly and talked to her the whole time, like she was one of the horses I had grown up with.
When I touched her, her whole body quivered, like my horse would. I put both of my hands on her, then my entire body, talking to her the whole time. I knew that she could knock me off at any time with one flick of her great wing.
When she had steadied, I took out the knife that I carry on my inflator hose and lifted one of the lines. It was tight and difficult to get my finger under, almost like a guitar string. She shook, which told me to be gentle. It was obvious that the slightest pressure was painful. As I cut through the first line, it pulled into her wounds. With one beat of her mighty wings, she dumped me and bolted away. I figured that she was gone and was amazed when she turned and came right back to me, gliding under my body. I went to work. She seemed to know it would hurt, and somehow, she also knew that I could help. Imagine the intelligence of that creature, to come for help and to trust!
I cut through one line and into the next until she had all she could take of me and would move away, only to return in a moment or two. I never chased her. I would never chase any animal. I never grabbed her. I allowed her to be in charge, and she always came back. When all the lines were cut on top, on her next pass, I went under her to pull the lines through the wounds at the back of her body. The tissue had started to grow around them, and they were difficult to get loose. I held myself against her body, with my hand on her lower jaw.
She held as motionless as she could. When it was all loose, I let her go and watched her swim in a circle. She could have gone then, and it would have all fallen away. She came back, and I went back on top of her.
The fishing hooks were still in her. One was barely hanging on, which I removed easily. The other was buried by her eye at least two inches past the barb. Carefully, I began to take it out, hoping I wasn't damaging anything. She did open and close her eye while I worked on her, and finally, it was out. I held the hooks in one hand, while I gathered the fishing line in the other hand, my weight on the manta.
I could have stayed there forever! I was totally oblivious to everything but that moment. I loved this manta. I was so moved that she would allow me to do this to her. But reality came screaming down on me. With my air running out, I reluctantly came to my senses and pushed myself away.
At first, she stayed below me. And then, when she realized that she was free, she came to life like I never would have imagined she could. I thought she was sick and weak, since her mouth had been tied closed, and she hadn't been able to feed for however long the lines had been on her. I thought wrong! With two beats of those powerful wings, she rocketed along the wall of Molokini and then directly out to sea! I lost view of her and, remembering my divers, turned to look for them.
Remarkably, we hadn't traveled very far. My divers were right,above me and had witnessed the whole event, thankfully! No one would have believed me alone. It seemed too amazing to have really happened. But as I looked at the hooks and line in my hands and felt the torn calluses from her rough skin, I knew that, yes, it really had happened. I kicked in the direction of my divers, whose eyes were still wide from the encounter, only to have them signal me to stop and turn around. Until this moment, the whole experience had been phenomenal, but I could explain it. Now, the moment turned magical. I turned and saw her slowly gliding toward me. With barely an effort, she approached me and stopped, her wing just touching my head. I looked into her round, dark eye, and she looked deeply into me. I felt a rush of something that so overpowered me, I have yet to find the words to describe it, except a warm and loving flow of energy from her into me.
She stayed with me for a moment. I don't know if it was a second or an hour. Then, as sweetly as she came back, she lifted her wing over my head and was gone. A manta thank-you. I hung in midwater, using the safety-stop excuse, and tried to make sense of what I had experienced. Eventually, collecting myself, I surfaced and was greeted by an ecstatic group of divers and a curious captain. They all gave me time to get my heart started and to begin to breathe. Sadly, I have not seen her since that day, and I am still looking.
For the longest time, though my wetsuit was tattered and torn, I would not change it because I thought she wouldn't recognize me. I call to every manta I see, and they almost always acknowledge me in some way. One day, though, it will be her. She'll hear me and pause, remembering the giant cleaner that she trusted to relieve her pain, and she'll come. At least that is how it happens in my dreams.

© 2006 *Hannelore* All Rights Reserved, No reprinting or publishing without Written Consent of the author

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Dogs Have Angels Too
A valuable tip in this story for all dog lovers!

There are certain experiences we have in our lives that earn a special place in our hearts.  This story did not start out that way.

I have a cherished pet, Caspar, a dalmation, who was being taken care of by a friend, while my daughter and I were out of town.

Friday started out as a beautiful day, the first sunshine we had in 27 days.  My friend and her daughter took Caspar for a walk in Bridgman Park, North Vancouver.  The trails branch off in many directions and lead into the Seymour Watershed, Lynn Headwaters, Lynn Canyon Park, and off into the mountains. There are wonderful trails and it is a dog lover’s paradise.  At approximately 2pm Caspar decided to join a group of other dogs, and before long disappeared and could not be found.  My friend and her daughter frantically walked up and down the trails calling Caspar, and asking everyone they met if they saw a dalmation.  My daughter and I arrived just before 5pm and it was already getting dark.  My friend was still searching when I called her on her cell phone and got the news, Caspar was still missing.  He was lost once before, in another park where he panicked, ran back and forth, out onto the roads and back into the woods.  Caspar has absolutely no traffic sense, so I was really concerned, especially as Highway 1 crosses over one of the trails nearby. And, he gets cold at the best of times as he does not have a thick coat.

I called my son and my sister who drove up and down the streets to see if he had left the park.  My friends and daughter and I continued walking up and down the trails. We asked everyone we met if they had seen him.  It was now quite dark, and no one was left on the trails to ask. After some time, we came upon a man walking his dog, in the darkness, and he gave us an amazing piece of information.  He shared with us that he had recently acquired a dog from the pound and lost him on a deserted beach. It was dark and he had to leave.  He left his hat on the beach and when he returned the next morning; his dog was sitting next to his hat. He suggested I leave something with my scent on it.  I wondered what I could leave.  I had a scarf – or I could leave my socks, then I remembered I had his blanket in my car. We walked back to the car, which was in the parking lot where Caspar began his walk.  I got his blanket from the car and left it on the bench of a picnic table which was under cover.  It was cold, dark and late, and the others left for home.  My son and I, with flashlights, kept walking the trails, calling out for him, until approximately 10:00PM. We finally decided to end our search and continue in the morning.   

Needless to say, I did not get a lot of sleep that night.  I was grateful it was not raining.  In fact it was the day that would have broken our record for the most days of rain in a row.

I prayed for my guides and angels to protect him.  I also called on my father, who passed on in 2001, asking him to look after Caspar and bring him safely home to me.  My father and I were very close, and I often feel his energy around me. Dad was a smoker and often after his death, I would smell cigarette smoke when there was no one around.  It would happen when I was alone, in my home or somewhere outdoors where there was no one else in sight. I noticed, when I was walking the trails looking for Caspar, I would often smell cigarette smoke and again during the evening, when I found it difficult to get to sleep.

I was wide awake at 5AM and it was still very dark. I printed a number of ‘Lost Dog’ posters with Caspar’s picture and our telephone number, slipped them into Ziploc baggies to keep them dry, ready to tack up wherever possible.  I waited for daylight, drove by my sisters, left some of the posters with her to distribute, and went to the park.

I arrived at the park just before 8am – and there he was!!!  Standing right next to his blanket!  I was surprised because he was so calm, not disheveled, and he looked as though I left him just moments before.  As soon as he saw me drive up, he ran to the car.  I jumped out and we hugged each other, both extremely happy and relieved.

If the blanket was not there, Caspar would have kept running back and forth looking for me. I had never thought of that idea!  What a valuable tip!  I have such gratitude for the man we met and wonder if he was guided by an angel, possibly my father, to help us find Caspar.  (Or, maybe he was an angel)  Thank you!!!

And, thank you Dad, for as I am writing this I keep getting whiffs of cigarette smoke!

Little did I know this experience with my pet, Caspar would now end up in my book!

© 2006 *Hannelore* All Rights Reserved, No reprinting or publishing without Written Consent of the author

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Rescue of "Lucky" The Humpback Whale
“I always thought I would touch a whale, but not with a knife in my hand”. 

Photo by Cynde Bierman-McGinnis

These were the first words James Moskito shared with me as we spoke on the phone.  I just read an article in the paper about a rescue of a humpback whale off the coast of San Francisco.  After a little research, I was on the phone with James, as he shared this most amazing story.  The following is a transcript of that recording:

“My girlfriend Holly and I got a call from Mick, the captain of ‘Superfish’.  Mick got the call from a crab boat; ‘Primetime’ who were checking their crab pots and saw a whale thrashing about entangled in the traps.  Once we received authorization from the Marine Mammal Center, 3 other divers, Tim Young, Jason Russey and Ted Vivian and I were on our way.  We left Emeryville and picked up a Zodiac. 

The Whale, a mature female humpback, was breathing on the surface, blowing every few minutes, spouting.  We loaded the Zodiac to get a closer look to see what was going on.  Once we got out there, the whale wasn’t moving much and we really couldn’t do much with the lines. She appeared lethargic and none responsive.

Me and another diver, Tim, jumped in the water to check out the whale.  We approached her with caution, not wanting to stress her out any more than she already was, and snorkeled around.  This was the first opportunity I had to get next to it.  There was only about 10 feet visibility in the water and I’m looking above the surface and I see her there, I put my head back down in the water and she’s not.”

I asked James why the water was so murky.  He replied, “California water is normally murky as there is a lot of upwelling which causes a lot of nutrients to hit the surface.  When it does this, the sun hits it and causes a lot of algae to grow, turning the water green which in turn feeds a lot of krill and everything else, creating a lot of life.  They don’t get the kind of visibility that is experienced in places like Hawaii.  An average day is about 15 feet visibility”.

James continued with his story:  “I then start swimming closer toward her and the first thing I see is this big pectoral fin, it’s bigger than me.  I’m just looking at it and thinking, okay here’s the fin. I look up again its fine and put my head under the water and it’s like looking through a puddle of mud.

Upon further inspection, I found that the right side of the whale had ropes entangled around it.  Tim and I swam around to the other side of the whale and noticed more ropes tangled around her and a rope going through her mouth. There were also about 20 to 30 individual commercial nylon lines entangling her.    We floated to the surface and talked about how she was pretty badly tied up and at that point we noticed that she had another rope going across her top that was dug in about one and a half inches into her blubber.  There was an oily slick on the surface surrounding her, caused by the exposed blubber.  We noticed these ropes were wrapped around her really tight which was why she wasn’t moving much and not going under.  At this point we hadn’t seen her tail.  We went back to the Zodiac and talked to the staff of the Marine Mammal Center and let them know what was going on.  I told them that I really needed to see her tail to make an accurate assessment of the situation.  So we grabbed some scuba tanks off the boat and dove down next to the tail and found out this thing was pretty much hogtied, from pectoral fins to the tail, it was synched up nice and tight, trapping her in a hunched position.  All wrapped up around the tail was about a dozen crab traps and lines.  At that point we looked at each other under the water and signaled to go up.  We were up above the water and said “Wow!”  I said; “man there’s no way we’re going to get all these ropes off, it’s going to be impossible”.  Just thinking that at some point the whales going to start going berserk and just being next to a whale that big, that may be going berserk is just not a smart thing to do!

We went back to the little Zodiac and told them what we saw and they opted to get some more equipment from the bigger boat.  They headed back, while Tim and I stayed in the water and looked over the whale some more.  They brought out two more divers, Jason and Ted, to help us.  At that point the four of us decided that the best thing to do would be to start cutting the lines off, starting with the front pectoral fins and the line off the top and into the mouth. So we eased gently, slowly, getting closer to the whale.  We got right up close to her and started cutting lines.  We started with the left pectoral fin, cutting one line away.  Tim quickly swam under the whale, freed one rope that was really tight and snug, digging into the whale.  He freed that one and I had an opportunity to cut another one as I climbed across the top of the whale, which was the one that was dug in about an inch and a half.  So we got the front pectoral fins clear and we got the rope off the top of the whale.  At the corner, right at the pectoral fin, there was one spot where I could stick my knife between the rope and the whale.  I thought, well I’m here right now, and if I don’t do this right now, I may not get another chance.  The whale was so co-operative.  I don’t know if it was just being co-operative or if it was totally exhausted from being tied up with all this weight.  Crab traps weigh a lot.  So, I was able to cut that line off.  After that, we dove down to the tail.  I was thinking, okay this is it, this is where it gets really fun.  I started cutting the lines off the tail; the other divers were pulling ropes off the rest of the fins and trying to pull ropes out of its mouth.  I cut about 20 lines off the tail, which were completely wrapped around in huge knots. It was a huge mess.  Every time I cut, the weight of the crab traps would switch to a different line and fall down slightly and then another rope would be tight. I was hoping with every rope that I cut it would be the last cut I would have to make and they would all fall away.  But it never seemed to be the case.  Every time I’d cut one, it would mean I’d have to cut another one, then another and another.  Finally I was one line away, cut it and looked down as the crab traps fell.  It was so surreal as I watched the buoys on the crab traps disappear into the abyss.  Then I was thinking; this is when the whale is going to hit me with her tail.  It went up a little bit away from me, then it came back down and it stopped, like the whale knew I wasn’t done cutting.  I got the weight off, but I wasn’t done cutting.  Then I noticed there were other ropes cutting really deep into the blubber around the tail.  I would stick my knife between the rope and blubber and started cutting away.  I had to do four major cuts there, and the whole time I was thinking, like this whale is being sooooo nice.  I couldn’t believe how co-operative she was being.  With every cut I was thinking – wow this is amazing that she is allowing me to do this.  I was holding onto the whale and struggling to pull and get leverage, actually pushing against the whale and trying to get the ropes off.  I was thinking; this doesn’t happen!  The whale has got to know we’re trying to help.  I really felt she knew and was trying to be co-operative with us.  So, pulling that last rope and having it clear, I brought it to the surface.  I was absolutely ecstatic.  I came to the surface, my girlfriend heard me from the boat, as I just yelled, YAHOO!  The other divers surfaced, we were all shouting out in joy!  It was a very joyous moment.

I started swimming back to the Zodiac and at that point the whale came right up to me, and I was thinking, oh God, here it is!  This is the revenge time.  It stopped right in front of me and this is when I really sensed it was thanking me.  It stopped right in front of me, gave me a good look and slowly went right by me and went to the next diver and did the same thing.  It went to each diver, eyed each one of us really good.  After that, it came back again, only this time it came underneath us and lifted us up and out of the water.  It was an amazing thing.  You would see the whale going under the water, and the visibility is not that good, and we’d think – Where did it go?!  Where did it go?! Where did it go?! And all of a sudden we’re going up in the air, and we’re going WHOA!  It’s underneath me!  It was very similar to having a happy dog greet you at a house.  But you’re looking at a fifty foot animal doing the nudging!  It was amazing!  While in the water, we all felt she was displaying her gratefulness, thanking us for cutting her free.

 At that time, Jason, one of the divers, got hold of the rope that was still hanging out of her mouth.  He pulled it more and more and he got about five feet of it out of her mouth.  So we said, okay one more cut and we’ll try to pull this rope out.  So I dove down with the whale, which is swimming in circles now, and I’m holding onto the rope that’s right by its mouth.  This particular line dug in on the sides of her mouth.  I had one hand on the whale and one hand on the rope.  So here I am, my hands are next to the whale and the whale swimming with me under the water and I’m being dragged around holding on onto the rope.  At this time, it was a very special moment, because where the mouth and eye is, is very close.  It’s an arms length away, which just happens to be my arms length holding out the rope, the eye was just right below.  As I look down towards my chest, there is its eye looking right back at me, winking at me.  This whale and I had a profound bonding moment on my part that I will never forget.  It would blink; look at me and looked me over, up and down, focusing on me. And I’m looking at it, talking to it, “Just one last cut, I want this rope, let me get this rope and let me do one more cut, then your free”.  I’m telling it; “don’t get into any more crab traps.  Ha, Ha, Ha.  Be good.”  So, I started cutting the rope and I was able to cut it.  At that moment she sung out a deep call which vibrated through my chest cavity and then she was free.  It started swimming around us again, like your family pet dog would just run around your legs when it’s happy to see you.” 

As Holly Drouillard, James girlfriend, reported:  “All on the boat observed this ballet between whale and diver for about 10 or 15 minutes before the divers were called back to the boat.  The entire ride back to the dock was filled with shared accounts of how each individual experienced the rescue.  Large ear-to-ear smiles were worn by all.  In speaking to the volunteers from the Marine Mammal Center, this was the first recorded account in their history on the Pacific Coast of a successful rescue of an entangled whale.  We all felt like heroes, even those of us who did not enter the water, we all played a part in her rescue.  Only perfect weather conditions, a perfect team of divers, volunteers and a perfect whale could have given us the most awe-inspiring experience of a lifetime.” 

The whale has been named “Lucky”.

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by Hannelore

I find words cannot describe the over-whelming love  and joy of the whole dolphin connection.  I decided to stay in Hawaii for a total of five weeks, intending to use this time to write my book.  So, after the retreat I enjoyed ‘playing’ with a few of the people that stayed on and we had a wonderful time.  We did lots of hiking, swimming, exploring the island, and getting to know each other.  A couple of us even experienced the thrill of being in the ocean next to a whale and its baby.  Jan and I were quite a ways out in the water, feeling a little nervous, as we knew they were very close to us.  We saw the baby swim about 30 feet below us and did not know where the mother would be – other than right near us somewhere.  She didn’t come up next to us, but we did see her about 100 yards or so away.  The whole experience was so exciting. 

During the retreat, Launie, Melanie, Dolphin Dave and myself were out in the bay with another Mother whale (humpbacks) and its baby, and saw the mother underwater – again about 30 feet in front of us.  Launie and Melanie were in the kayak while David and I were swimming.  The water was a little murky so we did not get a clear view, but nonetheless, there she was and there we were out in the ocean.  We were thrilled when the mother lifted her calf up out of the water on her nose.  Mother whales will frequently do this when their very young calves are tired.  It was as though she wanted to show off her baby.

  My dream is to swim with the whales as I have experienced with the dolphins.  A fellow I met shared his experience.  He was swimming in the ocean and taking pictures of a newly born baby when he felt what he thought was his friend pushing him closer to the baby.  Only, he realized it was not his friend, it was the mother, and he found himself between the mother and its baby.  The love he felt was overwhelming.  He said he could not speak for about a month after.  He shared – “To swim with the dolphins is like playing and swimming with the angels – to swim with the whales is like swimming with God.”

I planned to camp for a couple of weeks, so I set up my tent and settled into my new and temporary home, a campsite right on the sand and on the beach. This is one of the beaches we go to during the retreat and one of the bays that the dolphins and whales frequent.  I spent hours relaxing in the sun, swimming with the dolphins, turtles and the many colourful variety of fish, and proceeded to write and work on my book. 

There are many wild and abandoned cats in Hawaii and many at the beach.  I bought a large bag of cat food and my site soon became a cat haven and I became known as the cat lady.  Not to mention that I was also feeding the mongoose that also frequents the area.  After a couple of days I noticed a very small straggly white cat with a black patch over one eye and a short cropped tail.  She stood out from the others and instantly I went to her and said, “You’re not a wild cat.  Where did you come from?”  Unlike the other cats that would scurry off, she came up and rubbed herself against me.  We instantly fell in love with each other.  She was so hungry and thin.  I bought tins of tuna and loved spoiling her.  She never left my side.  She would follow me on the beach and sit at the front of my tent when I went for a swim or into town to shop.  She would sleep with me at night and tap the zipper at my tent to let me know when she wanted out and back in.  One evening she went out and did not come right back. (I was soon to find out why!)

I continued writing, using my book light to see.  It does get dark early.  The sun sets at around 6:15 and it becomes instantly very dark, so not a lot to do but relax, write, and read.  At approximately 3 a.m. I could hear people talking and laughing outside my tent.  I wondered what my neighbours were doing up at that hour so I went out to investigate.  As I got out of my bed I realized the bottom of my tent was covered in water.  And so were my books and notes I had been working on.  I can’t believe I slept through it, but there were huge wave surges that had washed up and right into our tents.  In fact the tent that was just 15 feet away from me had a wave that washed over the couple sleeping in their tent.  When they tried to get out of their tent, they couldn’t get the zipper open because the opening was buried under the sand.  They could hear the next wave coming in and didn’t know what to expect and were frightened to say the least! 

No wonder Mahana did not return!  So, there we were, at 3 in the morning watching these massive waves washing up the beach.  Later that morning things had calmed down and it was another beautiful hot sunny day in paradise, only, the beach was littered with sleeping bags, tents, clothing etc. all drying off.  I also had all my notes for my book pegged on my cloths line drying out. 

There are many forms of meditation, and I find I can sit for hours enjoying the calming effect of watching the ocean waves continuously roll in and out to sea.  Or just strolling slowly along the beach, looking at all the treasures the sea washes up.  And listening to the tropical birds and the cacophony of sounds offered in this paradise.  On one of my outings, I found a magical oasis.  A white sandy beach speckled with the many coral and shells the waves brought in. I was feeling such peace and joy.   I sat under a beautiful shade tree being serenaded by a multitude of tropical birds and looked out to sea enjoying the stark contrast of the black lava reaching out into the ocean against the white sand and the turquoise blues and greens of the water.  There was a delightful pond with a white sand bottom set amongst the black lava with the open ocean crashing her waves up over the lava, only to be dispersed by the wall of lava protecting the pond.  There was no one else for as far as the eye could see.  The pond was only chest deep and large enough to float about.  This was a welcome treat after my long walk along the beach as the water was too rough to enter at any other location.  As I sat at this beautiful sanctuary feeling so blessed, a couple of humpback whales, a mother and her baby, surfaced not more than 100 yards from shore.  To watch these great beings move so gracefully and playfully brought me a sense of humbleness and gratitude.  It was as though she was joyfully showing off her baby, and like any other mother, lovingly guiding it through it first experiences.

Once I found this place, I returned often.  One day I noticed a Hawaiian mother and her two small children playing in the pond.  It felt like I had gone back in time.  She looked like she stepped out of an old Hawaiian magazine – a beautiful young Hawaiian woman and her children were pure laughter and innocence.  She invited me to join her and I became “Aunty” to her children.  We played together all afternoon.  Her daughter’s name was “Mahana” meaning ‘loving warmth’ this became the name of my white kitty – MAHANA.

I was looking for a home for Mahana.  People would come up to me on the beach, saying “How great, you have your cat with you!”  And they would be surprised that we only just met each other on the beach.  It was like we were meant to be together.  When I checked my flight, Aloha airlines did not allow pets to travel.  Air Canada would take her in cargo, but I was leaving on a Wednesday and they were leaving on Saturday.  Also, she would have to remain in her cage for almost 12 hours and possibly overnight.  And…. she was pregnant!  Not to mention, I would be home for three weeks and then off to Calgary for two weeks.  I learned a lot about people as I was trying to find her a home.  Some understood and did what they could to pass on the word – try to find a home for a cat on an island overrun with wild cats!  Some genuinely would have loved to take her but had several cats already.  Others kindly said no.  Some thought I was crazy to even be concerned and felt I should just leave her on the beach (not thinking that she, let alone her babies would survive the mongoose). And others supposedly open and on their spiritual path, not being able to say no, reacted in defense, saying “Why are you laying this on me?”  It really was an eye opener into peoples’ true nature.  The good news is that Susan, a woman who travels to Hawaii often, found a woman by the name of Julie, who was willing to take her in – only not if she were to remain pregnant. 

The story does not end here.  I made an appointment with a reputable vet for the following Tuesday (the day before my flight home).  Well, on Thursday we were hit with a massive tropical storm.  The morning was like any other, the sun was shining and people were enjoying the beach.  The waves were rough, but the dolphins were there.  It took me a very long time to get through the waves and past the break so that I could swim to the dolphins.  But it seemed even past the break the water was really rough.  It did not feel right so I decided to head back to shore.  Once back on the beach the wind picked up and it felt like we were being sand blasted.  It became clear that I needed to break camp and quickly.  Several people helped me literally ‘throw’ all my stuff into the car.  Trees were coming down and the beach soon became deserted.  Mahana jumped into the car with me.  I had nowhere to take her, and my car was crammed with my stuff all over the place.  I drove up the long winding road from the beach to the highway where I could get phone reception for my cell phone.  I called everyone I knew to call, but could not get a hold of or find anyone to take her to.  I had several offers of places for me to stay, but ones that could not allow her to come.  I could not keep her in my car, as I had to go through my stuff to find things and did not want her to escape somewhere that she was not familiar with.  At least she was familiar with the beach.  I drove back down to the beach, having to avoid fallen branches and trees, and it broke my heart to nudge her out of the car and leave her there in the storm!  And, to top that off, I had run out of cat food that morning.   When I got to Joseph and Katherine’s place and was unloading the car, Sheoli – one of the people I hire to swim assist – was just leaving and offered her laundry room for Mahana to stay.
I went to the store and picked up another large bag of cat food, and just as the sun was setting went back to the beach.  The road was almost impassible, fallen trees and debris everywhere.  It was dark by the time I arrived and we were experiencing a tremendous downpour with lots of lightening and thunder.  I really did not know if I would find her.  As I pulled into the deserted parking lot, my headlights shining down the beach, there she was, her little bright white self running up to my car.  I opened the door and she jumped up into my lap.  I left some cat food for the other cats and I took Mahana to Sheoli’s.  I sat with her in the laundry room for a couple of hours, holding her in my lap and we both just gazed into each other’s eyes.  The love I felt, we felt, was amazing.

Monday, I was asked to do an interview on the local radio about the dolphin retreat.  The interview was for 2 hours! Should you want to listen to it Click Here

I went to the Tuesday appointment with the Vet.  The first thing to be done was to have her tested for feline leukemia and aids. (Which is common on the island)  That was the longest 15 minutes I feel I have ever spent.  Isn’t it interesting how quickly time can fly – yet each minute, waiting to find out if I was to face having her put to sleep, seemed like an eternity.  The good news, she was okay.  Then, as much as I did not want to, her only hope was to have her babies aborted and to have her fixed.  This happened Tuesday morning, I picked her up in the afternoon and took her to her new home Tuesday evening.  I visited with her Wednesday morning and got my flight back home Wednesday afternoon.   I have kept in touch with the woman who took her in.  What is interesting is that this woman has two other male cats, one of which looks like an identical twin that she found abandoned not far from where I found Mahana.  I am happy to report that Mahana has settled into her new home, she is much loved and has a new name – Patches.

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