Scuba diver’s extraordinary 30-year friendship with a fish

Japan’s Tateyama Bay has a remarkable tale to share, spanning nearly three decades—an enduring friendship between a local scuba diver and a fish. Hiroyuki Arakawa, a seasoned scuba diver, first crossed paths with Yoriko, an Asian sheepshead wrasse, while overseeing the construction of an underwater Shinto temple gate submerged 56 feet beneath the bay’s surface. This heartwarming story, reported by GoodNewsNetwork, unfolds against the backdrop of Arakawa’s lifelong love for diving.

Arakawa embarked on his diving journey at the age of 18, drawn to the solace and isolation that the underwater world offered. As he shared with Great Big Story, “Being in the water, you can be so isolated. It’s your own world. I like being in the deep waters.” Even at the age of 79 in 2021, his passion for diving remained undiminished, with his friendship with Yoriko standing out as a cherished highlight of his underwater adventures.

In a candid interview, Hiroyuki Arakawa shared the depth of his connection with Yoriko, saying, “I’d say we understand each other. Not that we talk to each other. I kissed her once. I’m the only person she’ll let do it. If you look closely, from the front, they look like they have a human face. When you look really close, you’ll think it looks like someone you know.”

During one of his dives, Arakawa discovered that Yoriko had suffered a serious mouth injury, yet she continued to seek him out, demonstrating the remarkable bond of trust and friendship that had developed between them.

Realizing that Yoriko might struggle to catch her own food due to her mouth injury, Arakawa displayed remarkable dedication. Over the course of the next 10 days, he hand-fed Yoriko, providing her with meat from crabs that he carefully opened near the temple gate. He reflected on this experience, saying, “I think anyone can get an animal’s attention by feeding them. But to touch or interact with them is harder to accomplish.”

Yoriko’s swift recovery from her injuries deepened their bond even further. Arakawa mused, “I’m not sure if it’s the nature of the kobudai or not. It’s probably because there is a sense of trust between us. I guess she knows that I saved her that I helped when she was badly injured. So for me to be able to do that, I am proud.” He added with heartfelt sincerity, “I have an amazing sense of accomplishment in my heart.”

Animals indeed have a remarkable capacity for forming strong bonds with humans. In yet another heartwarming story, which unfolded during the pandemic, a group of dolphins in Queensland, Australia, demonstrated their longing for human interaction. These dolphins started making appearances at a café, bearing gifts in their mouths. Their offerings included sea shells, coral, wood, and even a starfish. The team at Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding couldn’t help but notice and appreciate these gestures of connection from these friendly marine creatures.

The Barnacles Cafe team took to Facebook to express their amazement, writing, “The pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they’re missing the public interaction and attention.” The team also shared the array of gifts they had received from these sea creatures, with many of the offerings seemingly coming from a 29-year-old alpha male dolphin known as Mystique. According to reports from Australian outlet ABC, Mystique had a history of occasionally presenting tokens of appreciation to the feeders and visitors, but this heartwarming behavior notably intensified during the pandemic. It was as if these dolphins, like many, were seeking companionship and connection during a challenging time.

The volunteers working with the dolphins were equally astonished by their actions. Lyn McPherson, a volunteer, shared in an interview, “One male dolphin brings in objects on his rostrum or beak, and then he carefully presents them to us. What we have to do is give him a fish in return. We haven’t trained him, but he has trained us to do this.”

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