Hi, it's Forrest. Recently I was able to go to Hawaii with my family on a working vacation. I went along with my family, Mum, Pops, Austin and his girlfriend Jeanne. We were on the Big Island at Dolphin Quest (DQ) and we spent time there with the crew. I also hiked the Volcano of which I had fallen down the slope of on our previous trip sustaining minor injuries. It felt great to conquer it this time without the tumble down towards the lava rocks.
One of the dolphins at DQ is named Nahele, which means “forest” in Hawaiian - after me. I thought this was an amazing thing to do, for someone to give me such a large shout out in the islands language. I first met him two years ago in person and it was wonderful to see him again on this trip. One of my favorite activities was spending time on the docks with the dolphins and helping with Dolphin Quest group activities. I held dolphins during group programs, I also was a photographer for some of the dolphin encounters, and I helped behind the desk.
My service dog Toliver and I got to do a recreation of one of the Baywatch scenes where they run down the beach, but we had a Dolphin, Pele, following along with us, making it even better than Baywatch.
One of the most special parts of this trip is that I was finally able to go under the water and scuba dive again – twice! We got to go in with the dolphins in the lagoon. It was cool to see what they do while under water and I got to send them some signals, which made me feel like I was a dolphin myself, communicating among them. We also went diving in the open water off of a boat. When I was first injured, my mum used to sit beside my bed for hours and talk about scuba diving, breathing, the fish and other ocean life that you see when diving. She would promise me over and over that I would get to do it again someday. And, on this trip she was finally able to fulfill that promise to me. I had dreamt about getting back under the water for so long and it felt phenomenal to be able to do it. Now I have to decide what dream I’m looking forward to after this experience.
I want to give a special shout out to all of the individuals that helped me along the way during my Hawaii trip, especially Blue Wilderness Adventures Diving and the owner/master diver Denise. Also, thank you to Dave Prutow for the underwater photographs!
Please enjoy the below photos and video of Toliver, myself and the dolphins!
Video here: https://youtu.be/P3Mr-t7ahT8
|Mum and Pops doing dolphin ultrasound exam|
|First snorkeling adventure|
|Off to hike volcano Puu Huluhulu|
|At the summit of the volcano|
|Coming down from the peak - we did not take the easy path!|
|Two tank dive with Blue Wilderness Adventures|
|Mum and Pops|
|White tip reef shark in a cavern|
|Scuba diving again - finally! With a spotted eagle ray.|
|Green sea turtle cleaning station - with yellow and black Tangs|
|Mum, Austin, Me, Jeanne and Pops|
|Shadowing the photographer during a dolphin encounter at DQ|
|Dive, dive, dive!!!|