Diver Meets Fish With The Cutest Smile And Visits Him Every Single Day

Those little teeth ❤️️

As a freediver and underwater photographer in Hawaii, Yuki Nakano swims with amazing sea life every day — from playful pods of dolphins to peaceful sea turtles.

She usually tries to keep her distance, but one friendly porcupine fish likes to get up-close and personal.

Porcupine fish smiles at diver

Nakano first met the spiny fish in February at a famous snorkeling point on Oahu. She immediately noticed that the adorable fish was suffering from an injury to his right eye. The wound appeared to be recent, and the fish was having trouble swimming straight, but didn’t seem bothered by the diver’s presence.

“When I first saw him, I was wondering why he was staying in the same place,” Nakano told The Dodo, “Even though he would normally run away.”

Nakano returned day after day to visit the injured fish, and each time she spotted him in the same place.

Though the fish’s vision was impaired, he seemed to recognize the diver, greeting her with a toothy smile.

Smiling porcupine fish

Then in March, Nakano arrived for her date with the porcupine fish, and the little guy was nowhere to be found. Nakano was worried something had happened to the fish, but held out hope that one day they would meet again.

“I met him for days and he suddenly disappeared,” Nakano said. “I believed and waited to see him again.”


Three months later, Nakano was surprised to see the fish in the same place where they used to meet. 

“His eye wounds got a lot better and he started smiling,” Nakano said. “I was happy that he came back and I muttered with my heart, ‘Welcome back! I've been waiting for you.’”


Nakano has posted videos and photos of the smiling fish on social media, and the little puffer has developed quite a following. People love his positive “just keep swimming” attitude and his sweet grin.

“He makes everyone happy,” Nakano said. “I like to think he is now the most famous Hawaiian fish.”

To learn more about Yuki Nakano's dives, you can follow her on Instagram.