Four years ago, whilst sat around the BBQ in Gozo one of our annual freediving trips, the discussion turned to the subject of mermaids. We had been doing quite a lot of monofining on that trip, having just bought a few carbon monofins for the school and it became obvious that we had a couple of naturals on the payroll. On several occasions we would get out of the water and be inundated with questions from scuba divers and snorkelers, all remarking that they had to double take after seeing a mermaid glide past at 20m.
Over the past few years we have seen the interest in the mermaid craze sweep the world. Everytime we turned on the computer we would see mermaid pictures on facebook, instagram and twitter. Professional mermaids were becoming commonplace! A creative angle on freediving, a combination between theatrics and breath-hold.
Last year we went to Florida to do some freediving in the north Florida springs, home of the famous mermaid show at Weeki Wachee. These shows started 60 years ago and are still going strong, giving an incredible display of freediving/synchronised swimming/…. mermaiding! Its and incredible place with a rich history and heritage, a worthwhile visit for any freediver. The springs are only 20ft deep but are crystal clear so give a perfect stage for the mermaids underwater antics. This trip solidified our resolve, the UK needs a mermaid course.
The summer season went by and we started preparation for the UKs first mermaid course. We purchased a couple of mermaid tails and planned a practice sessions. The freediving and monofining element we knew we had down to a tee, but we did have to practice the posing part! After pool sessions and a very productive trip to Gozo we felt like we were ready to run a course.
The course itself is one day long. It comprises of a combination of freediving skills and mermaid skills, believe it or not but they are not one and the same. The mermaid tails are not as easy to use as freediving monofins. The bodysuit slows you down in the water as they have more drag and the fins are smaller than traditional monofins so they have less power. Freedivers are also focused on covering distance primarily, whilst mermaids need to be body conscious, spatially aware with excellent buoyancy control and the ability to look good without a mask!
We also know that photos are a huge element to the entire Mermaid experience, so on each course we take loads of snaps of the day with our cameras, all of which are given to the students free of charge. Although these are a good way to document the day they may not have the sheen that the students are looking for… after all we are freedivers not photographers. So! We have employed the talents of professional underwater photographer Al Scarlett, in order to take some truly glossy photos of the students. This has to come at an extra cost of course but with photos of that standard taken by Al, no-one could be disappointed.
So if you are interested in enrolling on the UKs first ever mermaid (or merman) course then get in touch asap. Spaces will be limited , but we can put on dates to cater for your needs if you have enough people interested.