Learn to develop into a mermaid in your subsequent trip

Editor’s observe: PADI supplied TPG’s Tarah Chieffi with complimentary entry to the licensed mermaid retreat. The opinions expressed under are totally her personal and weren’t topic to evaluation by any entity.

“Being a mermaid is exhausting!”

These phrases escaped my lips greater than as soon as throughout my weekend-long retreat with Mermaid Freedive, led by PADI Mermaid Teacher and PADI AmbassaDiver Brandee Anthony. Do not get me flawed, I had carried out my analysis (and the prerequisite e-learning programs). Nonetheless, nothing may have ready me for the way a lot can be required of me bodily, mentally and emotionally to develop into an authorized mermaid.

Sure, I mentioned “licensed mermaid.” The certifications I earned on the finish of the retreat had been developed by the Skilled Affiliation of Diving Instructors, one of many world’s foremost diver schooling and coaching associations. In affiliation with PADI, Mermaid Freedive presents quite a lot of certifications and experiences that swimmers of all talents can join.

If you’re able to commerce your human legs for a mermaid tail and fin, here is how one can develop into a mermaid, too.

Ariel wished legs; I wished a tail and fins


I have been fascinated by mermaids since Disney’s animated model of “The Little Mermaid” launched in 1989. Eight-year-old me was equal components mesmerized by and envious of Ariel’s capability to stay below the ocean. I’ve all the time felt at house when I’m close to water. The soothing, rhythmic sound of the waves rolling in or the glass-like floor of a relaxed lake brings a way of peace to an in any other case loud and chaotic existence.

To me, the underwater world is a spot of magnificence, tranquility and marvel. Once I was offered with the chance to discover that atmosphere in a very new means, I instantly agreed.

After registering for my four-day, three-night Mermaid Freedive retreat, I acquired a welcome packet detailing the tools I would want and the schedule for the weekend. Don’t fret if you happen to do not already personal a snorkel and masks or a mermaid tail: You possibly can hire every thing you want from the instructors.

Associated: 12 of one of the best far-flung dive and snorkel spots so as to add to your bucket listing

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I additionally needed to full the net portion of every certification I had signed up for earlier than I arrived for the retreat. Every retreat is completely different, however the one I attended included choices for PADI Freediver, PADI Mermaid and PADI Superior Mermaid certifications. The e-learnings included info on security, correct method and tools; in addition they defined the physiology of underwater diving and the right way to work together with the underwater world in a means that’s respectful and accountable.

I selected this specific retreat as a result of it was held in a few of North Florida’s attractive pure springs. I used to be excited concerning the alternative to see wildlife and be taught to develop into a mermaid in a pure setting.

Turning into a mermaid is difficult however rewarding


As I used to be driving from the airport to the retreat location, I used to be a bundle of nerves. As a journey author, I’m no stranger to being in new locations or conditions. Nonetheless, I had by no means carried out something fairly like this.

I knew from the data I acquired after signing up that I might spend an excellent portion of the weekend within the water with the three instructors and the 9 different retreat attendees. I think about myself a reasonably energetic particular person and a reliable swimmer, however I had no thought how these expertise would translate to the world of mermaiding. I used to be anxious and excited to get the weekend began and discover out.

Once I arrived on the retreat home we might all share for the weekend, I used to be interested in what made different individuals need to go on a mermaid retreat. For a few of us, myself included, it was a lifelong fascination with mermaids. Others had been exploring mermaiding as a profession path. The retreat supplied them the chance to earn an official certification that many aquariums, motels and leisure firms require; it additionally gave them the possibility to get skilled pictures and movies they might use to construct their model.

All of us had our personal purpose for being there, however we shared a aim of eager to develop into mermaids. That widespread aim immediately made us one another’s cheerleaders, confidants and help system for the journey we had been about to embark upon.


Chances are you’ll assume a weekend at “mermaid camp” is spent flipping your hair a la Ariel and laughing the day away together with your mermaid buddies. You would be flawed. OK, perhaps we did do these issues, however we additionally spent hours equipped within the wetsuits, weight belts, masks, snorkels and bi-fins that freedivers put on. In reality, most of our first day within the water was spent on PADI Fundamental Freediver coaching.

We needed to reveal that we may help one other diver, full a dynamic apnea (swimming underwater whereas holding your breath) for 25 meters (80 toes) and a static apnea (holding your breath whereas staying nonetheless) of 90 seconds. Earlier than we had been examined on any of these items, we practiced breath-hold strategies and did some trial runs to get comfy with every ability.

As soon as we had accomplished every thing required for the essential freediver course, we moved on to mermaiding. We saved the wetsuits however traded our bi-fins for a monofin. We honed our mermaid diving method and realized varied expertise like again gliding, underwater turning and a backward somersault flip.

It took me a number of makes an attempt to finish a few of these expertise. I failed twice to carry my breath for 90 seconds as a result of every thing I might realized till that time was to “quit” the second I wanted to breathe. By the freediver course, I realized the right way to do a correct “breathe up” earlier than trying a breath maintain and which sensations are completely regular.

That night, we sat or lay in the lounge with our masks on and tried the static breath maintain once more. This time, I knew what my physique may do due to every thing else I had already achieved that day. It wasn’t simple, however I efficiently held my breath for 90 seconds. I did it twice, in actual fact, to verify the primary time wasn’t a fluke.

I went to mattress feeling like I may obtain something. However on the identical time, I knew the subsequent day would current a wholly new set of challenges. I am unable to consider one other time I have been up to now exterior my consolation zone, however I knew the one path I may go was ahead if I wished to be a full-fledged mermaid.


The following day began a lot the identical as earlier than however at a special, and equally lovely, freshwater spring. We suited up and jumped within the water for one more day of underwater enjoyable. In the present day’s freediving session was all about depth. Deeper dives require you to equalize your ears to alleviate the build-up of stress. This turned out to be a battle for me. The aim was 10 meters (30 toes), and I solely obtained about midway there earlier than needing to return to the floor.

It could have been simple to view this as a failure, however our instructors had been so caring and supportive that I did not really feel that means in any respect. They jogged my memory that I had already come up to now over the weekend and that 15 toes is 15 toes deeper than I had ever dived earlier than. They instilled in me — in all of us — a way of confidence that I hope to hold with me out and in of the water.

Studying to flip my fins


On the ultimate day of the retreat, we obtained to placed on our mermaid tails and play. Most of us had photoshoots within the morning. Then, we had time to swim as a bunch. We tried out a few of our new expertise and swam for hours. The sensation of lastly turning into a mermaid was all of the extra rewarding due to the arduous work we had put in beforehand.

The weekend might have been coming to an finish, however my time as a mermaid was solely starting. I felt reworked as I drove again to the airport for my return flight house. I nonetheless did not really feel fairly as swish as I could look within the pictures. Nonetheless, I did really feel comfy and assured within the water and excited to proceed my mermaid journey.

Since returning house, I’ve continued to hone my expertise within the water, and I’ve already acquired a small assortment of my very own diving gear. I do not personal a mermaid tail (but), however I do have a monofin — which can get a number of the members of my native YMCA enthusiastic about mermaiding, too.

My new life as a mermaid


Whereas extremely difficult, my journey to turning into a mermaid was additionally one of the vital enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life. I pushed myself past limits that I now know by no means existed within the first place. I gained a brand new degree of braveness and happiness underwater. I realized that I’m sturdy sufficient to perform something I set my thoughts to. I realized these classes within the water, however I’ll carry them with me even on land.

Most significantly, I realized that mermaids are actual. Do not consider me? I’ve the certification card to show it.

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