Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
This is the first thing I spot when I step on the deck of the boat. A mermaid's tail, lying there between two diving bags.
A mermaid tail on the bridge
I bend down to feel the object. It is soft and massive at the same time. The tail is yellow and blue, made of silicone, zebra and bristling with small fins. I lift the tail a little. It weighs. I will learn later that the tail is 12 kg!
"You share your cabin with Cindy, it's hers, the mermaid's tail", I learn. Phil Simhawho welcomes me on board l'Exocetmoored in the marina of Hurghada, Egypt. Professional underwater photographer, diving and snorkeling instructor, he is the instigator of this one week diving cruise in the Red Sea.
He does not tell me more. It is late, more than midnight. My cabin mate, who arrived earlier in the day, is already asleep. I fight with the door handle, sneak to my bunk as quietly as possible. I would hate to wake up a mermaid... ☺️ We'll meet the next day!
Back to the Red Sea
That's right. In this month of October 2016, here I am in Egypt for a "photo and freediving" thematic diving cruise. With a mermaid on board, so. But I didn't know that when I made my reservation, at the last minute, learning that there was one last place available a few days before the departure...
As for the rest, I knew pretty much what to expect: transparent water at 28°C, only four-five hours flight from Paris. The idea of being surrounded by photographers like me and the presence of freediving friends (Rémy and Audrey from Blue Addiction) have finished convincing me!
In addition, the Red Sea, I do not know very well. My only dives there, before this new trip, went back to November 2011 (it was also with photographers, those of the Forum of the photo-sub).
I know, I am very late in my stories, I have not finished telling my dives of 2016 in Indonesia (Komodo and Raja Ampat in July, Triton Bay in March). The posts to come by the end of the year will be a jumble of Red Sea and Indonesia, but never mind the chronology! It's not every day that you get the chance to photograph and film a mermaid underwater. I can't resist to show you some pictures... 😉
Siren, it's a job
The mermaiding or mermaiding, is a new and fashionable sport leisure, and also a profession. Funny coincidence, my newspaper had just dedicated a nice portrait to this subject. to a professional sirenten days before I met Cindy !
Mermaiding consists of freediving with your legs tucked into a fish tail - free of charge, of course. Cindy is Swiss, she is in her thirties and gives courses in mermaiding to adults and children in Neuchâtel (more info on its website Métisphère). She played the models in the Red Sea for us photographers. I'll let you discover what it's like, with the little video below:
It's really sporty, the mermaiding. I was very impressed with Cindy's performance. Diving several meters deep on one breath, without a mask, eyes wide open, and undulating gracefully with a 12 kilo silicone tail while keeping a smile on your face, it takes a lot of training. Ariel can go and get dressed.
How does one get into mermaiding? By passion. And by a taste for challenge, too, I think. Cindy has always loved water and she is a high level sportswoman: acrobatic rock, swimming, apnea... As an engineer, she decided to change her life: "I wanted to devote myself to activities that corresponded more to my aspirations", she explains. She is now a naturopath, coach and mermaid! A hell of a girl...
Unlike all of us on the boat, she had never breathed in a regulator (the thing that divers have in their mouths that makes bubbles): so she took advantage of the cruise to do her first scuba dive! And she even saw sharks. Disgusting, beginners' luck... 😁