Sirens exist, the proof ... (Red Sea, Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)
Sirens exist, the proof ... (Red Sea, Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)

I met a mermaid

  Egypt: Red Sea - October 2016

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!

Some of them get into the water with a compressed air bottle, others with a mermaid tail...
Some of them get into the water with compressed air bottles, others with a mermaid tail... (Red Sea, cruise on theExocet, October 2016.)
Cindy drops her mermaid tail on the deck.
Cindy drops her mermaid tail on the deck (Red Sea, Exocet cruise, October 2016.)

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!

The cruise lasts six days and takes us to renowned dive sites in the Red Sea: Hurghada, Ras Mohammed, Brothers, Safaga ... (Egypt, October 2016)
The cruise lasts six days and takes us to famous dive sites in the Red Sea: Hurghada, Ras Mohammed and other sites in the North, Brothers Islands, Safaga... (Egypt, October 2016)

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... 😁

Here! A fishtail to distract the divers at the landing ... (Red Sea, October 2016)
Here! A fish tail to distract the divers at the landing... (Red Sea, October 2016)
Sirens exist, the proof ... (Red Sea, Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)
Sirens exist, the proof ... (Red Sea, Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)
Cindy Guyot, mermaid free in the waters of the Red Sea. (Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)
Cindy Guyot, mermaid free in the waters of the Red Sea. (Safaga, Egypt, October 2016)
Swimming with a fishtail: an impressive physical performance ... (Red Sea, October 2016)
Swimming with a fish-tail: an impressive physical performance (Red Sea, October 2016)
Freediving session in the middle of bubbles of scuba divers (Red Sea, October 2016)
Freediving session among the bubbles of the scuba divers (Red Sea, October 2016)


  Egypt: Red Sea - October 2016

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  1. Nice mermaid 🙂
    By the way, what did you think of your cruise? The number of boats on the spot in your first photo is a bit frightening. Not too many people underwater?

    By the way, how under the corals. I passed through Hurghada a good fifteen years ago and many had already sadly started to bleach.

    1. @Karl: I came back enchanted from this cruise on the Exocet, with lots of fascinating things for me to photograph: in addition to the mermaid, longiman sharks and lots of spectacular wrecks... The Red Sea is "exotic" for me, who's more used to the Indo-Pacific area...

      So, in this photo, unless I'm mistaken, the spot where we're moored is the wreck of the ThistlegormIn any case, underwater, I don't remember being bothered by other people. We didn't all launch at the same time, and a number of boats left before us...

      Otherwise, there were many of us on the boat (about twenty divers), but each one evolved in autonomy, by small palanquées of 2-3, so it was very well. There were also tek divers with us, who lived their lives more deeply ... Frankly, from that point of view, it was very good.

      Otherwise, it's difficult for me to judge the state of the corals in Hurghada or elsewhere in the Red Sea, during this cruise of just one week. I did, however, take some beautiful images of coral reefs, which I'll post soon. I've already posted a few here on Facebook:
      There are some very beautiful and colorful spots, but I haven't been able to see all the sites in Hurghada or elsewhere, so I can't really give an informed opinion on the general state of the corals in the region...

      Well, it's true that when I dive elsewhere than in Indonesia (in the Red Sea, for example, but also in Polynesia or Mexico, for my other experiences), I always find that the coral is less spectacular and less exuberant, generally speaking...

  2. Incredible! I'd seen documentaries on this kind of swimming before, but this leaves me speechless.
    I think I would be unable to swim with my legs locked in a mermaid's tail.

    1. @Alimata: hi, hi... The thing about cruise ships is that they often pair up by gender: naiads and mermaids on one side, newts and toadfish on the other...
      Yes, I've seen longimanus, up close, I'll tell and show that in a future post... Fascinating new experience, for me !!!!

  3. The photos and video are superb! I didn't know that mermaid was a profession, at least I haven't come across one in Lake Geneva yet!