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Ups and Downs

The FinFun Elite mermaid tails are beautiful pieces to swim in, but the fluke [end fin] is heavy as heck. It makes doing a traditional mermaid tail flip pretty much impossible unless you've got some kind of bionic ankle strength. Its heavy to lift when you're on land and the tail isn't wet; I'd say it's twice as hard to lift once you're fighting the weight of the water you're in, as well as fighting the weight of the water that accumulates inside the fluke, as well as the weight of the monofin and plastic insert that holds the shape of the fluke in place.

I've been gradually conducting experiments on improving the fluke. First I left the side zipper that accesses the fluke open about an inch while swimming, to give the air and water somewhere to go. That seemed to help a little, but not enough. Next I poked air holes in the fluke itself, starting with 2 very small ones, 1 on each side. I opened the seams to keep it from being noticeable, then reinforced the seams in those areas. That helped more, but not enough. I've since added 2 additional holes, 4 total, and I'll be testing them out this Sunday at my next practice session.

My next step is to replace the plastic insert entirely. I purchased a lighter weight plastic, just a step down from the current weight, and I'll be cutting the fluke shape from this bolt. I may even alter the design of the plastic insert to again make it easier for the air and water to pass through. The plastic should be here next week. If it goes well, I'll be selling the lightweight fluke insert on my website, in addition to other mermaid gear - custom designed tails, and the dorsal fin that I designed for the FinFun Elite tail.

Under the water, I'm hyperfocused, I'm there, but I'm somewhere else, I'm me, but I'm someone else. It's amazing to me how much the world goes away when I'm below the surface, just working on poses, hearing only the endless clicking of Brandon's camera shutter as he captures me looking amazing but also looking ridiculous, like when my waist length hair wraps around my neck and tries to strangle me, or when I start floating upward against my will, or when too much water goes up my nose [still working on preventing that one]. I step so far out of my comfort zone to do these photos that I can't even see it in the distance. I'm terrified and fearless all at once. My life takes such a hard left turn when I go to Florida for these shoots. Those days are lawless and weird and I spend them freezing and laughing and sore and feeling so victorious and accomplished at the end.

I have a friend who is a freediver, and he is wildly unafraid. His fearlessness is inspiring, I am constantly in awe of his accomplishments and his bravery. He plunges forward with no hesitation, always pushing himself harder to level up to a new win. I would love to be able to do what he does. I am still interested in learning to freedive; the only reason I haven't done it is time. I'm not in Florida that often. Now it's getting colder anyway. When I'm in Florida, I have to focus on these photo shoots to create content for Trésor de la Mer so I can generate sales. Brandon and I are going to Mexico for a shoot in January, and I'm so excited, and had intended to freedive while there, but it looks like our shooting schedule will take up most of our time. Additionally, freediving gear is expensive and I have to be careful with finances until Trésor de la Mer is generating more sales. It's disappointing, but I'm hoping 2022 will offer me more successes, and that they will allow me the space and time to begin freediving. My friend is so passionate about his freediving adventures, and I truly admire this about him. He is an ethereal superhuman superhero. I want to experience that passion for myself.

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