Who says mermaids aren't real? Yesterday, professional mermaid and shark photographer Greg Amptman with dive buddy Michael Bear acting as safety diver, went out to La Jolla Cove to do a photo shoot of professional mermaid Krystalle Wetzlich, with her boyfriend Daniel Stimson lending moral and physical support in the water.
Professional mermaiding has been around since the 1940s, but really took off with the 1984 movie 'Splash,' starring Daryl Hannah, according to Wikipedia:
"Splash tailmaker Thom Shouse's website offered tails for a fee, but also inspired a DIY movement. The early 2000s saw many performers and artists uploading videos and photographs of tails and underwater performances to YouTube and personal websites.
By the beginning of the 2010s, websites dedicated to mermaiding helped to create a distinct subculture in which members ranged from hobbyists to professional performers. Today, many mermaid performers work at aquariums, casinos, or tourist attractions professionally. Some free divers wear mermaid tails to add novelty to the water sport."
Wetzlich, originally from Hawaii, now living in Colordado, has been mermaiding for several years, using a tail made by Stevi Summers of 'Fish Butts,' which she painted herself and added the fin. Newly purchased tails can be quite expensive. She plans to start her own mermaid company called 'Little Pirates' to supply mermaids and pirates for children's parties. Her professional mermaid name is 'Evangeline The White Mermaid.'
Bear, who is a PADI certified Rescue Diver and Stimson helped guide Wetzlich through the surf and into the open water at the Cove, where Amptman directed her to make various dives and poses underwater. It didn't take long for the cold to take its toll on Wetzlich, who wore no wet suit and they called it a day after shooting several successful underwater poses.
Also present in the water with the mermaid and her entourage were numerous vocal and playful sea lions, who barked and frolicked in the water out by the rocks, where Bear and Amptman later swam out to to get some video and photos of them at play.
For more on the sport of mermaiding, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaiding
And for more on California sea lions: http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=50