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Mermaids on Catalina?

The waters around Catalina Island teem with a myriad of marine life. Bright orange garibaldi, playful sea lions and massive wreckfish share this fascinating ecosystem with otherworldly nudibranchs, toothy morays and toothsome lobster. Scuba divers and snorkelers are likely to encounter these remarkable creatures alongside schools of calico bass, shy octopus and captivating mermaids.

Wait, what?

That’s right. Mermaids.

Catalina Island’s newest experience lets you embrace your inner whimsy and transform – at least temporarily — into a mermaid. The Catalina Mermaid Photo Shoot provides kids and adults the opportunity to don a mermaid tail and get glamourous on the beach while a photographer creates an indelible memory of the day.

a person sitting at a beach

A fantasy come true for founder Elaina Garcia, the Catalina Mermaid Photo Shoot lets participants get a taste of what the dive instructor has discovered. “Putting on a tail makes you feel sexy, empowered, cute and powerful,” she said. “It’s so fun to slip into one of the tails and get gorgeous photos on the beach.”

Garcia, who has lived on the island for the last eight years, worked as a divemaster and dive instructor before discovering the fun of mermaiding. She became an Advanced Mermaid through the Professional Association of Dive Instructors. “Swimming in the tail is graceful when done properly, and it truly feels like you are in another world,” she said. “Mix in the great feelings that come from wearing a tail, and the joy of seeing the fish — mermaid freediving is the perfect mix!”

That love of mermaiding led her to make mermaids her career and now, in addition to offering photo shoots, she’s certified to train other potential mermaids in the skills needed to be safe underwater with a mermaid tail. “These classes perfected my skills and allowed me to mermaid safely.”

a person sitting at a beach

Those skills – along with her scuba training – came in handy recently when she and a class of mermaid students rescued a diver in distress. The rescue catapulted Garcia and her mermaid experiences to national fame, with hundreds of media outlets around the country reporting on the unique experience.

a person sitting at a beach

Additional mermaid classes will be offered next year, but in the meanwhile the photo shoot is available for anyone hoping to get loose, have some fun and escape to a whimsical reality. “I have black, silver and orange tails perfect for mer-men, cute tails for kids, matching tails for mommy and me and gorgeous tails for any mer,” she said.

Click here to schedule your own Catalina Mermaid Photo Shoot — you’ll certainly have a “tail” to tell with your souvenir photos.