Belize’s Hol Chan Marine Reserve is always full of surprises and your experience is never the same each and every time you visit the national park. There are times you will catch a glimpse of the rare Green Moray Eel or the elusive Spotted Eagle Ray, while at time you will interact with a baby Loggerhead Sea Turtle, but would you every think of having an encounter with a mermaid?
Well, they were not ‘real’ mermaids, but close enough to the real thing. Jason Darling and Maria Russo of Sirenalia, an Austin-based mermaid production company that promotes their “mermaids are real” slogan by making silicone mermaid tails and event performances, came to Belize so that their Mermaids could take a dip in our crystal clear waters and frolic along with the marine life at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
“Last Winter Sirenalia and Flashpool Productions went on a retreat to our favorite island in Belize, to snap some pictures and see the sights and start setting up a mermaid retreat to paradise,” commented Sirenalia Mermaid Retreat in their Facebook Page.
“The reef here is an incredible, magical place and has been suffering over the last few decades, with almost 50% of it being damaged since 1998. It’s the second biggest living reef in the world, and it’s packed with sharks and rays and giant sea turtles and octopods and so, so much life. It’s one of our favorite places to visit and we go pretty much every year. We’d love to have you come with us on our next run.”
One of the Sirenalia mermaids was eight months pregnant, making their trip and photo shoot that more special. Maria explained that one of the company’s personal goals is to preserve the Belizean reef so that her daughter could someday swim at the marine reserve.
Sirenalia explained that all profits above the cost of putting on the retreat will be donated to reef conservation agencies, as well as the rights to use the pictures for any promotional material. The Green Reed, a Belize-based non-profit dedicated to preservation of the reef, was one of the organizations who received the colorful photos.
Sirenalia is planning another trip to Belize later this year, this time for a “full-blown, all-inclusive mermaid retreat that they can offer to their customers.