With a crowd of onlookers, supporters, and media surrounding her, Renate Herberger slipped into the Saanich Inlet.
Herberger, also known as the Costa Rican Mermaid for her ocean awareness initiatives in South America, swam the inlet Friday to promote awareness in hopes of protecting the area that she has lived in for more than 20 years.
“The Saanich Inlet is my backyard. I raised my children here and we spent much time exploring these waters. My wish is that this area would become a protected area or a park area so that we can keep the eco-system alive for years to come,” she said. “If people were to disappear tomorrow the oceans would have no problem thriving, but if it’s the oceans that cease to have life, humans wouldn’t be far after.”
Herberger, 55, was followed by a support team in kayaks piloted by close friends visiting from Arizona and her son, Sylvan. She expected to finish the swim that afternoon on the shoreline at the end of Wain Road. She was greeted by family, friends, supporters, and members of the Dogwood Initiative.