The Deep Cove mermaid resurfaces after her latest swims in Mexico, supported by the Mexican Navy.
Renate Herberger, also known as the Costa Rican mermaid due to her environmentalism in that country, has just returned from a stint in Mexico.
Since 2008, the North Saanich resident has covered 8,242 kilometers in the water to promote green issues and has secured an unlikely ally – The Search and Rescue arm of the Mexican military.
Herberger says that after getting an approving nod from a Mexican admiral she now is supported by a patrol boat and crew for three or four days at a time as she completes her swims. She has to follow the military’s schedule, so her days last from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
She has swum in a number of places, such as Cozumel, Isla Cerralvo (Jaques Cousteau island), Baja California, Isla de Mujeres, Cancun and Puerto Morelos.
Asked if she was worried about sharks, Herberger laughed. “Sharks are the least of my worries. Jellyfish are dangerous. In the past I’ve had numerous interactions with Portuguese man o’ wars and oh my God it’s painful, it makes childbirth look like a children’s game.”
The other risks were currents and riptides, with Herberger saying two divers drowned a few days after she left the last area on her tour.
Herberger says she does the swims to raise awareness of green issues, with local newspapers, radio and television covering her story whenever she swims.
While in her host country, Herberger rides the wave of local publicity and visits local schools, where she talks to the children about the environment and encourages them to make eco-promises.
“The mermaid persona has worked really really well as the magic and mystery of the mermaid encourages them to talk about the environment.”
The Deep Cove mermaid intends to swim parts of Mexico region by region between November 2019 and March 2020, starting with a 14-day swim.
One ambition Herberger hasn’t yet achieved is speaking at a local school. She says she has spoken to thousands of students in Costa Rica and hopes to one day be invited to talk to students in a Saanich Peninsula school.