A bollard at the edge of Blacktip Island’s Diddley’s Landing public pier, near the spot where a local fisherman claims he saw an island divemaster transform from a mermaid. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/BTT staff)
A Blacktip Island resident Wednesday accused a local scuba divemaster of being a real-life mermaid, and urged locals the woman may be a danger to the community.
“I was fishing at Diddley’s Landing when I seen M’rina just under the surface, flipping that fish tail. Scales and all,” handyman James Conlee said. “Then, when she climbed up them concrete steps, her tail just disappeared, changed right back to legs as she left the water. Damnedest thing I ever seen.
“Way I figure, nobody’s noticed before ‘cause she’s in the water every day,” Conlee said. “She don’t get in the water, she’ll start drying out and can’t control her tail. We need to lock her up on shore, wait for her to go all scaley, get to the bottom of this before anybody gets hurt. Or worse. Mermaids lure folks into the water and drown ‘em, you know.”
Some locals agreed.
“Wouldn’t be those old tales if they weren’t some truth in them,” Goldy Gobie said. “Marina, she’s not a good one to cross. And if there’s one mermaid, how many others are hiding among us, working as scuba guides? It’s time for a modern-day mermaid hunt, with torches and pitchforks, round ‘em up before they kill us in our sleep, then run off to the sea where we can’t get ‘em.”
Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Marina DeLow denied the allegations.
“A mermaid? Seriously? I was shore diving and dolphin kicked by the pier, but that doesn’t make me a mermaid,” she said. “James was rat-faced drunk, as ever, half-falling out of his chair, when I climbed out. He couldn’t have told you his own name just then.
“This is the same guy who claims he saw a platypus at the Sand Spit a few years back,” DeLow said. “And I’m in the water every day because it’s my job—it’s literally the first syllable in my job title. Oh, and if James—or anybody else—tries to tie me up, they’ll get hurt. Bad.”
Others saw the claim as a business opportunity.
“We’re hoping to get Marina to swim around the resort where the guests can see her,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “She’s not on board yet, but we know she’ll do her part to attract tourists back to the island. Failing that, I’ll have to order a mermaid tail for someone to swim around the dock with at sunset, when the light low and it’s hard to see.”
Conlee remained adamant in his claim.
“Don’t need to be sober to see the truth,” he said. “If M’rina’s not a mermaid, how come she’s got that webbing between her fingers and toes? And how come she can stay underwater for so long?”
DeLow would neither confirm nor deny the webbing allegations.