Mermaid Spotlight: Nina, the Mermaid of Hilton Head
How did you get your start?
It all started with my passion for ocean conservation and the urgent need to bring attention and awareness to all of the issues our oceans face. I started writing children’s books about conservation because that was the most effective way I could think of that would help educate and spread the word. Once I saw the success of my first book, Sammy the Sand Dollar, as well as the response, I started writing the Mermaid of Hilton Head® series. Then, with the addition of the Mermaid Encounter Boat Tours and the “Turn into a Mermaid” photography sessions, I discovered that I have built a good platform to inspire change and help educate about my true passion: ocean conservation.
What did your first tail look like?
What did your first legs look like? My first tail looks like my current tail. It was the one I was born with! ;)
What's your favorite thing to do on land?
My favorite thing to do on land is write and illustrate my children’s books. What is your favorite spot to dive and do your mermaid thing? My generic answer and the one everyone would expect me to say is Bermuda. I lived there for a bit and the water is gorgeous and the coral reefs are beautiful. However, my favorite spot has actually become the creek where we do our boat tours. Our water here has very low visibility so the bottom of the creek is very dark, but there is something very calming about it. Being that it is so dark, too, it makes your other senses more keen and you develop an appreciation for the dolphin’s echolocation, which you can hear bouncing off of you when they are close by.
What's your favorite underwater animal?
I love dolphins, because they are so intelligent and they are always around when I’m doing the tours, so I get to see them a lot. However, I can’t get over how awesome the octopus is! Everything about them mesmerizes me. They are also really intelligent, but they are invertebrates with 8 legs and 3 hearts. Also they can change colors and they can ink…nothing can beat that level of awesomeness!
What's your favorite thing about being a mermaid?
My favorite thing about being a mermaid is definitely being able to educate people about ocean conservation and inspire people to care. Seeing the moment when people start to care about something they had never thought of before is really awesome, and then when I get e-mails weeks later stating that they have changed things that they do on a daily basis to help save the ocean is very rewarding to me.
Is conservation important to you?
YES! That is why the Mermaid of Hilton Head® as a business, got started. There are so many issues out there with simple solutions and if everyone could make small changes, it could make a huge difference to not only our oceans but our earth as well. For example, in America alone, we go through 500 million plastic straws every day. That is a huge number. If we all just stop drinking from straws or switch to paper straws, we could decrease that number significantly. We all just need to recognize that these problems exist in order to make the changes.
How can we (your mermaid friends) help the ocean, our home?
Spreading the word about conservation issues is the number one thing anyone can do to help. Education is so important to get people to care and make the changes necessary to make a difference.