Hannah Fraser is a real life mermaid…well kind of. The 38 year old is a professional underwater mermaid. More importantly she is a dedicated ocean activist, traveling the world performing as a mermaid for charity projects and commercial events that bring awareness to the ocean and its precious animal life.
Hannah can hold her breath for two minutes and can free dive to a depth of 50 ft (15.24M). She put these skills to good use for her upcoming documentary called Tears of a Mermaid. In it, she swims with whale sharks, rays and Tiger sharks.
So how was it swimming with the tigers? ‘I was feeling very anxious the first time I got in the water with the tiger sharks.’
‘The most important aspect was knowing how their minds worked, finding out what triggered them to use their mouths and teeth to inspect or react to situations and how to avoid doing any of those actions or movements.
‘We avoided wearing anything light colored because that may catch their eye and look like a little fish, causing them to bite by accident.
‘I learned how to touch them in the right way to allow a connection that they felt comfortable with, and amazingly enough; I found out that they actually love being tickled on the nose.’
Emmy award-winning cinematographer Shawn Heinrichs who shot the footage said
‘What made this shoot entirely unique was that Hannah was devoid of any scuba or free-dive gear, dressed only in a tiny costume and airbrush body paint to create the perfect artistic vision.
‘Without mask, fins or any sort of protective gear, she had to rely solely on her skills, training and experience, along with the diligent support of her expert team, to ensure the shoot went off without a hitch.
‘There was no room for error, as one mistake could have resulted in severe injury or worse.
‘Despite the risks, the team was resolute in their mission to create the most groundbreaking imagery to oppose not only the Australia shark cull, but also the global slaughter of sharks.’
Hannah knows that whenever you dive or swim with sharks there is a risk factor involved. But for her the reward outweighs the risk. She says ‘Many people have asked me why I would put my life on the line to do this, especially for dangerous predatory sharks.’
‘I feel that all animals play an essential role in keeping our ocean ecosystems in balance.
‘We humans have a history of annihilating anything we see as a competition, so much so that we are now threatening our very existence on this planet.
‘I advocate for greater understanding and awareness for all sea creatures, and hope to inspire people to see that sharks, despite being one of the world’s most effective predators, are also intelligent, and magnificent animals worthy of protection.
‘We are currently killing over 100 million sharks per year, whereas there are only five reported human fatalities by sharks per year worldwide.’
‘Who are the real dangerous predators in this equation?’
She is correct. Just this week we had an article about sharks washing up on the beach due to bycatch. Sharks caught, killed and thrown overboard. Not to mention all the sharks captured for their fins. Brought on deck to have their fins sliced off while they are still alive and then thrown back in the waters to drown.
I will be in touch with Hannah and as soon as I can find a release date for Tears of a Mermaid I will update this article. In the meantime be sure to visit Hannah’s website http://www.hannahmermaid.com/
Thanks to Hannah Fraser and Shawn Heinrichs for use of their photos and for fighting for our oceans!!