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Mermaid retreat to make a splash in September

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Sirenalia will visit the San Marcos River to host its famous mermaid retreat, so grab a tail and prepare for a whale of a time.

From Sept. 14-18, mermaids will spend the week on an aquatic getaway. While staying in riverside cabins, guests can partake in underwater mermaid photography, a river cleanup and more.

Sarah Teveldal, Flashpool Productions owner, will provide the underwater photography and retreat coverage.

“For anyone that attends the retreat, we’re going to be doing a photo-shoot one of the days, and give them an opportunity to either swim in their own tail or one of Sirenalia’s,” Teveldal said.

Teveldal will also photograph retreat attendees at events throughout the week.

“I’ll actually be involved in the entire retreat. We have a lot of events planned,” Teveldal said. “I’ll be documenting most of the retreat. By the end of it, anyone who participated will receive photos from their entire trip.”

Teveldal said mermaid culture thrives in San Marcos, and the retreat is a way to showcase that.

“I love the mission of the mermaid,” Teveldal said. “I want to continue with Sirenalia, and be a part of the establishing of this mermaid community here. I think imagery is a big part of that, and underwater photos are better representation of what the mermaid really is.”

Sirenalia partnered with Mermaid Society SMTX to be a part of Mermaid Week, which will include a ball and parade guests can participate in.

July Moreno, Mermaid Society SMTX founder, said she is excited to be a part of the retreat.

“They are going to be participating in each of the events for Mermaid Week,” Moreno said.

The partnership between Sirenalia and Mermaid Society SMTX promotes river preservation, Moreno said.

“The organizers do really good preservation stewardship,” Moreno said. “We have a good partnership. We are definitely helping to promote and we want to see the retreat be successful.”

Maria Russo, Sirenalia founder, said the parade will end with a festival, with a booth set up with interactive mermaid information, photo opportunities and educational river preservation facts.

At the festival, Sirenalia will fundraise for the grassroots nonprofit, The Eyes of the San Marcos River.

The group aims to protect the river through educating and implementing solutions for river issues.

“When we were deciding where to give our money, we always try to pick something that we think really has an effect,” Russo said. “We will ask for donations for The Eyes of the San Marcos River to help further their river cleanups. They actually go in the water and pick trash out of it, so that seemed like the right place to send the money.”

Members of The Eyes of the San Marcos River will assist with the mermaid retreat’s river cleanup, Russo said.

“They will help us organize the river cleanup,” Russo said. “They’re going to bring out flippers, goggles, trash bags and all of the things we need. They’re really awesome.”

Russo said one of the main factors of the retreat is environmental awareness.

“We like to work with the mermaid community, and mermaids everywhere feel a huge responsibility for environmental awareness,” Russo said. “Our main goal is to bring attention to the beautiful San Marcos River, and help reestablish the mermaid as a guardian of the river.”

Russo said people should be interested in the mermaid retreat because it’s a fun way to preserve the river.

“It’s going to be so fun,” Russo said. “We really work hard to make it enjoyable.”

The retreat maxes out at 15 people, so mermaids should make sure to reserve their spot soon. Tickets are $850, and anyone over the age of 16 can attend.

“Guests don’t really have to worry about anything. We have everything worked out and lined up for them,” Russo said. “The ticket price covers the cost of everything, including meals.”

Tickets are available on the Sirenalia website, so come swim with mermaids in the San Marcos River.