I realized it’s been almost a year since I told a Mermaid Tale. (Plus, a few people have started asking when I would do another one.) So, today, I’m telling you about the Cold and the Hot of being a mermaid.
Mermaids at Aquarena Springs swam 364 days of the year. The resort park was closed only on Christmas Day. That means we swam on the blazing hot Texas days and on the days when the catwalk to the volcano was iced over. The water, however, stayed the same. The show area was spring fed so it stayed a constant balmy 74 degrees. (That’s what the visitors were told, anyway. We measured it a few degrees lower.) We didn’t mind swimming in the winter, though, because the water was warmer than the outside temps.
Inside the volcano were two hot rooms, one for the males and one for the females. As soon as the mermaids finished their ballets, they swam up and hurried into the warming room, which was kept at about 130 degrees. Trust me, you dry and warm up fast in that heat. Then we’d go back in the show area to do our picnics…then back into the warming room.
In the summers, we’d change into bikinis and go lay out on the training platform in the sun (I don’t recommend sunbathing now that we know the damage that can do, but back then we didn’t know about it.) Not long after I left, they apparently stopped sunbathing on the platform since there were complaints from folks gliding overhead in the gondolas about our lack of dress (as in, bikini tops untied so we didn’t get strap marks across out backs). In the winter, we’d hurry across the catwalk, steam rising from our bodies since we were hotter than the outside air.
Once a girl entered an area where she could be seen by the public, she had to be in costume. That meant in a one-piece bathing suit with a sarong, lei, plastic flower in her hair, and a smaller lei on one ankle. Once again, warmer in summer than in the cold of winter.
While we jumped in really cold water every day, multiple times, I rarely came down with a cold. Looking back, I’m not sure I ever had one cold during my years as a mermaid. I credit that to the warming room.
1 month ago