I learned to be a mermaid for the day – and it was nothing like the Disney film


ARIEL got it terribly, horribly wrong.

Giving up her tail and life under the sea for a drip of a man (sorry Eric) is possibly one of the hardest things to comprehend in the magical world of Little Mermaid.

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Ariel got it terribly, horribly wrong when she gave up her tailCredit: Getty
I can speak from experience — I’m a mermaid. Well, not really, but I definitely look like one.

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I can speak from experience — I’m a mermaid. Well, not really, but I definitely look like one.Credit: Supplied

I can speak from experience — I’m a mermaid. Well, not really, but I definitely look like one.

I’m in Thessaloniki, Greece, taking the Professional Association Of Diving Instructors’ (PADI) new Basic and Advanced Mermaid course — an hour and a half lesson that has kitted me out with a real life tail, pirouetting under the surface like a true daughter of King Triton.

Amy, our Seaworld instructor, guides us through the course — first stretching on the lawn before being briefed on the skills we’ll be trying out in the water.

We practise swimming with a snorkel, how to take three deep breaths before and after going under water, and getting used to the monofin on our feet and the bright and tight tube-like skirt around our legs.

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It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but Amy guides us through it — helping us perfect our dolphin kicks and teaching us how to turn, almost elegantly, under the water.

Then, as we grow more and more confident, the fun really begins.

We’re soon zooming around under water, giving each other high fives at three metres deep, somersaulting and blowing bubble rings.

I feel like a 12-year-old kid in the pool at summer as my friend Kate and I excitedly come up with more and more intricate underwater moves to perform before bursting to the surface in fits of laughter at our mermaid-esque moves.

The poolside guests seem to be completely unaware they have two mermaids swimming just metres from them, snoozing on the deck chairs as we throw ourselves into the water again and again, twirling our tails.

But being a mermaid is tiring and after almost two hours in the pool, we’re well and truly pruned and ready to get out.

Flopping onto the poolside chairs we have a well-deserved nap, baking our bodies back into their human form.

The Sani hotel (pronounced similarly to ‘Sunny’, in what can’t be a coincidence) is the perfect spot for a wannabe mermaid, and their beautiful pool is the perfect spot to earn your tail.

But if chlorine isn’t your thing, it’s a one-minute walk from poolside to the 7km stretch of Bousoulas beach, where the crystal clear water beckons.

It’s also home to a brilliant beach bar with smoothies, very fancy G&Ts and beer.

Glittering fin

The mermaid courses are for everyone and kids upwards of six can turn themselves into a mini-mermaid or merman.

They aren’t specific to Greece either, with PADI rolling out the courses across resorts and dive centres around the world.

And sure, it’s a little silly for a 29-year-old to be attempting to recreate scenes from The Little Mermaid, but combined with the new skills you learn and amount of fun you’ll have, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course to a fellow adult.

We’re soon zooming around under water, giving each other high fives at three metres deep

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We’re soon zooming around under water, giving each other high fives at three metres deepCredit: Supplied
It’s a one-minute walk from the hotel to the 7km stretch of Bousoulas beach, where the crystal clear water beckons

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It’s a one-minute walk from the hotel to the 7km stretch of Bousoulas beach, where the crystal clear water beckonsCredit: Getty

If you tire of gliding through the water with your glittering fin, Sani hotel offers plenty of dry land options too, from the Rafa Nadal tennis centre, guided runs and yoga sessions to the night-time entertainment, where professionals belt out hit musical numbers.

Just a three-hour flight from Gatwick then a 40-minute drive from the airport, the resort is a favourite for families.

Children can run in the sun to their heart’s content, while active travellers can get stuck into the outdoor adventures and the less active can soak up the rays.

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After four days, I feel a pang of remorse at leaving so soon, but hilarious photos of me attempting a backwards somersault underwater keep the memories of this mermaid trip well and truly alive.

As Sebastian sings, there’s no troubles, life is the bubbles . . . under the sea.

GO: GREECE

GETTING THERE: easyJet flies from Luton to Thessaloniki from £26.99 each way. See easyjet.com.

STAYING THERE: Sani Beach has doubles from £187.48 (€222.80) per night with a minimum five night stay. See sani-resort.com.

MORE INFO: A PADI Discover Mermaid experience costs from £134.68 (160 euros). See padi.com/courses/mermaid.





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