2020 polar bear plunges

Remember January? I barely do, but apparently I did two polar bear plunges in the first week of this year.

Both times, I wore a mermaid tail.

Now, these were both run-in events, not jump in events, so I twice ran into the water (once 44.6 F and once… probably a balmy 48 f? that’s what Hood Canal usually is in the winter) pulled my mermaid tail on, ducked underwater, and then swam to shore.

So just we’re clear about my cold water cred.

Fat: it’s useful for not dying of hypothermia.

mermaiding trial and error

Learning to swim in a mermaid tail can be difficult. Learning to shoot videos of swimming in a mermaid tail is even more challenging, especially when you’re in the kind of cold waters that no one else wants to enter. Here are a few of my first attempts.

summertime adventure swim

Is there anything better than going to a quiet lake and splashing around with friends? This is a little video I made of a swim last summer in one of my favorite nearby lakes. While the water was a bit murky, it was a beautiful day, and my friend and I pulled a hunk of styrofoam out of the water, which is always a huge win for the environment.

my first merpod experience

While there are a few merpods in my neck of the woods, they all meet up an hour or more from where I live, so for the time being, I’m a solitary sea witch.

However, I have had the joy of swimming with a pod. I was lucky enough to go on the incredibly nerdy JoCo Cruise in 2019. One of the highlights of that trip was getting to swim with other mermaids! There were nearly a dozen of us on board, and we had a blast, both on the boat, and in Caribbean waters. We even ended up in the Travel section of the New York Times (though the pic is one of the worst ones of me from that photo shoot).

Here’s a few clips from the trip:

mermaids + horror = summer fun?

My first attempts at being a monstrous mermaid were pretty cheesy, but I like it that way. While my video editing skills have improved since last year, I’m still sadly lacking a properly terrifying underwater mask. My two favorite aesthetics are gothic and mermaid, so I hope to someday combine them effectively and become the scariest monster the waters around here have ever seen.

I’ve yet to watch many mermaid horror films, but I’m making a list of ones to watch this summer. Have any suggestions?

through an underwater arch

Swimming through the underwater arch at Two Step had been a goal of mine since I was a child. My dad would go through it every time we snorkeled there, and while by age 14 I probably could have made it physically, I’d never been able to psych myself up mentally. Over the years it began to represent a lack of fear that I thought I’d never reach.

Fast-forward to last October and you can see that I did indeed meet this goal, from both directions, in a mermaid tail. While I am a better swimmer than ever, my block was a mental one. I was afraid of sharks, deep water, and getting trapped in the tunnel and drowning.

I spent a long time wrestling with my anxiety with no chemical help. I pushed myself into deeper waters, crossing inlets and lakes, getting in a shark tank, diving as deep as I could (which honestly isn’t that deep, I don’t have the ears for free diving). Once I started an SSRI to actually manage my anxiety, all that practice started paying off. You can see it here, on video.

not your typical fairy tale mermaid

Not all mermaids are meant for warm waters. Some of us like the murk, and the dark, and the depths. Some of us were built to swim in cold waters, and I think that’s a wonderful gift. This page is all about celebrating that gift.

I’m Kelsea the Sea Witch, known on land as K. D. Hume, a queer writer and artist from the tidal flats of the Salish Sea. When not writing and gardening, I spend my time swimming in cold waters, with or without a mermaid tail.

Here, you’ll find body-positivity photography and video, open-water swimming accounts, odes to the deep, and maybe a few sea witch secrets. Welcome to the depths.