Alaska mermaid makes a big splash

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 7:20 AM AKDT
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LOWELL POINT, Alaska (KTUU) - If you think mermaids like to stick to tropical waters, you’d be absolutely incorrect. Over the summer, one Alaska mermaid has been seen, heard and loved by hundreds of children and parents: LilyBean.

Most mermaids — at least how the myths and legends go — sing songs to draw people out to sea. LilyBean isn’t like those mermaids. Instead, she swims right up to the shore to talk to the children who have questions for her.

She has an answer for everything. Her tattoos? Presents from octopus gifting her with ink. Her jewelry? Plunders from sunken pirate ships or heirlooms from her dad, Poseidon. Her changing tail? Well, she’s a growing mermaid, and her tail is working it’s way to its adult form.

It all started when she was finally spotted by some children on the shore.

“At first it scared me, I was like, ‘What is it? What are they looking at?’ And then I was like ‘Oh it’s me,’” she said. “They just started asking me questions and I loved every single bit of it.”

Children gather around to ask mermaid questions they may have never gotten the answers to without her.
Children gather around to ask mermaid questions they may have never gotten the answers to without her.(Taylor Clark)

So she kept coming back to make new friends. Mostly children and their parents, but she said she’s had a few older folks come out on their own just for themselves.

LilyBean had friends before though. After all, the sea is enormous and full of other creatures. She knows a narwhal named Norbit, a dolphin named Flip and a lot more that were her companions before this. None are as close to her as her friend Humphrey.

“I have a humpback friend named Humphrey and he takes me on these great adventures,” she said, “we’ve gone all over the world together. I chase him. He likes to make sure I go places, like Homer, San Francisco and we’ve been to Hawaii.”

One story she finds herself telling, again and again, is how she keeps warm in a place like Alaska. She said it was a clear night.

“I was swimming, and I saw this star fall. And then saw the ocean was glowing. So I went down to the bottom and I found this star. And I held it close to my heart and I stayed warm. All the warmth went into me!” she told the children who came to visit her at Lowell Point recently.

LilyBean showing the star that keeps her warm when held close to her heart.
LilyBean showing the star that keeps her warm when held close to her heart.(Taylor Clark)

She gets some help making sure the children come to see her. Now, people who have heard about her from far away are making scaled masks to give to the children at her shows who have been showing up in large numbers.

LilyBean said she’s really got a thing for one man on the shore named Cory who helps her get from the water to the rocks to talk to the kids.

“Even when the tide’s out and he has to go super far, he carries me,” she said. “So forget Prince Eric, Ariel has him. I have Prince Cory and that’s pretty awesome.”

Even in the vastness of the ocean, even with all the mermaid magic, even with all the support, LilyBean wasn’t immune to the thing netting everyone together right now.

“I ended up out here because I got COVID-19 and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to continue swimming and that I would be pretty much dependent on these machines and oxygen,” she said, “and I was like, nope, I’m gonna beat this.”

So now, she said she’s going to spend her life “living it” swimming her way to all the children who want to see her, leaving a message of hope in her wake.

“Don’t give up," she said, "2020′s been just a crazy year and to just not give up hope. Because I made it through it and if I can make it through it in that situation then anyone can make it through it.”

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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