I did my first swim in the tail on Friday night at a friend's house. I'd tested the tail in the bathtub and fixed any leaks or short circuits I could find, but electricity is sneaky, leaky stuff. I was pretty terrified before that first true swim test -- to the point where I was waking up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, in a cold sweat. Would I electrocute myself? Would I electrocute anyone else in the pool with me? Would the LEDs work? Would they all just flicker once and then go out? Was this just a very expensive and time-consuming fruitless dream?
Finally the time came and I headed over to the pool. After some pretty poolside photos, I slowly and nervously dipped my fins into the pool, and watched as the lights sank gently below the surface. They calmly twinkled up at me, so I smiled and slipped the rest of the way into the water, kicking gently at first, then with a little more force as the LEDs continued to glimmer on the walls of the pool.
First impression? This tail swims REALLY WELL. The competitor monofin and thinner gauge neoprene I used created a juuuust slightly positive buoyancy tail. That means that in the water I'm nearly weightless, and just a little bit floaty. I am delighted with this. My "Ariel" swimming tail is very buoyant -- so much that it's difficult to swim in. Glimmer's tail is perfect.
I swam back and forth, grinning like an idiot, for about 10 minutes. After the water started to soak in a bit, I started noticing a few flickers here and there, but overall I was really impressed with the water resistance of the tail. Once it dries out completely, I hope I'll be able to find the leak points pretty easily and add some more waterproofing.
I didn't get a chance to work on it this weekend -- too many Elsa Princess parties on Saturday, and then I had a photo shoot scheduled with The Mermaid Atlantis and Lance Miller down in Santa Cruz for Sunday evening, so I didn't want to open it up and mess with it.
The photos Lance took are still trickling in, but I'm really happy with how they turned out. Good thing too -- right after we got the tail's lights set up, the ocean swelled up and swallowed my Nexus 7 tablet. The tablet is how I control the tail (via bluetooth), so at least we'd had a chance to set the tail on rainbow mode before we lost it for good.
The ocean waves seemed to be a bit rougher on Glimmer than gently swimming back and forth in the pool. I'm a little disheartened at how much work I'm going to need to do to get her working again. But I'm pretty delighted with this:
I'll post more pics as I get them on G+ / Picasa or on Glimmer's Facebook Page. Enjoy!