Merman Mike

Sacramento ‘Merman’ Fishes People’s Stuff Out of the River For YouTube Entertainment

What little boy isn’t obsessed with sunken treasure? Looking for forgotten goodies beneath the surface of the water is a favorite pastime of many a childhood.

But for one man, the quest to resurrect items under the sea (or in this case, a trecherous river) never ebbed in adulthood. Mike Pelley, known to fans as “Merman Mike,” recovers everything from GoPros to engagement rings to Apple Watches and every other valuable imaginable in the Sacramento River. And he does so for free.

In the last year, the wetsuit-clad gent has rescued more than 50 items. He has around a 90 percent success rate.

“I’m having the time of my life whenever my head goes under water,” Merman Mike told Mel magazine. “If I can make somebody’s day/week/month/year, it’s a win-win for everybody. I don’t want someone to be tortured knowing that a precious heirloom handed down for generations is sitting on the bottom of the river, and they can’t get to it because they don’t have $50 or whatever I’d charge. That would make me feel even more guilty than I already do when I can’t find something.”

Bereft people in search of priceless belongings lost in the water simply make their requests via Merman Mike’s YouTube channel. The scuba scavenger then prioritizes what he’ll search for based on sentimental value. Of course, during his searches, he comes across a lot of crap – like fishing lures, fishing poles, sunglasses, guns, and even a diamond-studded butt plug. If no one lays claim to the items he uncovers, they land a spot in the “treasure room,” also known as the foyer in his parents’ home. (We bet they love him.) He posts videos of his daring treasure-hunting missions online.

This is truly a passion project for Merman Mike; by day he works for his father’s construction company as an estimator. He does it not for the internet fame, but for the priceless reactions when he finds the long-lost belongings of the people he dives for. One of his “clients” got teary-eyed recounting how Merman Mike recovered her camera that had been underwater for a year. She was able to salvage more than 2,000 pictures from its SD card.

“I’m an extremely empathetic person, and lost my grandmother who raised me,” he told Mel magazine. “If somebody found a treasure trove of photos of me and my grandma that I didn’t have anywhere else, there’s literally not a single amount you could put on that.”

Merman Mike almost makes us want to put on a wetsuit and do good deeds for strangers. Almost.

Cover Photo: Facebook

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