‘Mississippi Mermaid’ breaks record as fastest female to paddle complete length of Mississippi River

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Missouri nurse dubbed the “Mississippi Mermaid” made a little Mississippi River history last week after she appears to have become the fasted female to ever paddle the full length of the river solo.

Traci Lynn Martin completed the mission last week when she kayaked through St. Charles Parish, marking the end to a journey that took 55 days, 8 hours and 17 minutes. She only needed to break 61 days to break the previous world record, which she did with a few days to spare.

Martin began the quest with a dual mission – prove she could do it, but also to raise awareness of the abilities of people who have chronic health issues — she has both rheumatoid arthritis well as scleroderma.

“The record is secondary, just because it’s there and available,” Martin told the St. Charles Parish Herald Guide. “This is basically to show people who struggle with chronic pain and health conditions that your life doesn’t have to be over … there’s still a lot that you can do. If I can struggle through the pain and paddle the entire length of the Mississippi, they can still do the things they love and mean something to them.”