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Meet Merman Mike: The diver doing good in Sacramento County

Diver Michael Pelley from Citrus Heights dives for trash and treasures in rivers and lakes.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — There's a merman in our midst! Since August of 2019, Mike Pelley has been diving into rivers and lakes in and around Sacramento County, searching for treasures and trash. 

However, many might know him better as Merman Mike, his nickname on his YouTube channel. 

"I try to return any sort of valuables I find," said Pelley "And, I thoroughly believe you can’t just get the treasure- you have to get the trash too."

Pelley got his diving certification after watching other diving YouTubers and a bout with his own growing curiosity.

"I was actually watching a bunch of DALLMYD and Man Plus River videos, and I’ve always had this kind of deep-seeded fascination with deep sea exploration and just kind of searching in our own backyard, basically," Pelley said.

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Pelley collects large nets of trash everywhere he goes. He's also accumulated an entire room full of collectibles, a space he calls his "treasure room." 

He has three cases full of sunglasses, which he gives to his subscribers if he doesn't find the original owner. The diver has found all sorts of things throughout his journeys, whether it was a Buzz Lightyear toy, a bottle of tequila, or an electric scooter.

"I always say, 'a whole new world.' That’s pretty much what it is," Pelley said. "You never know what you’re going to find down there, and you can go diving in the exact same spot that you went last week, or even yesterday, and there’s a ton of new things down there."

Pelley also seeks out the owners that may have lost their belongings and has even reunited a few people with their lost items. 

"The first time I gave somebody back their belonging, it was just this incredible feeling," Pelley said. "I was having the time of my life and then I just got to make your day."

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