In this blog Project Officer Lee Pape, gives an update on our Y Heritage Make a Splash Project. You can find out more about the project here:
This year MSDS Marine crossed all obstacles in our path and Made a Splash with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Y Heritage grant. We were joined by three amazing young adults, Jimmy, Neve and Taz. They dived into SCUBA with Go Dive by learning the theory, physics, and physiology behind it all. Once equipped with their new knowledge they took what they had learned to the pool where they accomplished all their dive skills with grace and ease.
Beyond impressed with their skill levels underwater, they blew us out of the water by passing their PADI knowledge reviews, quizzes, AND final exam to become PADI Open Water SCUBA divers. We could not wait to get them into the open water so they could take their skills and knowledge to the next level.
On the morning of their first open water dive day at Stoney Cove, the participants showed up with a few apprehensions about getting into the water, but they buoyed up, donned their wet suits, and lugged their kit to the quarry wall where they gazed at the horizon before taking a leap of faith into the murky waters of Stoney Cove. A bit of flailing around eventually turned into trim swimming. After a short swim in the crisp water the students positioned themselves on the platform underwater, as though on a stage, to perform their skills in a new environment. Passing with flying colour they left Stoney with a wide range of new built confidence and skills.
The young adults were kindly gifted essential dive equipment from Fourth Element, Apeks and Aqualung, we would not have been able to get them in to the water without their support providing equipment including towels, swimwear, bags, fins, masks, rash guards, gloves and more!
We were joined by Peta Knott from the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS). Peta took the participants on a journey through time where they learned the essentials of maritime archaeology. They took part in a practical exercise recording a replica shipwreck where they took photos, sketches and measurements to create their own site plan. They were now equipped with skills to use underwater on areal shipwreck.
Once they had gained the skills of SCUBA diving and had a understanding of maritime archaeology, they took that knowledge to the Princes Channel wreck. The wreck lays at the bottom of Stoney Cove for preservation. It has not always been located in Stoney but was moved there. It was originally located in the Princes Channel in the Thames and identified as an Elizabethan merchant shipwreck dating to 1574. Cannon found on board with a maker’s mark ‘T.G’ indicate the markings belong to Thomas Gresham, a merchant, skilled financer, and Royal Agent to Elizabeth the I. The wreck is sometimes also called the Gresham Ship due to the insignia of Sir Thomas Gresham.
Once on the wreck they completed an archaeological assessment of the wreck, measuring the extent of it, and looking for important features. They recorded the wreck by taking photos and drawings. Top side they researched the history of the wreck and discussed the ships construction and their initial thoughts on the wreck. While we would have liked to have delved deeper into the archaeological world, we are confident the participants left with a new set of skills that allows them to access a part of the world many do not have the privilege to enter and with that, we hope they bring that excitement to others to get curious and involved.
One of the participants has since joined MSDS Marine onboard our diving support vessel to join a real archaeological project. We are delighted that we have brought underwater cultural heritage to a new audience and given the participants new experiences and knowledge.