James MacDonell – The 2020 MSDS Marine Scholar Award Recipient

On this weblog James MacDonell, the 2020 recipient of the MSDS Marine Scholar Grant Award to help maritime archaeology college students shares how he has spent his award.

When the coronavirus pandemic began I used to be simply ending my undergraduate diploma on the College of Southampton and was getting ready to start out my masters in Maritime Archaeology that October. In preparation for the course, I had learnt to dive a number of years earlier than and I used to be actually trying ahead to having the ability to get my first experiences of wreck diving and maritime archaeology first-hand. However the shift to on-line studying meant that being a maritime archaeology pupil in 2020 and 2021 was difficult because it was not possible to achieve any sensible expertise and it even grew to become extremely troublesome to go diving. Together with different college golf equipment, my college dive membership was pressured to cease all actions for many of 2020/21 solely reopening comparatively just lately over summer season. With out entry to their equipment, which comes free after you pay membership, it was just too costly to rent equipment each time I needed to go diving.

Nevertheless because of the MSDS Marine Scholar Awards Grant I used to be capable of purchase my very own equipment together with a drysuit and regulators. Due to this I used to be capable of go diving after I in any other case wouldn’t have been capable of and I used to be additionally capable of dive in places that I by no means would have been capable of earlier than as the price of equipment rent would have been an excessive amount of. I used to be capable of dive at Mercer’s Nation Park in Redhill the place I used to windsurf as a child and noticed the stays of an outdated aircraft which I used to be advised probably dated again to across the time of the First World Conflict. It was the primary dive that I had ever been on the place I had the possibility to attach with underwater cultural heritage that had not purposefully been sunk there as an amusement for divers and jogged my memory why I needed to get into maritime archaeology to start with. Then afterward in 2021 I dived off Chesil seashore which is a web site I had by no means dived earlier than. There I got here throughout my first ever wreck whereas diving. I hung out exploring the stays of the wreck analyzing the metallic framing and the rivets that held it collectively whereas making an attempt to establish what part of the wreck I could also be taking a look at. It could not have been a well known wreck or of a lot archaeological significance, nevertheless it was nonetheless extremely thrilling to be given the chance to place the data I realized by way of on-line lectures to make use of when nose to nose with a wreck. However most significantly I used to be capable of proceed my depth development after my Sports activities Diver course in 2019, now being certified to a depth of 25m with a dive deliberate quickly to qualify me to 30m.

Because of MSDS Marine I’m now able to recommence my Masters this October with the data and {qualifications} to leap straight into archaeological diving when my course begins and I’m now certified to dive at a deep sufficient depth to hopefully be capable of assistance on maritime archaeological tasks within the upcoming yr. With out this grant I’d have needed to recertify my {qualifications} and relearn virtually every thing I knew about diving from scratch and would have by no means had the chance to dive a number of the websites I’ve.

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