The Beginning of a New Interest, by Karen Garner Member of the UK Mine/Cave Diving and Exploration group, Karen Garner, writes about a new type of diving that she’s recently added to her repertoire. I attended the NAS Underwater Skills Days course from Friday 2nd August to the 4th and on arriving at Stoney Cove I didn’t know what to expect or how the tutors would coordinate it all. But I was instantly put at ease with NAS tutors Sara Hasan and Matt Cass. They were both approachable and had such enthusiasm around the course subjects. They asked us all what we had in mind for future plans and our goals with nautical archaeology. I wanted to get into some of the assessment and monitoring surveys of protected wreck sites. Both Sara and Matt appreciated that our other plan was to survey one of our overhead environments and throughout our course was able to give us ideas of what to be mindful of when we organise this somewhat huge survey. They taught us the foundations, skills and pre-planning of such a task. I was apprehensive at the beginning of the course, of being able to take measurements however with Sara's ability to teach so well, I very quickly became confident and able to take an offset measurement and trilateration measurements of a site. The pre-planning that they both taught us, meant that we had the competence and knowledge to carry out the task with ease. Which meant in the water - I soon was able to achieve my goals accurately and efficiently. Throughout the course both Sara and Matt maintained a clear and thorough guide to each aspect of learning and always highlighted the safety required. They both listened well to people’s questions and gave reassurance when needed - keeping the course fun and challenging at the same time. After the day’s skills and diving, we all had a meal and drinks together, which allowed for more help and guidance and talking about future plans and goals for all of our individual interests in archaeology. After the course had finished, I had a clear understanding of what I was interested in and how I could help and get involved with the overhead survey. My love for diving and the love of history, has now opened up to a whole new adventure and channels of interest. I would now encourage anyone to get involved with NAS as there are so many channels people can choose to go down. I could not fault any aspect of this weekend’s learning and I had so much fun on Sara's course this weekend, that I didn’t want to go home. I hope to see them both again in my new discovery of NAS and the world of 'peoples rubbish'. To find out more about our Underwater Skills Days course or to request one for your dive group, click here. To learn more about our upcoming courses, click here. Have your own story to tell? Find out more about writing for us here.