The Journey So Far, by Duncan Ross Duncan Ross is a musician by trade. His love for maritime archaeology goes back to when he was 6-years-old watching the Mary Rose being raised from the Solent on television. Here he tells us about his near ten-year involvement with the NAS. If nothing else, lockdown has provided a good opportunity to take stock. Sometimes life whizzes by so fast that one forgets to savour the unique moments. While my dive gear collects dust, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at my journey. In 2010, I visited a museum in Geraldton on the west coast of Australia. They have a fine exhibition about the Batavia shipwreck– a Dutch VOC ship that foundered on its way to Jakarta in 1629. It is a fascinating story. Among the amazing artefacts on display - including a reconstructed huge stone portico façade (pre-made in 17th century Netherlands in a kind of IKEA fashion), there was a video playing on a loop which showed highlights of the underwater archaeological investigation. A diver was using an airlift to reveal parts of the ship’s structure, and artefacts including coins. I was totally hypnotised, and wondered for a brief moment if I would ever do anything as remarkable and adventurous. What were the steps I would need to take? Was it even possible? I didn’t even know how to scuba dive at that point. Leaving the museum, I bought myself a pewter replica of one of the coins found on Batavia as a souvenir; or maybe as a reminder of my epiphany. ... A replica coin (a rijks daalder 1611) from the Shipwreck of Batavia 1629 (Image: Duncan Ross) ... Not long after my return from Australia, I completed my Open Water diving course. At the same time, I was volunteering at Liverpool Museum as a guide. I was actively taking steps in the right direction, but I was still unsure how to fuse together my history/archaeology interests with the underwater world. A bit of internet research ensued, and as a result my 7th and 8th dives ever were logged during the NAS Introduction course (see Fig. 2 & 3). After completing the course, and hearing the passion with which the tutor Ian Cundy spoke, I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue this path further. ... In the classroom during a surveyor/recorder skills day (Image: Ian Cundy) ... Using a planning frame to sketch features of a shipwreck at Capernwray quarry (Image: Melanie Taylor) ... Fast forward to 2017 and I am standing aboard the dive support vessel Terschelling (the very one that was used during a 2003 excavation of the Mary Rose site) and I am holding a coin that has recently been excavated from the Roosvijk – a Dutch VOC ship that came to grief on the Goodwin Sands in 1740 (see Fig. 4). The main wreck site is some twenty metres below Terschelling in the murky waters of the English Channel. Through the Nautical Archaeology Society, I was taking part in a bona fide underwater archaeology project as a volunteer diver. The journey from initial thought, through to actuality was complete – literally a dream come true. Rather than the end of the journey, however, it felt like the beginning. If this was possible, then what else was? This profound experience only made me want to do more. It increased my passion into what I know will be a lifelong interest, and hopefully one of involvement. ... A pillar dollar (piece of 8) found by divers on the wreck of Roosvijk (image: Duncan Ross) ... It is now 2020 and I have just received my NAS Award. What a great achievement. Over the years through courses and project involvement, I have managed to turn those 10 credits I earned from the Introduction course, into over 300 credits. Along the way I have dived protected wrecks, surveyed wrecks, met new friends, increased my confidence, and have fostered a much higher level of appreciation and understanding of the importance of maritime heritage. I even wrote a song which I played during the Abercastle field school in 2019 (see Fig. 5). ... Performing Ferrying Hooves to the Front at Mathry village hall 2019 (image: Ian Cundy) ... I have also become quite adept at researching (see Fig. 6). The huge majority of my NAS points were earned during my research work on the SS Leysian project, and I am currently helping out with the Welsh Wrecks Web Research project. Soon I will be taking a step into the world of hosting courses and then, in time, possibly tutoring. The NAS has opened up the world of maritime archaeology for me. The passion, professionalism and friendliness of the staff and everyone affiliated has made every experience a positive one and a memory to cherish. ... Making sense of Lloyd’s Shipping Registers at Liverpool Central Library (image: Louise Ross) ... If somebody had told me ten years ago what I would have seen and accomplished by 2020 in the field of nautical archaeology, I simply wouldn’t have believed them. Discovery was indeed only the beginning. What’s next? Interested in beginning your own journey to discovery? Explore our upcoming courses here. Have your own story to tell? Find out more about writing for us here.