When Madhumathy Chandrasekaran first started swimming lessons at the age of 4, little bit did she realise that her love for water would lead her onto a path-breaking career: she states she is India’s first female maritime archaeologist. Currently a diving trainer at Bond Water Sports in Kovalam, Kerala, 24- year-old Madhumathy has actually also dived in the waters of Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia to name a few.
She informs MetroPlus about her life, profession, and future plans.
Archaeology Inform us about your early impacts and love for the sea.
I was born and raised in Chennai. I started taking swimming lessons when I was very young and my parents always told me how tough it was to get me to come out of the water. Being an outright water infant, it was not unexpected that I was mesmerised by large bodies of water.
Archaeology How did you embark on this profession?
I have always been interested by history, which, integrated with my love for the sea, made maritime archaeology a terrific profession choice for me. I joined a Masters program in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University, Australia. The professors was amazing and I was hooked from the first day.
Archaeology Just what is Maritime Archaeology?
Maritime Archaeology or ‘MARCH’ is essentially performing archaeology underwater or on anything marine related.
Take lighthouses for example: despite the fact that they are not submerged, carrying out research on them is thought about part of maritime archaeology. My field of interest is nautical archaeology, within which I conduct research on historical shipwrecks.
Archaeology What was it like belonging to the team that found South Australia’s oldest shipwreck?
I was among 3 Masters MARCH students from Flinders who were chosen as volunteers for the search for South Australia’s oldest shipwreck. It was a benefit to deal with the group which consisted of some veteran maritime archaeologists and scuba divers.
At First, it was difficult to find the shipwreck due to the fact that of bad climate condition. However luckily, on the fifth day, one of the staff member encountered a tough metal things which when brought to the surface, ended up being a copper bolt that was used to connect wooden slabs together for the ship.
It was effort and we were diving in cold water with strong currents. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have actually ever had.
Archaeology What are your prepare for the future?
My goal is to pursue MARCH in India. I want to focus my research here due to the fact that there is so much to be explored in this country.
Because I am also a scuba trainer, I wish to reach out to archaeologists in Indian universities and get them to train in scuba diving, which would allow them to do archaeological projects underwater.
Archaeology Tell us about your love for scuba diving.
I first came to know about it from SB Aravind, who started Temple Adventures, a dive centre in Puducherry. Right from my first dive, I understood that this was something I desired to provide for the rest of my life.
I went on to complete my first professional diving course, Divemaster, in 2014 when I was19
In 2015, I got a task in the Cook Islands, near Fiji, where I also did my instructor course. At that time, I was India’s youngest female scuba instructor.
Archaeology Do you have any fascinating underwater occurrences to share?
I was diving in the Cook Islands when I identified a huge, beautiful sea turtle, and he was extremely shy in the beginning. He started to warm up to me and during my last dive, made eye contact with me for a long time and we were gladly swimming side by side. I was in love.