That’s the distance that separate two women, their dive tanks and their insatiable dedication to the history of once-forgotten marine relics.
Sarah Ward and Pornnatcha ‘Jo’ Sankhaprasit are two women who stand at either end of a very small, world-renowned, select pool of women who have reached the highest echelon of their careers as Marine Archaeologists.
From Fear of the Water to the Love of the Dive
Jo Sankhaprasit grew up in the highland mountains of Thailand. At the age of 9, she laid her eyes on the big, briny, blue ocean. By the age of twenty, she plucked up enough courage to meld her natural interest of the subject of history with her curiosity of putting it to practice in the water, when she took her first dive. Jo became the first woman in Thailand to become a Marine Archaeologist, despite learning to scuba dive before she could swim! Jo still admits that her unease of being in open water is only ever quelled by the excitement and adventure of putting on a dive suit and tank in search of history’s sunken treasures.
Swimming Up the Wrong Stream
Not to be out done, Australian-born Sarah Ward is a world-renowned Marine Archaeologist, who came to the conclusion that the inspiration of the adventures of French naval officer, explorer and marine researcher, Jacques Cousteau, was infinitely more appealing than her Economics studies.
Both ladies regaled listeners of a recent BBC Conversations podcast episode, on the their passions of being Marine Archaeologists. They portray their incredible mental and physical strength in persevering though underwater life and death situations, as well as overcoming cultural and patriarchal obstacles – all while cutting through the waves for future generations to be able to catch some surf upon their successful wake.
Take a listen below to get swept up in their incredible stories.
If you’re viewing this post via iPhone, press and hold the picture below until “Open in Podcasts” appears.
Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of The Conversation by BBC, for free.