My name is Cimberly Symister (21) and I represent the island of Curaçao in this UNESCO Foundation Course in Underwater Cultural Heritage Management in the Caribbean. By just participating in this course, it will have many benefits for the island of Curaçao.
As a little girl I always wanted to become an archaeologist and I didn’t want to change it for any other profession. In 2009 I started doing volunteer work at the National Archaeological Anthropological Memory Management (NAAM). After graduating from a school of higher general secondary education I got as a present of my parents a vacation trip to the Dominican Republic. There I did a single scuba dive and it changed my whole life. I was a little confused. An archaeologist or a scuba dive?
Both became my passion day after day. But after doing some research I have finally found a profession where I can practice both of my passions. Since then I wanted to become a Maritime Archaeologist. When I got back from that vacation trip, the first thing I did was follow the Scuba Diving courses. Now I am a PADI Divemaster. Meanwhile I was studying at Social Work and Sciences at the University of Curaçao and I graduated this year.
Curaçao is one of the Caribbean islands with a lot of maritime history, especially in the busy harbour of Willemstad. Willemstad is the capital and is the place for commerce and trade since the 17th century. We also have a wreck of a steamship called the SS Mediator, which sank in our harbour in 1884.
During this course I have learned a lot. The first two weeks we got more like theory about project design, data management, different survey techniques and much more. This is already the third week and it is the Diving Project Week. The students are divided in three groups, that each take up a part of the site that we are working on. We have to come up with a management plan for the 18th century building construction and the 19th century pier in the lower town of Oranjestad. Besides that we also have to make the people of St.Eustatius aware of the beautiful history the island has.
By doing this course I have confirmed that this is what I want to be: a Maritime Archaeologist. I’m looking forward to the future. Next year I want to study Archeaology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and later on I want to go on and study Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southern Denmark. My biggest dream is to come back to my lovely island and support my island in the field of underwater cultural heritage.