Maddy McAllister is the shipwreck mermaid, finding hidden treasures beneath the surface

Maddy McAllister calls herself the shipwreck mermaid. She scuba-dives into the deep to uncover archaeological artefacts — but she doesn’t think of it as collecting buried treasure. For her, it’s all about understanding the lives, ambitions and suffering of those who disappeared.

That feeling of being under the water is like nothing you can really explain. It’s kind of like flying.

It’s entering a completely different world, and you’re always filled with this excitement that you’re heading down to see a shipwreck that you’ve maybe spent months researching.

Sometimes you can spend days trying to locate a site and not find it. You’re always reminded that often you’re on a wreck site where people probably lost their lives. There’s always a haunting, chilling aspect to diving on a shipwreck.

I love telling people how many shipwrecks are actually on our coastline. There’s over 900 ship and aircraft wrecks along the Great Barrier Reef itself … of those, we have located roughly 115 of them. And even within those 115, we probably know the actual identity of just a handful of those.

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