Jill Heinerth
Underwater Explorer
IntoThePlanet.com
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Biography

Go Deep Into the Unknown With Renowned Underwater Explorer Jill Heinerth

A widely celebrated underwater explorer and cave diver — and one of the few women in the world to rise to prominence in these fields — Jill Heinerth in her 30-year career has traversed the globe, diving in some of the most fascinating and dangerous places, and along the way, chronicling her work and adventures through production of award-winning underwater films and photography.  Jill takes us inside her passion for her work when she says:  “Some people are repelled by the darkness of an underwater cave, but for me it´s an invitation into the unknown. When I am in these underwater environments, I am actually swimming in the veins of mother Earth — I am actually swimming in the lifeblood of the planet.”

A native of Canada, Jill has loved the water since childhood. In her exploration, which includes mapping remote cave systems all over the world, she´s plumbed the depths of watery caves underneath the remote Ural mountains of Siberia, dived with mighty manatees (sea cows) near the Gulf of Mexico, and explored sacred desert springs in Africa. In 2000 she was involved in one of her most ambitious projects to date — diving inside a giant iceberg to search for never-before seen ecosystems.

“Some would suggest that exploration on this planet is done, but I disagree,” she told Finland-based diving equipment manufacturer, Suunto, in an interview. “There are so many questions that haven’t been answered yet. We know more about space than we do about our oceans and our underwater caves. My curiosity boils down to my desire to solve these mysteries and see things people haven’t seen before.”  She adds: “Being able to dive through time, seeing the layers of history unfold, is astonishing.”

In addition to her work being highly risky, it also requires substantial technical ability, inner strength, perseverance and curiosity. “In the beginning I was told so many times that there wasn’t a place for women in diving and here I am doing exactly what I love to do,” Jill told the Toronto Star newspaper in 2016. “I hope some of that rubs off on other women.”

In the course of her endeavors, she has also made TV series for PBS, National Geographic Channel and the BBC, served as a consultant on major production movies for directors, including James Cameron (who is known for such films as Titanic, Avatar, The Terminator), plus written several books and produced documentaries.

Jill’s professional honors include induction into the Explorer’s Club and the inaugural class of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. She received the Wyland ICON Award, an honor she shares with several of her underwater heroes including Jacques Cousteau, Robert Ballard and Dr. Sylvia Earle. She was named a “Living Legend” by Sport Diver Magazine and selected as Scuba Diving Magazine’s “Sea Hero of the Year 2012.” In recognition of her lifetime achievement, Jill was awarded the inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration. Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2013, the medal recognizes singular achievements and the pursuit of excellence by an outstanding Canadian explorer.

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