Jill Heinerth, considered the World’s Best Female Underwater Explorer shares her ecstatic underwater journey in a candid interview with Namita Nayyar, President – Women Fitness.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You are considered the ‘Best Female Underwater Explorer’ in the world. You are a member of the Explorers Club and have been named a “Living Legend” by Sport Diver Magazine, and also inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. You have won the OZTek Media Award in March 2013 and in November 2013 you were awarded the first ever Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Tell us about this specatcular exploration journey that you’ve had?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: I have been very fortunate to lead a rewarding life of exploration from deep inside Antarctic iceberg caves to strange waterholes in the Sahara Desert, I have had the opportunity to see things where no person has gone before. My specialty is cave diving, and I link that to swimming inside the veins of Mother Earth. I’m exploring the lifeblood of the planet, the very essence that nourishes mankind, and all that sustains us.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Who has been your greatest influence and motivator in your success in the field of underwater exploration and cave diving?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: Dr. Bill Stone has been a great influence for me. He developed advanced life support apparatus that has helped me go to extremely deep and remote places. As an explorer, he has encouraged and supported me through the years, never taking into account my gender, but only judging me for my talents and readiness.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Underwater Diving is a strenuous sport. What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine that help you in building your stamina?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: There are dives where I have to swim against a current on a 6km round trip carrying hundreds of pounds of gear. Truly I feel the most natural underwater when I am no longer fighting gravity. Swimming comes easy for me, but I also love cycling long distances to maintain my stamina.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: At home, I am virtually vegan. I feel that diet has a lighter footprint on the planet and on my body. When I am on expedition, I can’t be picky. I might be eating camel in the desert or wild birds in the jungle. I have to eat what is available. I try to focus on some good protein to start the day and prefer to stay away from anything white: breads, sugar, flour, etc.