Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have explored so many vast areas around the world which not many people get to experience in their lifetime. If you had to choose your one utmost favourite destination, which one would that be and why?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: I have a couple of favorite spots. I love Antarctica and being the first person to cave dive inside an iceberg was a remarkable experience, but I also love the Pacific Northwest in Canada. In the rich emerald waters you can swim with giant octopi, get close to a gnarly wolf eel, revel in anemones the size of shrubs and marvel at the colors on a sheer wall of life. Then as you turn sideways you might see an orca, humpback whale or Pacific White Sided Dolphins in the thousands. The biomass is stunning there. Topside you can sit under a giant spruce while a grizzly bear feasts on a river of salmon. The landscape is raw and primordial and it feels like nature unspoiled.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What are the hurdles that a woman may face if they wish to pursue underwater exploration and cave diving as a sport?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: It has not always been easy working in a field that is extremely male dominated. There are some men that feel very threatened by women in their ranks and some that will go out of their way to block your efforts. It is important to stay focused on what really matters. Work hard and out perform and then don’t be afraid to ask for the gig. There are times when I overtly said, “I want this opportunity” and was met with surprise. At times, men unknowingly exclude women from roles simply because they have never seen a woman do that job. At times I have had to jump up and down and wave my arms figuratively to get noticed. But once on the job, I have focused on the tasks at hand and doing them above expectations.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Which destination do you wish to explore next?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: If I had the funds available, I would love to dive in the Galapagos or Cocos Island. They are truly unique places with big animal action. In terms of projects, I would like to raise funds and interests to document the shipwrecks and remains of the James Knight Expedition that perished in the Canadian Arctic. This was a historic expedition that should be properly recorded and shared for the sake of history. Finally, I want to view my big blue planet form space. I keep writing letters to Richard Branson to request a ticket on Virgin Galactic, but sadly he has not answered. I’ll keep asking though. It will certainly never happen if I don’t ask! Having the chance to photograph my water planet from space would be my ultimate dream.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Would you like to tell us about your website Into the Planet (http://www.intotheplanet.com/)?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: Please visit my website IntoThePlanet.com. There is a lot of information for divers, but also for people wanting to see photos and stories from remarkable places. In the coming months, I hope you will also find a link to my memoir: “Into The Planet: A woman encounters life and death diving in underwater caves.”
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What do you wish to say about the website Womenfitness.net and message for its visitors?
Ms. Jill Heinerth: This is a great site filled with excellent resources and role models! Enjoy and stay well.
To know more about Jill Heinerth, check out: http://www.intotheplanet.com/
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Women Fitness Team thanks Jill Heinerth for giving us her valuable time for this interview and quenching the thirst of her fans to know more about her and making this interview happen.
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