“There is something special about the connection between women that cannot be explained with words alone. It is that deep feeling of affinity we have that brings us close and sets a common understanding of what we experience in our life’s triumphs and tribulations. It is a connection only a woman can truly understand. That is what makes the Suunto Jewel so special. The very essence of its existence and what it represents, expresses that unspeakable bond that brings us together,” the Scuba Diver Girls say.
Last February, Suunto sent three Suunto Guiding Star pendants on a journey around the globe. The pendants were passed from one adventure-minded woman to the next, travelling from the Alps to the Arctic Lapland and onwards, and from the Pacific Ocean to icy waters in upstate New York and back under the Caribbean Sun.
We have been following the journey of one pendant in particular, as it was passed on among some of the world’s most inspirational female divers. Here is an account of that journey, told by the divers themselves. While the list of adventures and places the jewel has seen is impressive, what strikes as most extraordinary, is the invisible bond of sisterhood the jewel has created between these women.
The journey took off in the Maldives, where Scuba Diver Girls Margo Sanchez and Stephanie Adamson were the first women to wear the jewel. The jewel spent some memorable moments diving in the crystal blue waters around Maguhdhuvaa Island and later on travelled with Margo and Stephanie back home to San Diego, United States.
“The jewel came with us into our beautiful backyard, an ocean full of kelp, sharks, turtles and a myriad of other amazing sea creatures,” Margo describes. “After a few weeks of enjoying our precious piece of art, it was time to pass it along.”
Scuba Diver Girls chose to give the jewel to Becky Kagan Schott, the Emmy Award winning underwater videographer, photographer and tech dive instructor.
“Becky embodies an amazing spirit that every woman should embrace. We passed our jewel on, holding it tight as to pass on our energy with it. By now it has traveled the world and laid over so many strong women’s hearts. The energy it possesses is most certainly magical,” Margo writes now, looking back to that moment in February.
One of the strong women to hold the Guiding Star next was Jill Heinerth, the underwater photographer and film-maker specialized on demanding cave exploration and 3D imaging. She took the jewel on a National Geographic cave diving expedition in Cuba, where she conducted exploration and survey dives, working with climate scientists and paleontologists:
“My job was to photograph and video our work and also deploy an exciting 3D imaging technology. I was able to take numerous calibrated photographs that were assembled into a 3D model of some of the paleo animal artifacts inside the cave,” she explains. “These files were merged into an accurate model that could be printed in 3D so that scientists could examine and work with a model rather than disturbing the artifact underwater where is remains well preserved and untouched.”
During the months that followed, the Guiding Star traveled onwards to technical diver Renata Rojas, who in turn gave it to scuba diver and submersible pilot Erika Bergman, who handed the jewel to marine biologist, researcher and deep ocean explorer Megan Cook. In August, the jewel landed in the hands of the explorer, teacher and instructor Cristina Zenato, world renowned for her work with shark awareness and conservation. At the time she was in the Bahamas, hosting the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society’s scholar, teaching sustainable shark diving and shark conservation. Her work aims to change the economic situation of the Bahamians, enabling them to move from traditional fishing to different forms of work and income, including professional scuba diving.
During her time with the Guiding Star, Cristina also continued her long term project and conducted cave diving exploration in the area, successfully mapping and connecting previously undiscovered caves and water systems. “It has been a solo expedition and work and the jewel happened to be with me on the day I did the two most important ones. I consider it my luck charm,” Cristina concludes.
Cristina passed the Guiding Star on to technical diver Gemma Smith, the first woman ever to dive at the world famous Antikythera Shipwreck. Gemma took the jewel to Central France, to the Lot/Dordogne region, where she completed her internship and became an Introductory Cave Diving Instructor on Open and Closed Circuit and managed to log some long-awaited cave dives.
“I was also fortunate enough to complete a major cave diving personal ‘bucket list’ goal during the trip. I wore the Suunto Guiding Star to guide me 2.2 kilometers through the earth, reaching depths of up to 80m to finally reach the stunning cathedral-like Bivouac Chamber in the Emergence de Ressel,“ Gemma says.
The journey of the Suunto Guiding Star still continues and we wish every future woman to hold the jewel to get a spark of that energy and courage these women have passed on with the pendant.
“It has been an honor to carry the Star on such big moments in my diving journey, and I really hope I've inspired other women to follow their own diving dreams, and show that size and gender should never hold you back,” Gemma Smith summarizes.