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From Roman ruins to tectonic plates: 2014 was quite a year for Jill Heinerth

SuuntoDive — 2 January 2015

Diver, cave explorer – someone who just loves to go diving at every opporutunity. 2014 has been memoroable for many reasons for Jill Heinerth. Here's why:

Any memorable dives of the year?
Diving in the rift between the Eurasian and North America tectonic plates in Iceland was a real highlight. Slinking through towering icebergs in the misty ocean near Disko Bay Greenland was unforgettable and snorkeling with ten women across the Arctic Circle was a memory I will not soon forget.

Was there anything you feel gutted you didn't do?
I traveled to Croatia for a diving event that was fabulous but I had hoped to do some significant cave diving as well. Europe was experiencing some epic flooding at the time and many of the regions for cave diving were inaccessible.

But you still went diving?
I can’t really complain… I did get a couple of caves dives in any case and a terrific visit to a 1st Century Roman shipwreck. The archaeological work was being conducted by a large group of international students. I spoke to them about exploration, science and water conservation and they took me to their workplace – a Roman wreck of great significance.

Looking ahead to 2015, what's number one on your tick list?
I am heading out on for cave diving project in Cuba. If all the travel permits come in, I will be working with some scientists on documentation and exploration. I’ll also do some training for local scientists who have not had access to international expertise in cave diving.

What other projects are you working on?
I am working with an artist on some potential exploration of spring caves in Turkey. Many of these locations are significant Roman archaeological sites. Margaret Tolbert, painter and conservationist, has been traveling to Turkey for almost 30 years, painting the stunning landscapes around the springs. She is rallying an inter-disciplinary team that includes artists, scientists and explorers and I look forward on developing that project with her in the coming year.

Where will you spend the holiday period?
My holidays will be spent primarily underwater. I am working on some camera testing with a colleague from National Geographic. We are going to be cave diving with some new cameras and brand new lighting technology developed by Light and Motion. We were shooting some test photos and video over Christmas. For me, that is the best present I could ask for – a chance to do more of what I love most!

All images ©Jill Heinerth