Jill Heinerth is a Canadian cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer, film-maker and Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Learn more about Heinerth’s various projects at her website Into the Planet.
The tremendous successes of the Victoria Strait Expedition and work by the talented dive team of the Canadian National Parks system has brought a new attention to the “other half” of Canadian geography – the part that is submerged beneath the surface of our lakes, rivers and oceans on three coasts. Canada is blessed with perhaps the most remarkable water assets on this liquid planet we erroneously refer to as “Earth.”
I couldn’t wait to plunge below the surface in Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory, Ontario for my first dives. Established in 1987, it was the first protected underwater park and lead the way for recognition of other Marine Conservation Areas in Canada. Today divers, kayakers, hikers and climbers flock to the Bruce Peninsula for outdoor adventure tourism and the cultural history of Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Yet, Tobermory is just one of the many world-class diving destinations that Canada has to offer. I’ve had the opportunity to dive with wolf eels in British Columbia, get tail slapped by a Humpback Whale in Newfoundland, honor the lost men on WWII shipwrecks, view a portrait painted in the tunnel of a submerged mine, slip into the belly of 200 year old schooner, and find peace on a wall resplendent with colorful anemones.
Whether you want to snorkel in the glowing bio luminescence under a blanket of Northern Lights in Browning Passage or plunge into the slushy waters by a drifting iceberg in Conception Bay, Canada has so much to offer underwater. Diving gives us that chance to examine cultural history, experience the natural world and enjoy stunning hidden geology. So pick up a mask and peer into a new world. Half of Canada lies beneath the waves.