Jill Heinerth on spending the pandemic underwater

Episode 35

The RCGS Explorer-in-Residence returns to the Explore podcast to share an exciting project she’s been working on close to home

  • Published Mar 22, 2022
  • Updated Apr 14
Expand Image

It’s always fun when one of our RCGS Explorers-in-Residence comes on the podcast; they’re always up to the most fascinating things. That’s especially true of Jill Heinerth. An internationally acclaimed cave diver, bestselling author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jill has been spending the pandemic exploring Canada’s longest underwater cave system, underneath the Ottawa River, just northwest of the nation’s capital and down the road from her house. What she found there is remarkable: “The most dense biomass I’ve ever seen in a freshwater cave.” Heinerth takes us into those caves to reveal the remarkable life inside. And she previews her forthcoming RCGS-flagged expedition diving around the coast of Newfoundland, which includes the incredible story of Lanier Phillips, an African-American sailor in the Second World War who survived the sinking of his ship off the coast of Newfoundland, got ashore and expected to be lynched by the locals, but instead was rescued and nursed back to health, sparking lifelong friendships and a remarkable life in the civil rights movement.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

Caving began to gain a foothold in Canada in the mid-1960s


Subterranean trailblazers 

Caving: The ultimate underground sport

  • 5055 words
  • 21 minutes


Why cave exploration matters

2022 is the International Year of Caves and Karst. Here’s why you should care about the hidden worlds beneath our feet.

  • 2517 words
  • 11 minutes


I am Mutehekau Shipu: A river’s journey to personhood in eastern Quebec

In February 2021, the world was introduced to Mutehekau Shipu — also known as the Magpie River — when the people of Ekuanitshit, Que. and the regional municipality made a joint declaration granting the river legal personhood and rights. The declaration carries broad implications for the fight to protect nature across Canada and around the world.

  • 3623 words
  • 15 minutes
Kathleen Graham crawls beneath a curtain of stalactites inside Raspberry Rising cave


Return to Raspberry Rising

Seven years after it was first explored, the B.C. cave known as Raspberry Rising is still giving up its secrets, from breathtaking mineral deposits to promising antibacterial microbes

  • 2081 words
  • 9 minutes