An Interview with Special Guest Jill Heinerth

This Christmas, we are excited to welcome Jill Heinerth, a new ‘Explorer-in-Residence’ for The Royal Canadian Geographical Society onboard. Famed diver, filmmaker, author and adventurer, Jill will be travelling on RCGS Resolute for the ‘Christmas in Antarctica‘ voyage. From December 20th to 30th, passengers will be travelling alongside this inspiring and fascinating individual.

OOE: Is this your first time travelling with One Ocean Expeditions?

This is my first trip with One Ocean Expeditions. I am extremely excited about travelling with OOE. As an Explorer-in-Residence for The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am especially excited about travelling on the recently commissioned RCGS Resolute. Celebrating Christmas in Antarctica will be very special for me. I travel a lot for my work in exploration and underwater photography. I miss a lot of holidays with my husband. But in this case, Robert will be by my side and this will be his first chance to see Antarctica.

OOE: What can passengers look forward to whilst travelling with you on this voyage?

I’m looking forward to offering presentations and fireside chats about my work exploring remote underwater vistas around the planet. I hope I can also be a good resource to guests by sharing tips on adventure photography or managing specific issues like cold weather. I’m quite eager to assist anyone facing unique challenges and hope that I can add to the talented resource staff on the ship, helping in any way that makes a guest’s journey more memorable.

Jill walking with penguins at Cape Hallett, Antarctica
Jill walking with penguins at Cape Hallett, Antarctica

OOE: What are you most looking forward to while on board?

I’m always excited about spotting marine life such as leopard seals and orcas and will never get enough of hanging out with penguins. If I can get out in a kayak or camp onshore, that will be a wonderful bonus to the trip. But one of the things I love the most about Antarctica is the sky. I have been awed by rainbow-hued nacreous ice clouds and bizarre soaring sun pillars. It never gets dull and the only challenge is tearing yourself away from the beauty to sleep.

OOE: You’re a renowned cave / cold water diver and you’ve done some extensive travel in the Arctic. What tips do you have for your fellow Antarctic adventurers for keeping warm?

I’m leaving Ottawa for Antarctica for Christmas. That is like going to the tropics! It is entirely possible that the weather will be far more pleasant in Antarctica, and I won’t have to shovel the walk! But seriously, a good hat and lots of layers are the best way to travel. There are times when you will be warm and will want to peel away a few clothes. The best base layers are made of merino wool. They keep you warm and odour-free for an entire trip. In fact, merino wool fibres cannot retain body fat from human sweat. If your hands get cold, then hand warmers are a real treat. There are disposable versions, but a more environmentally sound option is to get rechargeable hand warmers. They slip in your gloves and stay toasty warm for hours.

Canadian Geographic Cover
Canadian Geographic Magazine Cover

OOE: As a filmmaker, what kind of gear do you use to document your adventures? Any tips for shooting in polar regions?

I shoot with a lot of different cameras while working for National Geographic, the BBC and other television networks. When I travel for pleasure, I like to bring smaller cameras such as the Canon 5D mkiv or the Panasonic Lumix GH5. A monopod is very useful for shooting and to use as a walking stick, but my favourite piece of kit is a Cotton Carrier chest-mounted camera harness. A long lens such as a 100-400mm lens gets heavy on a DSLR and the chest harness makes it more comfortable to carry. Batteries need to be protected from extreme cold, so keeping them in your pocket close to your body helps increase run time. I also like to carry a lightweight silicone dry bag to protect cameras from splashes that can be encountered when going ashore. These bags weigh mere ounces and can be stuffed in your pocket.

OOE: After your voyage with us, what’s next for you?

I have quite a few projects on the go in caves around the world and in water bodies all across Canada. I’m working on a project with the RCGS called Underwater Canada, diving into water issues and iconic locations across the country. This is also a big year for me. in August 2019, Penguin Random House Canada and Harper Collins in the US will be releasing my new book called “Into The Planet.” I’ll be finishing out my year on an extensive PR tour when the book is released.

RCGS Explorer in Residence and OOE Special Guest
RCGS Explorer in Residence and OOE Special Guest

OOE: What advice would you give someone who looks up to you as a budding explorer/adventurer?

I think that we are all explorers actually, especially the type of people that I will meet onboard a trip with One Ocean Expeditions! I’m certain there will be people who are a little fearful of the new experiences or animal life they might see in Antarctica, but I would advise my fellow passengers that we will all be sharing some extraordinary moments in life that perhaps nobody else has ever seen or will see again. If we can all take that bit of fear or uncertainty and turn it into excitement, then we will be embracing the magic of exploration. On that edge of terrifyingly new experiences, we have a chance to discover new things about ourselves and about our world.

OOE: Where can people follow your adventures?

My website has quite a wealth of information at You’ll also see me hosting and filming an upcoming Nature of Things documentary about climate change called “Under Thin Ice” and please look for my book this summer, called “Into The Planet”. In that book, I describe my life as an adventurer including a National Geographic Project where I was the first person to cave dive inside an iceberg in Antarctica.

Thanks to Jill Heinerth for her great insights above. We can’t wait to have her on board! For more information about special guests travelling with us, please contact your preferred travel agent or our sales team directly.