Manitoba

Cave diver Jill Heinerth tells Winnipeg kids to dream big

Jill Heinerth, one of the world's top marine explorers, has a message to kids: dream big.

'Tingle of fear' means you're doing something edgy says Heinerth, among the world's top marine explorers

Jill Heinerth is a world famous cave diver. She was in Winnipeg Friday to speak to elementary students at Bairdmore School. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Geographical Society)

Jill Heinerth has a message to kids: dream big.

Heinerth, one of the world's top marine explorers, was in Winnipeg Friday to speak to elementary students at Bairdmore School.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's explorer-in-residence told stories about visiting some of the most remote places on Earth.

"I'm swimming inside the veins of Mother Earth. This is the lifeblood of the planet, the freshwater that pulses through beneath our feet and people don't even think about it," Heinerth told CBC Radio's Up to Speed.

Jill Heinerth diving in the Bahamas. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's explorer-in-residence has travelled from Antarctic icebergs to the Sahara desert. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Geographical Society)
From Antarctic icebergs to the Bahamas to the Sahara desert, Heinerth has more than a few stories to tell, including the tale of one dive that could have killed her.

The dive, inside an iceberg cave, almost turned deadly after Heinerth and another diver got trapped inside the world's largest iceberg.

"It was terrifying thinking that we might not be able to get out. We were literally struggling for our lives," Heinerth said.

She said she just thought about the next best step she could take and hours later she and her friend were back up to the boat. "I looked up and said, 'The cave tried to keep us today.'"

The ordeal was part of an inspiring message Heinerth shared with Winnipeg students Friday — one that included encouragement to never stop chasing your dreams, even if it's scary at times.

Jill Heinerth hopes the next generation will take better care of the Earth. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Geographical Society)
"That tingle of fear that you're feeling is telling you that you're doing something new, something edgy," Heinerth said, adding having a little bit of fear is a good thing.

For Heinerth, her fear is a little simpler than most might think.

"People ask me what I'm afraid of and it's usually driving to the gig," she said.

Heinerth also encouraged the students to take care of the Earth.

"My generation has messed up this planet pretty badly, but I am inspired when I meet these young kids. They're filled with hope and ideas."

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