I have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, even though I’ve lost many colleagues and a single mistake could cost me my life… that’s what I love about this job.

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“Most people look into the darkness of a cave and see only terrifying blackness. I see a world of unexplored possibilities.

That’s what Canadian Jill Heinerth, a cave diver for 30 years, says in a fascinating new book. Adventuress: women exploring nature (£39.99/$55, Prestel), a tome that profiles 20 “extraordinary” women “with a deep desire for adventure”.

Jill, a filmmaker and photographer, recognizes that her job is considered the most dangerous in the world and that a single mistake could cost her her life.

But “despite the risks,” underwater caves “present the ultimate challenge” for Jill and “make her feel like a kid in a candy store.”

She writes: “People look at my work and suggest that documenting the underwater cave world might be the most dangerous job there is.

“Most people look into the darkness of a cave and see only terrifying blackness.  I see a world of unexplored possibilities.  So says Canadian Jill Heinerth (above), a cave diver for 30 years, in the fascinating new book Adventuress: Women Exploring the Wild.  Above: Jill slides into a narrow space wearing a special survival device called a rebreather.

“Most people look into the darkness of a cave and see only terrifying blackness. I see a world of unexplored possibilities. So says Canadian Jill Heinerth (above), a cave diver for 30 years, in the fascinating new book Adventuress: Women Exploring the Wild. Above: Jill slides into a narrow space wearing a special survival device called a rebreather.

Jill, a filmmaker and photographer, recognizes that her job is considered the most dangerous in the world and that a single mistake could cost her her life.  She is pictured above in a cave in Abaco in the Bahamas.

Jill, a filmmaker and photographer, recognizes that her job is considered the most dangerous in the world and that a single mistake could cost her her life. She is pictured above in a cave in Abaco in the Bahamas.

“I have been overwhelmed with grief over the deaths of countless colleagues, some of whom made unwise choices in the darkness of underwater cave systems.

“Their names were added to a long list of divers who ran out of air, got lost in a maze, or ventured too far into a new exploration before turning back.”

“(But) for a filmmaker and photographer, underwater caves represent the ultimate challenge: I create art while monitoring delicate survival equipment during tasks that push my mind and body to their limits. Despite the risk, I’m like a kid in a candy store, working with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our limited supplies of fresh water. Probe the planet’s underground paths.

“Through training, preparation and dedication to proper safety procedures, I have maintained a nearly 30-year career in exploration and science. It would be arrogant to say that I would never make a mistake or a bad choice that could cost me my life, but I believe that following the ultimate rule for survivors can help. Be prepared to take risks. Be prepared to push the boundaries of what is possible. Be bold and confident in everything you do in life.

Jill (above) says: “Be prepared to take risks.  Be prepared to push the boundaries of what is possible.  Be bold and confident in everything you do in life.

Jill (above) says: “Be prepared to take risks. Be prepared to push the boundaries of what is possible. Be bold and confident in everything you do in life.

Jill is pictured here in Ginnie Springs, Florida.  She reveals:

A cave called “The Pit” in Yucata, Mexico

LEFT: Jill is pictured here in Ginnie Springs, Florida. She reveals: “I have lived near here for over a decade and have completed hundreds of dives in the caves here. » RIGHT: A cave called “The Pit” in Yucata, Mexico

The Explorers Club member who has dived everywhere from Egypt to Antarctica and Mexicoexplains how she stays alive.

She writes: “When I am stuck in a claustrophobic cave underwater, in the darkness of total siltation, I must find the calm necessary to take the next best step towards survival.

“If a rock traps me, I use logic to figure out how to free myself. If the safety guideline is broken, I methodically deploy my cave diving reel and repair the broken guideline.

“I have to do all these things without panic. Every breath I take should be measured and calm. I need to keep my heart rate low and focus on the next best course of action.

Jill explores an unusual watering hole in a hyper-saline lake in Egypt.  She says, “Through training, preparation and dedication to proper safety procedures, I have maintained a nearly 30-year career in exploration and science.  »

Jill explores an unusual watering hole in a hyper-saline lake in Egypt. She says, “Through training, preparation and dedication to proper safety procedures, I have maintained a nearly 30-year career in exploration and science. »

“Uncontrolled emotions will not serve me in this life-threatening situation. They will only distract me from success and consume valuable air.

“(And) when the hairs stand up on your neck, alerting you to the danger that awaits you, you must be willing to let go.” When you reach the tempting mountain peak or set out for a new exploration in a pristine cave, remember that you also need to return home safely.

“Knowing when to turn around is as essential as accepting fear.”

Adventuress: Women Exploring the Wild by Carolina Amell (Prestel) is available now for £39.99/$55

Adventurer: Women Exploring Nature by Carolina Amell (Prestel) is available now, priced £39.99/$55

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