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Underwater Explorer Jill Heinerth Wins Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal

Pioneering underwater explorer Jill Heinerth has been awarded the inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Heinerth, a Suunto brand ambassador, received the prestigious award at Ottawa’s Museum of Civilization on November 13th in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of exploration.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized with such a significant award in my home country. I’m proud to join the ranks of the remarkable Canadian explorers who came before me,” Heinerth said in a statement issued by Suunto.

Heinerth has been at the forefront of underwater exploration for almost 20 years. An award-winning filmmaker, her other accolades include being named a “Living Legend” by Sport Diver Magazine and induction into the exclusive New York Explorers Club.

More recently, Heinerth has taken to environmental causes. Earlier this year, she cycled almost 7,000km across Canada with her husband in aid of her We Are Water project, which aims to raise awareness of the dwindling supply of fresh water in the world.

Mika Holappa, business unit director for Suunto Dive, said: “We are very leased to see Jill honored for her achievements and proud to be a supporter of her projects.”

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John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.