Book Review: Into The Planet – by Jill Heinerth
Read an exclusive Into The Planet interview with Jill Heinerth in the forthcoming fall issue of DIVER!
Review by DIVER Editor, Russell Clark
Into The Planet – My Life as a Cave Diver isn’t a book about diving, it’s a book about exploring. Exploring our underwater caves and oceans, exploring our own potential, our limits, passions and relationships. Into The Planet is a hugely enjoyable, inspiring, and thrilling self-exploration of the life of Jill Heinerth, one of the world’s greatest living explorers.
This isn’t a book just for scuba divers though, it’s a story that will resonate and envelope anyone interested in adventure.
In case you are unfamiliar with Jill Heinerth, she is a revered cave diver, respected author, acclaimed photographer and filmmaker, DIVER Contributing Editor, and the first ever Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Into The Planet is a book a lifetime in the making, and a very unique life it is.
Her memoir focuses on a small selection of expeditions, detailing a remarkable balance of self control, self confidence, life preserving fear, and adventurous curiosity.
After a captivating introduction, an unexpected and chilling home invasion gets pages turning quickly. The lure of underwater caves brings things back to a more relaxing pace, before an incident in rural Mexico has you reading faster than ever. The book finishes with a nail biting (and world’s first), cave dive inside an iceberg. Clive Cussler couldn’t think this stuff up!
Jill delicately weaves her personal life throughout the book – her family, former business partners, first marriage, and loss of friends. All done with a dignified respect for the people involved, whilst opening a window into her soul that others may be too afraid to immortalize in print.
Heinerth also manages to avoid turning this into a series of dive logs. Though there is much for an avid diver to take away, it’s more about the journey than the gas time remaining. Where Into The Planet really shines is its ability to make you hold up a mirror to yourself. Maybe it makes you question your diving practices, maybe your life choices. It provokes inner thinkings that will linger long after you finish reading.
In a time where fame can be achieved by the amount of Instagram followers you have, it is comforting to know explorers not only have their place, but are still held in high regard. This book should make Jill a household name in a similar vein to astronaut Chris Hadfield. Into The Planet is a calling card to those outside of diving, a notice that there are still people boldly going where no-one has gone before. These explorers and adventurers deserve more attention, not for money or peer approval, but because what they do is important for the evolution of our planet, and our species.
To plagiarize the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, does it make a sound?” – if an explorer discovers something new but can’t communicate it, has it truly been discovered? Jill stands head and shoulders above others, not just because of where she has been and what she has seen, but because of the way she communicates her story – through educational outreach, photography, film, and now the expertly crafted Into The Planet – My Life as a Cave Diver.
Part of the fun and excitement of discovery is being able to share it with someone. Into The Planet is Jill sharing those adventures and discoveries with her readers in a very humble, and grateful way. It is a book that once finished, will make you grab your shoes and head out the door eager to embark upon your own adventure. It empowers with the basic premise that anyone can be an explorer.
We can only hope this is the first in a series of memoirs from Jill. I know she has many more stories to tell, and many more to new ones yet to experience.
Into The Planet is released on August 20th, and we highly recommend you venture ‘into a bookstore’ to buy a copy.
USA readers can pre-order a copy here.
Canadian readers can pre-order a copy here.
Also available on Amazon or through your local book store.
Learn more about Jill Heinerth here.