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Great Women in Diving : modern fearless trailblazers

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

We continue our series about women in diving

lady divers gemma smith tech diving
Gemma Smith

Jill Heinerth

Jill was the first person to dive the ice caves of Antarctica, penetrating deeper than any woman had ever been in a sunken cave. She brought back breathtaking images of the ice caves inside icebergs She was also part of the team who first made a 3D map of an underwater cave. A Canadian cave diver, explorer, writer and underwater photographer, she has participated in the making of a number of TV series and consulted on several films including James Cameron’s. She has also written several books.

Nathalie Lasselin

Trained as a director of photography, Nathalie has filmed in the most extreme environments may it be on land or under the sea, including at depths of more than 100m and in caves. She founded her own production company Pixnat which specialises in making documentaries about marine and environmental issues. Her films have received many awards and she tours the countries where they are shown to lead conferences and raise awareness on the issues covered. A true environmental activist and ocean defender, her films are a call to action.

Nathalie Lasselin ladies in diving
Nathalie Lasselin

Becky Kagan Schott

Becky is an Emmy award-winning underwater camera(wo)man, photographer and technical diving instructor. She has earned a reputation for excelling at filming in challenging environments. May these be under the ice in the Bering sea, on very deep (100m) historic wrecks in Japan and the great lakes, rappelling into caves or filming great whites without a cage. She is regularly contacted to help lead virgin wreck explorations for both her tech knowledge and her filming prowess.

Gemma Smith

Gemma is a technical and rebreather instructor, CCR cave diver and an expedition diver medical technician. She is also the first woman to dive the famous Antikythera wreck, a Roman era ship lying in 45m of water off the Greece. She was the team’s bottom diver and the 'guardian' of the acheologists during this expedition. She is a record holder for deepest rebreather dive by a British woman. She has also been an inspiration to many after she had a terrible car accident but fought hard to recover and start diving again, the whole dive community came together to fundraise for her and help with her healing.

Becky Kagan Schott ladies in diving
Becky Kagan Schott

Grace Calvert Young

Grace was named by National Geographic an emerging explorer in 2017. And it’s no small wonder, an oxford (PHD) and MIT graduate in ocean engineering, she has developed software for CERN and MIT and helped design, build, and test submersible and aerial robots for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).Robots she helped create have been deployed around the world including in Antarctica and the Artic to monitor protected areas, survey endangered species and 3D map ice caps to see the effects of climate change. She is the youngest female Aquarius aquanaut after spending 15 days underwater on Fabien Cousteau’s Mission 31. Grace is also an avid scuba diver.

Rili Djohani

Rili is the co-founder and executive director of the Coral Triangle Centre (CTC) in Bali, Indonesia. She has spent the last 20 years working to improve the management and financial sustainability of the Marine Protected Areas in South East Asia and fighting non sustainable fishing practices. She was on the team of big NGOs like WWF and TNC, before starting the CTC, which focuses on education and finding lasting solutions for the protection of reef ecosystems, sustainable lively hoods and food security across Indonesia's coral triangle area, one of the biggest and most abundant marine biodiversity hotspots in the world. Rili collaborates closely with local communities, private shareholders, NGOs government officials and other invested partners. She is a seasoned diver and it was during a dive in the coral triangle that she had an epiphany and made it her mission to save the coral reefs of Indonesia.

Thanks to Yvonne Press, founder of Dark Horizon Diving, Tech and CCR diving centre and TDI instructor training centre in Amed, Bali, Indonesia, for ideas of inspiring ladies and for being an inspiring lady herself.


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