Team Members

Rick SRick Stanley

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Rick Stanley is the multi award-winning owner of a PADI 5-Star, National Geographic dive facility and adventure resort in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland Canada. Rick has taken on the dual role of ocean conservationist and shipwreck protection advocate, ensuring that both marine life and underwater heritage sites are protected for future generations to enjoy. Rick is working on a federal application for a Historic Site nomination with Parks Canada as his legacy project. He has already worked to ensure that the Bell Island Shipwrecks were designated under the Provincial Historic Sites Commemoration Program. He is the winner of the 2004 Sustainable Tourism for NL, 2005 Sustainable Tourism award for Canada, 2011 Received special designation of the Bell Island Shipwrecks as a monument, 2012 Tourism Technology award for NL, 2014 Tourism Champion award for NL, Commendation Letter from Parks Canada Archeologist Robert Grenier for his role model efforts in preserving Canada’s underwater culture heritage.

Steve L

Steve Lewis – Expedition Team Co-Lead

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Steve Lewis is a technical diving instructor trainer, prolific author and marketing expert. He has served as Marketing and Communications director for TDI, Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) the public safety diver certifying branch of International Training. From 2010 until the present he works as an adventure travel, marketing, and training consultant for various clients in the public and private sectors. He has published dozens of articles about diving and diver training for various publications and has written several textbooks and instructor guides. He has also written The Six Skills and Other Discussions, a guide for technical divers and the very popular book Staying Alive.

Lewis is a member of The Explorers Club and in 2007 led a team that assessed the Bell Island iron ore mine for “condition, safety and feasibility” of future research. Their report provided the Bell Island Heritage Society with important information on artifacts left when mining operations ended in the 1940s.

Jill H

Jill Heinerth – Expedition Team Co-Lead

More people have walked on the moon, than have been to some of the places that Jill’s exploration has taken her right here on the earth.
From the most dangerous technical dives deep inside underwater caves,
to searching for never before seen ecosystems inside giant Antarctic icebergs, to the lawless desert border area between Egypt and Libya while a civil war raged around her, Jill’s curiosity and passion about our watery planet is the driving force in her life. In recognition of her lifetime achievement, Jill was awarded the first Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2013.
She has lead expeditions and acted as Diving Safety Director for numerous projects for National Geographic and television networks worldwide. An underwater photo-journalist, she has been responsible for documentation of expeditions around the world for over 20 years.
Jill is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club and an inductee in the inaugural class of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.
She received the Wyland ICON Award, an honor she shares with several of her underwater heroes including Jacques Cousteau, Robert Ballard and Dr. Sylvia Earle. She was named a “Living Legend” by Sport Diver Magazine and selected as Scuba Diving Magazine’s “Sea Hero of the Year 2012.”
Jill’s website showcases her photography and international speaking engagements.

Gemma Smith

Gemma started diving in 2008 and has been diving professionally for 4 years. She has logged over 2000 dives in caves and open water using both open and closed circuit equipment.

She completed her diver training through the PADI system and in 2012 she qualified as a PADI instructor and began teaching full time, working her way up to Master SCUBA Diver Trainer and earning Elite Instructor status in 2015.

Gemma has received two PADI commendations for teaching excellence.

During this period Gemma also began developing her Technical Diving skills, training up to Hypoxic Trimix Open and Closed Circuit and Full Cave Open and Closed Circuit.

Gemma worked as an instructor full time at one of the Caribbean’s busiest Technical Diving centres, Dive Tech Grand Cayman, during which time she was lead guide on one of the Inner Space boats, guided Technical dives, became an IANTD CCR Instructor and was bottom diver on a 150 metre camera test dive for housing manufacturer Nauticam.

Over the past year she has specialised in Cave diving, assisting in 9 separate cave classes and becoming an IANTD Introductory Cave Instructor for both Open and Closed Circuit.

Gemma has trained extensively in Diving related first aid qualifying as a First Person On Scene (FPOS), HSE First Aid At Work and Diver Medical Technician (DMT).

As an educator Gemma has trained, supervised and guided divers from groups such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), and the US National Parks Service.

Throughout the last year Gemma has been a team diver and team medic working on joint projects between WHOI and the Greek Ephorate of Antiquities including the Mentor Wreck in Kythera and the Antikythera Mechanism wreck in Antikythera.

In 2015 Gemma received the Suunto Guiding Star from Cristina Zenato and took it with her on a 2.2 kilometre penetration to surface the Bivouac Chamber of the Emergence de Ressel in France.

Cas DCas Dobbin

A Newfoundland native, Cas Dobbin is a diving instructor, underwater photographer and a commissioning and startup specialist. His work in the oil and gas industry includes development and implementation of safety and emergency procedures, supervision and project management, working in high risk environments, performing risk assessments on critical activities, coordination of various disciplines to safely meet deadlines and achieve project milestones.

Most recently Cas has been trained at the instructor level in the Diving Emergency Management Provider program offered by Divers Alert Network, a highly regarded dive safety organization.

Over a 10 year career Cas has developed into a leader, mentor and role model in an industrial setting, this has carried over into his work in diving and exploration. His diverse technical abilities and safety supervisory experience in addition to his experience in cave diving and underwater lighting and photography are a perfect compliment to the team.

Johnny OJohn Olivero

Residing in Newfoundland, John Olivero is a professional adventurer, leading cultural history, diving and eco tourism trips that introduce visitors to outdoor adventures in Newfoundland. He is a diving instructor and cave diver, boat captain, expedition safety specialist, outdoor guide and cultural historian. He leads visitors on ocean based eco-tours while describing and even singing about Newfoundland’s unique culture. John Olivero has served as a safety specialist, diver and camera operator supporting numerous television specials and scientific expeditions in Newfoundland including preliminary exploration of the Bell Island Mine in 2015.

Sabin KSabine Kerkau

Shine has been diving since 1986. She has dived all over the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in the lake of Baikal in Russia but also on the dry Tortugas, Philippines and Indonesia. She writes for numerous magazines in the German language including TAUCHEN, WETNOTES and TAUCHER Revue. She is also a speaker at international conferences. Sabine has also explored many submerged mines around the world including:

Tuna Hastberg, Sweden

Kobanya, Hungary

Ojamo, Finland

Nutlar, Christine, Schwalefeld, and Felsendome Rabestein, Germany

Uranium mine, Poland

Opal mine Slowakia

as well as several hundred wrecks and caves down to 100+m deep.

Phil SPhil Short

Phil has been diving professionally and exploring for 20 years and has logged over 6000 dives in caves and open water using both open and closed circuit equipment.

He started diving in 1990 from a background of dry caving and climbing and at first only completed diver training to pass short flooded sections of dry caves in Mendip and South Wales. He then continued his diver training through the PADI system with Course Director Steve Axtell and in 1991 he qualified as a PADI instructor and began teaching full time, working his way up to Master Instructor.

During this period Phil continued cave diving and began developing his Technical Diving skills through training with Kevin Gurr and in 1993 was involved in forming one of the first Trimix wreck diving teams in the UK. He is now one of the UK’s foremost IANTD Instructor Trainer Trainers and the Training director of IANTD UK in addition to being a member of the IANTD HQ Board of Advisors.

Having devoted all his free time to developing his Technical skills, Phil began to use them for cave diving, his true passion, on expeditions to Mallorca, France, Spain, Canada, Russia, Greece and Mexico. At the same time, he began teaching first open then closed circuit technical and cave diving full time for Phoenix Oceaneering.

Over the years, Phil has been involved in film projects for ITV, BBC, Discovery and Channel 4 on the M1 submarine, the shipwrecks from the battle of Jutland and cave diving projects in Northern Spain ‘The Road to Certain Death’, the UK ‘Secret Underground’ and Southern Mexico ‘Curiosity. The Cave’ along with training the presenters and assisting in the BBC series ‘Oceans’.

He has also taken part as a closed circuit rebreather diver in several shipwreck search projects in the Western Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.

As an educator Phil has trained diver from groups such as the HSE, BBC, Police Dive teams, DSTL, NOAA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), the Archaeological department of the National Museum of China and the US National Parks Service.

For the last five years Phil has ben a team diver and Dive Safety Officer for a combined WHOI and Greek Ephorate of Antiquities project to rediscover, survey and excavate the Antikythera Mechanism wreck in Greece.

After completion of a 3 month cave exploration project with Bill Stone, where 45 days were spent underground, Phil became a member of the Explorers Club.

Dawn KDawn Kernagis

Dr. Dawn Kernagis is a biomedical researcher and has been a diver (including cave, technical and free diving) since 1993.

Dawn is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), where she is developing new ways to optimize performance and resilience for humans operating in extreme environments, such as undersea divers, high altitude aviators and astronauts. She is also a member of the Department of Defense’s Genetic and Synthetic Biology Research Advisory Committee.

In 2008, Dawn became the first Predoctoral Award recipient from the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Undersea Medicine Program while completing her PhD at Duke University. Following her initial ONR project, Dawn received two additional awards from ONR for research on the genetics of decompression sickness and the mechanisms of CNS oxygen toxicity in divers. Dawn has also worked with numerous diving biomedical projects at Duke, DAN, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

From 1996 – 2007, Dawn was a diver and manager with the deep underwater cave exploration team, the Woodville Karst Plain Project. She managed multiple world record-breaking deep cave dives, including the historic connection and swim-through cave dives between Turner Sink and Wakulla Springs in 2007. She was a diver and consultant for Project Merida (cave exploration in Mexico), Ocean Discovery (exploration of Baltic shipwrecks), Project Alviela (cave exploration in Portugal), and the Nesbitt Springs Project (cave exploration in the Ozark Mountains).

Dawn is a mentor and a member of the Board of Directors for Water Women Inc., founder and director of Project Pink Tank, and a volunteer with the Rubicon Foundation. She was also the first Operations Manager for Global Underwater Explorers. Based on her career in underwater exploration and research, Dawn was featured as a ‘Mentor’ in Jill Henierth and Renee Power’s book ‘Women Underwater’ and has been selected as a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.

Neal PNeal Pollock

Neal is a Canadian academic and diver. Born in Edmonton, Canada he completed a bachelor’s degree in zoology; the first three years at University of Alberta and the final year at the University of British Columbia. After completing a Master’s degree he then served as diving officer at University of British Columbia for almost five years. He then moved to Florida and completed a doctorate in exercise physiology/environmental physiology at Florida State University. Neal is the Research Director at Divers Alert Network, a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology at Duke University Medical Center, a member of the Board of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of Divewise, chair of the International Breath Hold Blackout Task Force, and a member of Editorial Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine.

His academic training is in zoology/marine science, exercise physiology and environmental physiology; his research interests focus on human health and safety in extreme environments. Neal developed and maintains a breath-hold incident database for DAN that includes cases from 2004 forward. Summaries and case reports have appeared in DAN annual reports since 2005 and a variety of other publications. Neal co-organised and edited the proceedings of the 2005 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society / Divers Alert Network ‘Diabetes and Recreational Diving: Guidelines For The Future Workshop. He co-chaired the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society / Divers Alert Network 2006 breath-hold workshop and co-edited the proceedings published from that meeting. Neal was part of organising team behind the 2012 international safety symposium; Rebreather Forum 3 and co-edited the subsequent proceedings.

Robert ORobert Osborne

Robert Osborne is first and foremost a working journalist.  For more than 30 years he has worked for every major television network in Canada as both a producer and reporter. As part of those jobs he’s travelled around the world filming stories that have taken him from the depths of Conception Bay to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, from Haiti’s slums to Rodeo Drive. He’s met mob bosses and movie stars, rubbed elbows with the famous and infamous.

Along the way he’s indulged in his passion for scuba diving. That began in 1971 when he was 16 years old when he checked a book out of the local library called “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.” Within months of reading that book he’d certified as a NAUI open water diver with the Lahr Sub Aqua Club in West Germany. To add gravy to the whole experience, his certification took place in Bandol, France, the very place where Cousteau tested his self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Robert hold an Assistant Instructor certification from PADI, Full Cave certification from TDI as well as Advanced Nitrox and Decompression procedures certification from that same agency.

Ten years ago, Robert decided to start to combine his passion for story telling with his passion for diving. So he began to write articles for magazines. Since then he’s been a regular contributor to Diver Magazine, Scuba Diving Magazine, Diver UK, AOL Travel, Xray-magazine, as well as newspapers like The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and the National Post. Robert writes a regular column for the Huffington Post on diving.  Robert has also managed to direct, write and host several underwater documentaries.

Robert has also worked for Dam Builder Productions on documentary projects for CBC’s The Nature of Things, National Geographic’s Drug Inc., and BBC Television’s Stacey Dooley Present.  He is currently working on the development stage of a documentary with CBC’s Firsthand.

For more on Robert Osborne’s stories go to:
or  Canadian Diver also runs a Facebook Group at:

Stefanie Martina

Stefanie Martina actively supports research initiatives at Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. She gained diving physiology research experience with DAN, the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology at Duke, and initially with the US Navy Experimental Diving Unit.  She is a certified phlebotomist and trained in utilizing transthoracic echocardiography for assessment of decompression stress.

Mark McGowan

Mark retired as a Superintendent in 2013 after serving more than 36 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He has been diving professional for nearly 15 years. He is presently the training coordinator and senior instructor at Ocean Quest Adventures. He holds instructor ratings and higher from SDI, PADI and PADI TecRec. He has been recognized multiple times as a PADI Elite Instructor. Mark is a well travelled explorer who does not discriminate between the green and blue waters of our oceans. He is an avid wreck diver who proclaims the wrecks of Bell Island as some of his favourite dive sites. Mark is trained on multiple rebreathers. He was the dive safety officer for Mine Quest I .

Jack WJack Wood

Site Safety/Medic: For thirty years Jack was a a member of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, retiring in 2008 after attaining the rank of Fire Captain. He was cross-trained for the roles of firefighter/Emergency Medical/Rescue. Since 2008 he has held various posts as a health and safety advisor and instructor. Jack has successfully completed many occupational health and safety courses. He has been deemed an expert in many areas of occupational health and safety and has earned instruct ratings for many of the disciplines. He is certified as a St. John Ambulance First Aid Instructor (All Levels), Ship’s Medic A / Canadian Coast Guard (Contract Instructor 15 years) and Transport Canada – Instructor Marine Advanced First Aid Instructor. Jack is a PADI Rescue Diver Rescue. Diver.

Keith SKeith Small

Assistant Operations & Logistics Manager: Keith is the Programs and Operations Manager at Ocean Quest Adventures. His current duties and those performed in his previous employment in the retail and tourism industry provides him with a sound foundation in business operations, finance, sales, marketing, administration and human resources. In his spare time you will find him hiking, camping, kayaking or snowmobiling if he’s not hunting or fishing. Keith is an aspiring scuba diver.