The Great Island Expedition

Born from a mutual love of Canada's east coast, RCGS Explorer in Residence Jill Heinerth and Fellow Russell Clark, along with Rick Stanley and John Olivero of Ocean Quest will be leading a two week expedition around the 'Great Island'. We will dive the unique and stunning Gadd’s Wall in Gros Morne National Park, document the rarely visited historic shipwrecks of the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux, and we will end by exploring the four WWII shipwrecks sunk off the coast of Bell Island. We will also be laying a commemorative reef on site at the USS Truxtun in recognition of the lives lost during that event of historical significance. The expedition will be filmed by Russell, Jill and Maxwel Hohn as part of a forthcoming documentary.


Expedition of the year 2022

The Great Island Expedition is one of the RCGS supported expeditions of the year


Jill Heinerth

Canada's first 'Explorer in Residence', a best selling author, one of the world's most accomplished explorers, and a splendid lady!


Russell Clark

That's me. I fell in love with Bell Island, Newfoundland, and all the people there soon as I landed. I can't wait to share it with everyone!


Rick Stanley

Newfoundlands premiere ocean advocate and a man that opens his heart, and world to all that he travels with. Extended family. 


John Olivero

The Chief Happiness Officer for Ocean Quest (and the east coast!). Johnny is the laughter and hard work of the expedition.

Explore. Document. Share.

This expedition is not your average dive trip. We will be a self contained group of explorers number around a dozen, we will tow our own twin engine zodiacs, and we will have our own compressors for filling tanks. We will be moving and diving as we make around the island, stopping along the way to learn the island's history, to meet the locals, and share with them stories of exploration and Newfoundland's past. Public outreach is a big part of the expedition, and why t has been named one of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's "expeditions of the year", it has also earned a sponsorship from Mountain Equipment Co-op, which we are incredibly grateful for. We look forward to sharing out adventures, stories, explorations and discoveries with a unique documentary at the end of 2022, and a feature article in DIVER magazine in 2023.