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The List: 10 things physician, undersea explorer and author Joe MacInnis can’t live without

Joe MacInnis Joe MacInnis

1 | My customized hard hat
I co-led an expedition to the Titanic in 1991. Everyone on board needed a hard hat, so I decided as long as I’m going to wear this bloody thing I might as well add some zip to it. I had three flags painted on it: Russian, American and Canadian, representing the three countries on
that dive.

2 | My Norco
It’s old and heavy—the Model-T of mountain bikes. I cycle everywhere, so I need a bike that can take the punishment.Joe MacInnis

3 | My Red-Zone man purse
In the places I work, you have to be prepared for emergencies. This bag has everything I need in case disaster strikes: first-aid kit, Leatherman, water, stuff like that.

Joe MacInnis4 | My anchor
I inherited this chain link from the HMS Bounty from my first mentor at National Geographic, Edwin Link. It was given to him by Louis Marden, who discovered the wreck
in 1957.

Joe MacInnis

5 | My indestructible Rolex
In 1968, I worked for the U.S. Navy’s Sealab III project, studying how deep under the ocean people could work. Rolex gave me a prototype Sea-Dweller diving watch. Five years ago I lent it to my friend, the astronaut Dave Williams, and it circled the earth with him. Otherwise, it has never left my wrist.

Joe MacInnis6 | My flag
I used this flag on my Arctic expeditions. I led 10 over a period of 13 years to learn how to dive safely under the polar ice pack. It was dangerous work. The flag also came on my latest expedition—the deepest solo dive ever—in the Western Pacific with James Cameron.

7 | My hero’s autograph
I met Buzz Aldrin on a scuba diving trip a few years ago, and we became friends. I saw him again at a conference in Washington, where he was talking about his ideas for going to Mars, and he signed a copy of the book Full Moon: “Joe, go deep.” I sleep with it under my pillow.Joe MacInnis

8 | My music
One of my daughters turned me on to the Barr Brothers. She took me to a show at the basement of The Drake and I thought they were great. Plus, they make me feel younger and hipper than I am.

Joe MacInnis9 | My favourite coffee mug
Two years ago, the Canadian Forces sent me to Afghanistan to interview soldiers on the subject of leadership for a book I was working on. The Special Forces guys knocked me over with their insights and intelligence. They gave me this mug as I was leaving, and it reminds me of the exceptional work they’re doing.

10 | The Brick Works
Geoff Cape believed in this great idea—an oasis of green in the city—and fought for years to make the Brick Works happen. He’s on my long list of environmental heroes. I live nearby and go there all the time.

(Images: Liam Mogan)

  • Ellen

    He sounds like a cool guy.

  • Jane

    Am I reading this correctly? He sleeps with a book under his pillow?

  • Mike

    Sounds like a windbag to me. Nice scarf cowboy.