Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Expeditions:Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Expedition Team

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Expedition Team and Scientists

The Cousteau team has been on expeditions almost continuously for the past sixty years. Team members have come and gone and many have come back continuously for the next adventure. This list represents those team members who have been a part of the past, the present and may well be a part of future expeditions. Voyage to Kure aired on PBS May 2006

Explorer, environmentalist, educator, film producer---for more than four decades Jean-Michel Cousteau has communicated to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work and to honor his heritage. Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media, producing over 75 films, receiving Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the 7 d'Or, and the Cable Ace Award, and authoring hundreds of articles and several books. Jean-Michel travels the globe, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and business, educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change.

An award-winning cinematographer, Paul Atkins brings unparalleled experience to Voyage to Kure. His recent projects have included the 2002 National Geographic Explorer episode, "Secret Killers of Monterey Bay," and the National Geographic Special "Dolphins: The Wild Side" which received an Emmy nomination in 2000. He has worked on numerous projects for National Geographic, BBC/Discovery Channel, CBS, NBC, ABC/Kane and PBS. His awards have included Emmys for "Great White Shark" and "Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise," numerous Emmy nominations, four CINE Golden Eagles, as well as awards at the Jackson Hole Film Fest and the New York Film Festival.

Ed is truly a "man of the sea," having spent his entire life "in it, on it, or studying it." He was inspired to commit his life to helping protect its precious resources at a very early age, influenced by watching countless episodes of the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. Professionally, Ed has made good on his promise to care for the ocean. He joined Ocean Futures Society in 2002, after serving for over two years as Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM). Prior to joining SBMM, Ed was manager of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He became a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps in 1986, and has conducted marine mammal, fisheries, and oceanographic research. As Vice President of Exploration and Expeditions, Ed is responsible for designing, organizing and implementing Jean-Michel Cousteau's exploration initiatives. Ed is also responsible for the development of a global program addressing the health and sustainability of our ocean resources. Ed makes his home in Santa Barbara, California with his wife Donna, and daughter Tara Rose, who, like her dad, loves the ocean. When asked about what he likes best about going to sea on expedition, his response was "the team work – without a doubt! It takes the entire team, both land and sea-based, as well as family support, to make an expedition successful. Now if I could only convince Nature to cooperate and provide us a fair wind and a following sea!"

It is rare to find a person with the intellect and persistence to manage a film project as complex as Voyage to Kure, and yet have the sensitivity and insight to create a film that will touch the emotions of viewers. Producer Nancy Cook is one of those rare people. Nancy has had a lifelong commitment to the environment and brings this passion to every project she handles. Nancy has a diverse background, highlighted by many successes. She has worked in academia, publishing, software development, and manufacturing. She has unique experience in managing national and international events and she has a reputation for "pulling off the impossible." Nancy says "Through the efforts of Jacques Cousteau, there was an uprising of concern for protecting the environment. In recent years, we have loss that focus. I think the time has come again for people to start remembering and understanding the impact that all human beings have on our earth. My hope is that this television special will inspire the next generation to do a better job of taking care of the environment that we did." Nancy makes her home in Marina, California with her husband, Michael, an oceanographer, and her children, Christina and Kevin.

Matt is our team "Zenmaster," serving as a calm, cool voice of reason both above and below the water. His positive, patient attitude developed from his journeys to far off places, including trekking in Nepal, as well as several years of working as a golf pro! His responsibilities include conducting location and background research for Voyage to Kure, marine operations, DV camera/lighting operations, and digital and 35 mm still photography to document the expedition. Matt graduated from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 1999 with a degree in Earth System Sciences and Policy, with an emphasis in natural systems modeling and policy. During his education at CSUMB, he had the opportunity to work with Congressman Sam Farr, furthering the goal of protecting the resources found in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Matt's passion for ocean exploration and conservation stems from growing up on the shores of the Monterey Peninsula where he studied marine sciences at Hopkins Marine Station and Moss Landing Marine Labs, and where he learned to dive ten years ago. After spending many hours aboard 65-95' vessels and hundreds of hours under water, Matt's diving related skills have grown to include rigging, surface supplied diving (utilizing the Superlite series, Band Masks, and the EXO), decompression chamber operation, small boat handling, topside/underwater cable tending, and underwater lighting. Although a top-notch golfer, Matt now prefers to spend time in the winter enjoying his new, favorite pastime – snowboarding!

Dr. Elizabeth Flint is the Supervisory Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and Seabird Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Refuges. Her primary duties include monitoring populations of the 25 species of seabirds nesting at the refuges and planning and implementing the biological monitoring, research, recovery, restoration, and management programs relating to all terrestrial and marine, plant and animal species in the Pacific Remote Islands complex. She directs, facilitates, and evaluates studies of seabirds, land birds, plant communities, alien species, and insular ecosystems at 15 refuge islands and atolls throughout the tropical Pacific. In addition to serving on many advisory boards, Beth has conducted research on the physiological ecology, behavior, and eradication of island invasive species, as well as the management of seabirds in the central tropical Pacific, the Bering Sea, California, and the Sea of Cortez. After teaching at UCLA, University of Montana, and Colby College, she joined the Fish and Wildlife Service to work on problems in management, conservation biology, and the ecology of insular systems. Beth was onshore waiting for the Ocean Futures Society crew to arrive. She didn't, however, warn them that many of the birds like to perch on crew members' heads.

Within one year of her first dive in Monterey Bay, Ronda Friend had sold her successful catering business in Santa Cruz and moved to the Cayman Islands to pursue both her and her newfound love of diving. Working as the chef for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Marine Studies Program, she was introduced to the importance of reef studies and preservation. She did not leave the Cayman Islands for another year before returning to California to head up marketing for Oceanic USA. While in Cayman, Ronda was ranked by Rodales Magazine as the number one live-aboard chef worldwide. During her time in Cayman, she learned to study a reef from a biologist's perspective, spending hours studying coral and fish interactions in just a small area of reef. Later she was able to travel the world, diving coral reefs from the Galapagos to Papua New Guinea, cooking much of the way. She has spent in excess of a year running exploratory expeditions out of Milne Bay, photographing and charting new dive sites throughout the Louisade Archipelego. Recognizing how the chef's role is key to an expedition's success and feeling the urge once more to explore another of the ocean's pristine reefs, she gladly signed on as Ocean Futures Society's chef. Mother of three grown daughters and four grandchildren, the most she feels she can pass on is a love and respect of the world's oceans and reefs.

Working as a Cameraman for three years and as a film and video Camera Assistant for the past 10 years, Mark is highly experienced with 35mm and 16mm film formats, High Definition, Beta and DV. He has extensive work experience from series and reality television, national commercials, music videos, and documentaries. His technical specialties include Steadicam, helicopter aerials, hot heads, jib arms, and underwater filming. His feature film work includes the Matrix 2 and 3 and Pearl Harbor among many others. Mark's work for National Geographic and ABC Kane, with Director of Photography Paul Atkins, has kept him in the water looking for killer whales and tsunamis and has taken him to the exotic waters of Palau and now the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the Ocean Futures Society crew. When Mark's not diving deep, he's flying high as a glider pilot, a paraglider and most recently, as a helicopter pilot.

Few cameramen can say that they have worked with Jacques Cousteau, David Doubilet, Howard and Michele Hall, Peter Benchley, and Jean-Michel Cousteau, but Yves Lefevre has captured images for them all, and predicted the whereabouts of marine life when only an empty horizon was visible. Voyage to Kure will draw on all his skills each time he slips below the surface and this expedition will test the latest advances in diving technology and photographic equipment. This is again the unknown, with which Yves is clearly comfortable. In 1985, he opened the Raie Manta Club, the first dive shop in the Tuamoto archipelago of French Polynesia, famous for its schooling sharks and Yves has been sharing his discoveries ever since. Yves can do the research, write the story, capture the images, and write a book about the experience. He knows boats and cameras and sharks and the people who want to learn about them. In group photos, look for Yves to be the one in the wetsuit with a camera in one hand, ready to go.

Jonathan, the Captain of Searcher, has a Master's Degree from Univ. of Rhode Island in Resource Economics specializing in fisheries, and a Law degree from the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder focusing in Environmental Law. As the Captain of Searcher he has been involved in research projects in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Equator. When not out at sea, he serves as the Research Director for The Center for a Sustainable Future, and as a trustee of The Medical Foundation for the Study of the Environment. Jonathan has always had a love of the ocean. He was born in San Diego and learned to swim by 8 months old. Being raised in Hawaii, he developed a passion for surfing, fishing, and scuba diving and somehow managed to become an advance snowboarder. The pleasure he derives from being 'part' of the ocean caused him to focus his education, and his work, on bringing an awareness to others of it's value.

Holly is a marine biologist with a degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has been diving around the world with Jean-Michel Cousteau for over a decade. Holly is apart of the expedition team, serving as a key liaison between the expedition team and scientists and is responsible for confirming the factual accuracy of the content of Ocean Futures Society documentaries. Also a marine educator, Holly has educated thousands of children and adults about the wonders and fragility of the marine environment and the importance to protect them for future generations. Overlooking the Pacific, Holly and her 4 year old son, make their home in Summerland California.

Voyage to Kure not only involves mounting an expedition, it also requires expertise in storytelling, both in images and information. Producer Gary Lopez knows what to look for and why it's important--he has a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institute, one of the finest oceanographic research institutions. Having produced and/or written more than 30 educational films and television programs and over 100 Public Service Announcements, Gary has a broad background in documentary filmmaking. His films have won numerous awards including seven CINE Golden Eagles, three American Film Festival Awards, and two National Educational Film Festival Awards. His clients have included The Cousteau Society, Corporation for Public Broadcast, British Broadcasting Corporation, and Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition he has produced and/or designed more than 20 multimedia software titles and served as CEO of two large software companies. Whatever the unknown holds on the way to Kure, Gary will be able to tell the story.

Dr. Maragos completed his Ph.D in Oceanography at the University of Hawai'i in 1972. He did his post doctoral work on coral reefs at the University in 1973-1974. Dr. Maragos spent the next 15 years, traveling and working throughout the Pacific as the head of the environmental office, Pacific Ocean Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He became the chief scientist for the Pacific Region for the Nature Conservancy from 1991 to 1993, a Senior Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu until 1999. He is now a Coral Reef Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Maragos is one of the few experts on atoll ecology in the world.

Returning to the Hawaiian Islands is a homecoming for Nan. She brings her love of nature and the ocean and especially of the Hawaiian Islands as she lived and raised two children for 22 years here 13 years ago. Since 1986 she has supported the work of Jean-Michel and his family by representing Marine artists on Maui. Living out in the Pacific on the Hawaiian Islands was natural for a Pacific Northwest native raised camping, hiking, and traveling the United States and Canada with her family. From Marine art to antiquarian atlases and maps, Nan is a specialist of the early European Pacific Navigators, Cook, La Perouse, and Vancouver and offers a specialty of historical expeditions of centuries past. After years spent in Hawaii, Nan could not pass up this opportunity of a lifetime to venture out further into the Pacific to the NWHI. Since 1991, Nan has devoted and volunteered her time and energy personally to Jean-Michel and to the success of his educational, environmental, and cultural projects and programs. She continues to travel worldwide with Jean-Michel as a member of his team representing Ocean Futures Society as an International Advisory Council member.

A Cousteau diver since 1994, Blair Mott is a man of many talents. As Ocean Futures' Chief Diver, his skills have enabled him to dive, lead and supervise dive teams in over 45 different countries in a vast array of diving conditions and configurations: deep air, decompression, mixed gas, trimix, gas technician, safety diver, full face mask, helmet, semi and closed re-breathers, drift, extreme cold, and commercial. He is responsible for training the expedition team in advanced diving techniques, helps design, test and maintain a wide variety of marine operations equipment, including scuba gear, boats, zodiacs, boats, underwater cameras, lights – just about anything you can think of! A graduate of Santa Barbara City College's world-renowned marine technology program, Blair has hands-on expertise in real-world aspects of diving and how to manage the risks associated, including courses in mixed gas diving; emergency medical training and certification; undersea vehicle operation; hyperbaric chamber operation & supervision; undersea welding & cutting; and a full complement of rescue as well as advanced diving courses. He has logged over 5000 hours under water, including time spent working on the Keiko Project in Iceland. Severe North Atlantic winter storms during Blair's tenure damaged Ocean Futures' floating facility for Keiko, making it necessary for him to log 100 commercial dives in a 28 day period in one month alone! Known to the team as "B," Blair's talents don't stop at diving. Above water, he serves as the team's official Toastmaster – his humorous and heartfelt extemporaneous speeches enliven company meetings and social gatherings! When he's not under water, Blair spends his spare time refining his skateboarding moves along Santa Barbara's waterfront. Told you this guy was good!

Some of the beautiful above and below-water images you see on the Ocean Futures Society website, in brochures books and other printed works, are credited to the artistic eye of Tom Ordway. Tom serves as our Still Photographer and is a member of the Voyage to Kure Expedition team. Tom has been a diver since 1986, when he was certified while still in high school. Soon after he started diving, he incorporated his love for photography with his new love for the ocean. Self-taught, he began a quest to learn more about underwater photography. He enrolled at the famed Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA, and later interned under the direction of Jean-Michel Cousteau, spending time documenting environmental activities in the Fiji Islands. After receiving his degree in Industrial/Scientific and Color Technology in 1994, Tom began working with Jean-Michel on a variety of projects. Tom's work encompasses many other responsibilities requiring his technical expertise. He is developing an extensive library of digital images on marine life from around the world and serves as the organization’s computer system/network administrator for both MAC and PC-based systems. Tom is married to Jodi, a flight attendant with Delta Airlines. They are new proud parents of baby Olivia, who often visits her daddy and the OFS team. When he's not balancing his baby daughter in the palm of one hand, while holding either a computer or a camera in the other, Tom enjoys playing golf and scoring in the '70's!

Tove brings an energetic, international flair to the Ocean Futures Society expedition team. She has a lovely Australian accent after many years of being based in Sydney, but she is actually a native of Norway! Her role during the Voyage to Kure expedition is to serve as logistics specialist for Ocean Futures Society’s Marine Operations group. Since the age of 18, Tove has been exploring the world's oceans in various capacities. She is a certified ROV operator with Deep Ocean Engineering and has logged thousands of dives conducting commercial work and search and recovery. She has also served as an art department diver building film sets under water, filming hulls of ships and inspecting equipment in harbors. Tove has credits on more than 40 film and TV productions in the capacity of underwater camera operator, safety diver or as a stunt performer. The expeditions have taken her as far a field as the Norwegian Arctic, the Antarctic, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Caribbean, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Irian Jaya, Great Barrier Reef, Cocos Island, and the Galapagos. Like her Ocean Futures teammates, Tove loves the great outdoors, spending her free time rock climbing, hiking and roller-blading. She loves Thai food and knitting, partaking in both as a loyal member of the OFS Wednesday night knitting group!

Behind every stunning bit of film is a discerning eye, a cameraman who understood the importance or beauty of a fleeting moment. Born to a French family in Hong Kong and growing up on the pristine beaches of the Philippines, Antoine Rosset has that eye. He spent a childhood living the beach-bound adventures of Robinson Carusoe, walking in the surf, swimming the waves, and observing scenes of oceanic beauty. As a resident of Normandy in France, Antoine spends the time traveling in his darkroom, developing his photography, often in order to send images back to those people who are the subjects of his camera but never have the chance to see themselves. He believes in giving back and one way is to work on missions like Voyage to Kure and for Ocean Futures Society. "To me, the name Cousteau signifies the dream of exploration and the dream of communicating the adventure for a purpose," Rosset believes. "I'm proud to be part of the realization of that dream." Possessed of a restless energy, Rosset is always on the lookout, but realizes that with this expedition, it's hard to watch for the unknown. But those are the challenges he loves, and he'll be reporting back.

If you've ever wondered how Ocean Futures Society film expeditions run so smoothly and safely, Jean-Michel Cousteau is the first to say that Don Santee, Expedition Leader, is "the man, our kahuna of diving!" Don has worked for over three decades, side by side with both Jean-Michel and Jacques Cousteau. He is known for his ease in wearing many different hats - Production Manager, coordinating expeditions, film logistics, research, scouting dive sites, expedition medical officer, underwater photographer for books and magazines, and has worked on over 18 television documentaries. His travels have taken him to Alaska, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Cape Horn, Antarctica, the Amazon, Cambodia and the Galapagos, as well as many other exotic, distant shores. Don is also responsible for training the Cousteau team on advanced technical dive procedures and is highly experienced in working with state-of-the-art closed circuit rebreathers. And, in his copious spare time, he assists Jean-Michel with designing innovative dive equipment. This guy never sleeps! When asked what makes a good expedition leader, Don will take his time before thoughtfully answering, in his calm, laid-back way..."hmmm, yesiree, sure now...flexibility, attention to detail, and most of all, a sense of humor!" Don makes his home in Santa Barbara with his wife, Hillary, an avid ocean enthusiast and diver, and son Edward, also an accomplished diver and water polo player. When he's not diving, Don enjoys a good round of golf followed by a cold brew!

Creative Director and Editor for the Ocean Adventures series, Thompson is also a writer, producer, and director of feature films and television programs. His editing credits for Ocean Adventures include Return to the Amazon, Voyage to Kure and Sharks at Risk, as well as co-editing The Gray Whale Obstacle Course and America's Underwater Treasures. His other projects have included the features Warrior Angels, with Golden Globe winner Rutger Hauer (2002, director and screenplay), and Stonebrook, with teen choice nominee Seth Green (1998, director and producer).

Often one of the most important qualities that gives a film its authenticity is the sound, and capturing it is a science. Sound engineer, recordist and sound mixer Mike Westgate started recording sound at events like sound-and-light tourist productions and fashion shows, but later found himself on a rocking boat next to great white sharks. It’s the journey that talent often takes. Mike's journey has taken him around the world on 14 feature films and 60 documentaries, including eight international expeditions with both Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau, most recently to record the film, "Sharks: At Risk" with Ocean Futures Society. Do sharks make any sounds? If they do, Mike would be the sound engineer to find out and we know he’ll be listening on "Voyage to Kure".