Expeditions:Rangiroa Expedition Team

The Rangiroa Expedition Team

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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".