The OPS Team


Louie Psihoyos

Director

Louie Psihoyos (rhymes with Sequoias) has been widely regarded as one of the top photographers in the world. He was hired directly out of college to shoot for National Geographic and created images for the yellow-bordered magazine for 18 years. His ability to bring humanity and wit to complicated science stories carries over to his filmmaking. An ardent diver and dive photographer, he feels compelled to show the world the decline of our planet’s crucial resource, water.

He has been on contract for Fortune Magazine and shot hundreds of covers for other magazines including Smithsonian, Discover, GEO, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Rock and Ice. His work has also been seen on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television and the History Channel. Museums and private collectors around the world have sought Psihoyos' photography.

With Jim Clark, he created The Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), in 2005. The non-profit organization provides an exclusive lens for the public and media to observe the beauty as well as the destruction of the oceans, while motivating change.

With his first film, The Cove, he has touched many with his unflinching view of a dark subject. The eco-thriller has won Audience Awards at Sundance, Newport Beach and Toronto's HotDocs, as it sweeps through the festival circuit.




    Simon Hutchins
                                                            Expedition Director

Simon Hutchins grew up working in his mother’s photography studio in Toronto, before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he spent seven years as an avionics technician. Posted on Vancouver Island, he developed an interest in sailing and diving, which he continues to pursue.
An avid athlete, he has played ice hockey and golf, as well as road bike racing in premier cycling events in British Columbia. In addition to being qualified as a British Marine Coastguard Agency Master of Yachts, he is qualified on an array of technical scuba equipment, including being a Rebreather Instructor, and was a member of the 2008 Canadian National Freediving Team.
He lives with his wife, dividing his between Southern California and South Florida.



Mandy-Rae Cruickshank

FreeDiver

Mandy is a world renowned female athlete combining grit and grins. She holds numerous world records for freediving, holding her breath underwater for extended periods of time, and diving to great depths. Her mermaid-like skills have brought her media attention, she has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, Explore Magazine, Men’s Health and Fitness, Outside Magazine among others. She was prominent during David Blaine’s 2-hour ABC special, Drowned Alive, in May of 2006, when she rescued the endurance artist from his highly visible underwater stunt. She also appeared in The Mermaid Chair with Kim Basinger on The Lifetime Channel. She competes and trains others in freediving year round.

For OPS she has served as a graceful underwater reminder of human presence in the sea, slipping effortlessly through reefs and sea canyons with ease. Her iconic open-arm gesture of receiving that she offered to the massive whales serves as visual reminder of her beauty and skill.

Kirk Krack

FreeDiver

Kirk Krack is a professional freediving educator, trainer, coach and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the professional aspects of freediving education, instruction and safety. Along with his wife Mandy Rae, he has assisted in capturing much of OPS’ underwater footage.

His ability to spend extended time alongside sealife, without the use of distracting equipment makes him an asset to the team. He has worked for OPS in the Cocos Islands, the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Tahiti. Also, in Japan, he and his wife bravely assisted setting underwater recording devices in the infamous killing cove, eluding guards and police.


Charles Hambleton

Clandestine Operations

Charles was born in Miami, Florida. His father worked for Pan American Airlines, so he grew up all over the world. He studied English at Roanoke College in Virginia and Environmental Microbiology at University of Vermont. He moved to Boulder, Colorado to play music and recorded and toured extensively. Leaving the music business in 1991, he moved to London, and then to Antigua, West Indies where he still resides.

Charles has worked as a dive master, commercial diver, and sailor and with treasure hunter Scott Mitchen. Together they have discovered numerous wrecks around the Caribbean and began to salvage old growth hardwood from the Great Lakes. He is a re-breather diver, has a private pilots license, and a 200 ton Yacht Master ticket.

Back in Antigua he worked on many commercials & local film productions, and also with the Marine Department on location for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Charles also met Louie Psihoyos in Antigua, and for more than 10 years he has worked with Louie on many photography assignments. Now with OPS they continue work on their upcoming movie. In rare spare time he races his wooden sloop “Summer Cloud” throughout the Caribbean.


Joseph Chisholm

Unit Production Manager

As the overseer of all facets of production, Joe’s contribution to the OPS team is varied, yet critical. He looks after the gear and the guys. His 10-year stint overseeing large-scale events in the music and festival industry has made him indispensable in the studio, and on location. Whether it’s managing a mountain of gear’s transport, or securing a cameraman to a tree, he silently gives blood, sweat and tears, and then some. He is one of the men behind the magic who makes sense of the chaos. His many years of sailing in the Caribbean have established a love and respect for the oceans and the importance of their preservation. He is a certified open water and rebreather diver and EMT. He is an alumni of the University of Colorado at Boulder where he received a BA in Philosophy and Native American Religious Studies.


Brook Aitken

Cinematographer

Aitken is a 2nd generation director of photography. His major influence has been his father, Len, who shot a lot of docs, several winning Emmys. Brook attended CU Film School and received a BFA in film production. He shoots a lot of extreme sports, docs, music videos, and feature films. His clients include Nike, Jordan brand , Toyota, Warren miller films, National Geographic, and The Discovery Channel. He was a professional skier and kayaker. Aitken has shot jungles of Central America, cliffs of Japan, mountain tops in Alaska. His photography has had him hanging from helicopters, dangling off waterfalls. Classic adrenalin junkie behavior. www.brookaitken.com


David Rastovich

Freesurfer 

As a traveling free surfer David is part of an aspect of the surfing world that embraces a holistic attitude and maintains an intimate relationship with our environment.

Traveling through a multitude of cultures and seascapes, experiencing waves with whales and dolphins has lead him to an awareness of the interconnected nature of all life, and the delicate systems that allow this network of life to exist. It is this divine play of forces that has inspired him to co-create Surfers for Cetaceans in the hope of maintaining the balance within the oceans of this planet.

His hope also is to ignite human compassion for the Cetacean Nation and spread the joy that he feels every time he shares waves with the “people of the sea.”


Scott Baker

DNA Scientist

Scott Baker is Associate Director of the Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, in Newport, Oregon, and adjunct Professor of Molecular Ecology and Evolution in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Scott has been involved in the study of whales and dolphins for nearly 30 years, starting as an undergraduate student at New College, in Sarasota, Florida (graduated 1977) and continuing with his PhD at the University of Hawaii (completed 1985). He has acted as a delegate to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission for New Zealand or the US since 1994, and is a member of the Cetacean Specialist Group of IUCN - the World Conservation Union. He is also a member of the Society for Marine Mammal Sciences, the Royal Society of New Zealand and, since 2007, is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Heredity, which just celebrated publication of its 100th volume. Scott’s research includes both molecular and individual-based approaches to the basic and applied investigation of evolutionary pattern and process in whales and dolphins, particularly their abundance, population structure, genetic diversity and systematic relationships. His interest in the conservation of whales and dolphins lead to the first molecular surveys of ‘whalemeat’ markets in Japan in 1993. One of Scott’s recent initiatives has been to establish a web-based program for molecular identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises, www.dna-surveillance.auckland.ac.nz. As a result of developing a comprehensive collection of DNA samples, he helped discover a new species of beaked whales, Mesoplodon perrini. Scott’s current research include: demographic and genetic impacts of whaling; molecular taxonomy and applied bioinformatics for species discovery and wildlife forensics; molecular monitoring of meat from protected whales sold in commercial markets of Japan and Korea; and population structure and genetic diversity of whales, dolphins, sea lions and fur seals, including the New Zealand endemic Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins and New Zealand sea lion.

Website for the Marine Mammal Institute, Hatfield Marine Science Center: http://oregonstate.edu/groups/marinemammal/


Greg “Moondog” Mooney

Marine Technician

Greg brings a wealth of technical diving expertise to the Oceanic Preservation Society. Qualified as a NAUI scuba instructor, he is also an Advanced Nitrox Instructor, Nitrox Instructor Trainer, Hyperbaric Chamber Instructor, Gas Blending Instructor and Full Trimix Certified Diver. He has spent 16 years in the dive industry, including 12 years as a high pressure life support system designer and mixed gas blending technician. His roles include purchasing, organizing and maintaining the Societies dive gear and getting the film crews in and out of the water safely. Greg also acts as safety diver during expeditions.

During some of the more adventurous expeditions, Greg's advanced knowledge of diving is crucial in planning. A keen underwater videographer, 'Moondog' as he is commonly known, is always helpful in exploring new camera techniques with the director and helping the cameramen master the diving techniques necessary to create more interesting footage.

Born in Newport Beach, California, into a yachting family, Greg lived in California and throughout Europe in his youth. Greg's initial interest in diving was sparked by free diving sessions in Greece. Moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1975 Greg has grown up around the largest yachting community in the United States and is an addition to the Athena crew when on expedition.

When not on an expedition Greg runs a yacht dive equipment outfitting and support company in Fort Lauderdale Florida called Moondog Dive Outfitters.


Kerner Optical

Formerly Industrial Light and Magic

Gina Papabeis

Studio Support

Gina Papabeis is a graduate of Florida State University's Film School with a background in film production and social marketing. As a nature lover and strong believer in popularizing science, she is thrilled to be part of the OPS team. From scheduling and logistics, to creating materials, to updating fans of The Cove with breaking news, she helps with the daily challenges.