Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures
VIDEOEPISODESFUN & GAMESGET INVOLVEDMEET THE X-TEAMFOR EDUCATORS

MEET THE X TEAM
Expedition Team Bios
 
Diving Technology
 
Underwater HD Filming
 

 

Meet the Expedition Team

Blair Mott, Expedition Team Member and Chief Diver

Blair Mott

A Cousteau diver since 1994, Blair Mott has dived in more than 45 different countries in a vast array of diving conditions and configurations with a variety of equipment. He has served as a safety diver, gas technician and underwater on-camera guide. He has dived with mixed gas, trimix, a full face mask, a helmet, and semi-closed- and closed-circuit rebreathers, in conditions varying from tropical to extreme cold. As Ocean Adventures' chief diver, he is responsible for training the expedition team in advanced diving techniques, managing safety on all dives and overseeing all equipment. He also helps design, test and maintain a wide variety of marine operations equipment, including scuba gear, boats, recompression chambers, zodiacs, underwater cameras and lights.

A graduate of Santa Barbara City College's world-renowned marine technology program, Blair's passion is marine technology. He has hands-on expertise in real-world aspects of diving and how to manage the risks associated with it. He has taken courses in mixed-gas diving, emergency medicine, undersea vehicle operation, hyperbaric chamber operation and supervision, and undersea welding and cutting as well as many rescue and advanced diving courses. He has logged more than 5,000 hours underwater, including time spent working on the Keiko Project in Iceland. Severe North Atlantic winter storms during Blair's tenure damaged Ocean Futures' floating sea facility for Keiko, making it necessary for him to log 100 commercial dives within a 28 day period.


Interview with Blair Mott

What's the difference between being a chief diver and a regular diver on an Ocean Adventures team on an expedition?

I think that the big difference lies in your responsibilities and what your next plan of attack is. As chief diver, I have a lot of responsibilities, especially with a big team. I have to ensure that everything related to the divers and diving is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible and that every diver is being used to his or her fullest potential, including that we have the people that are most trained in that field working in that spot. I also need to oversee all the equipment and make sure that it's all running at its absolute best. And if a medical situation arises, I need to know that we have the supplies to handle the situation.


Do you have specific interests within marine biology or marine technology?

My passion is marine technology, especially as it relates to understanding and working on different aspects of working underwater and particularly with regard to safety issues. There are so many advances happening with diving technology right now.


What did you find most surprising or unexpected about your discoveries and experiences during the Voyage to Kure journey?

For me, the biggest surprise was that every time we anchored up, we were greeted by up to a hundred Galapagos sharks. This was something we could count on at each anchorage, and it was just absolutely thrilling. During any downtime we had - and I seemed to find two specific times in the whole six weeks - we could just jump off the back of the boat and swim with the sharks. It was just incredible.


What was the most challenging thing about the Voyage to Kure journey for you personally?

The challenge was ensuring that we as a team took full advantage of this opportunity and that the equipment was ready at all times and wasn't going to break down. If someone needed to jump in the water at a moment's notice and gather data or experience a certain environment, we needed to be ready - and that was a great challenge.


We were hitting it really, really heavy for a long time - it often came down to "sleep or eat." I do remember another team member, Matt Ferraro, and I often asking ourselves, "Should we eat or go to sleep?" Sleep usually won.