Cordell Expeditions: Oral History Project Interview with Don and Elaine Dvorak and Sue Estey

photo of cordell expeditions team members Don and Elaine Dvorak and Sue Estey

Don and Elaine Dvorak met during the Cordell Expeditions and have been together ever since. Elaine brought a lot of support to the expedition with planning and mission support and Don and Sue were photographers. They all were a part of the entire Cordell Expeditions missions for nearly the entire time. This interview was conducted in 2012. 

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Question Summary Download Mp3 Sound File or PDF Transcript
With the commercial fishing, was that a boat out of Sausalito that you went on for your first trip out to Cordell Bank? Elaine tells of her first experience on the Bank, on a tiny fishing ship Mp3 File (6.1MB)
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What was the so-called competition like with fishing out there? Elaine explains fishing controversy surrounding bottom trawling at Cordell Bank Mp3 File (664k)
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Could you describe the feeling, the sensation of going down there and seeing it for the first time? Sue describes her first full dive, and speaks of the unexpected beauty and visibility Mp3 File (1.7MB)
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Don, what was your impression after first facing this incredible place? Don talks about the safety issues, mental state, and multiple aspects of the dive Mp3 File (1.5MB)
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Where did you go on practice dives? Don and Sue speak of their practice dives at locations around CA Mp3 File (5.4MB)
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Is there anything at other places you may have dove that is similar to what you saw at Cordell Bank? Sue and Don describe a few locations similar to unique Cordell Bank Mp3 File (592k)
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Did you realize the value in the long run of the photos and specimens when you were diving? Sue talks about the mindset of Cordell Expeditions during the trips Mp3 File (1.7MB)
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Were there any noticeable changes from year to year in terms of species abundance? Don and Sue recall variance in the dives they took Mp3 File (1.5MB)
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Were there any memorable wildlife encounters at the surface? Don tells a story of one memorable day with sharks Mp3 File (1.1MB)
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Were there any memories of bird aggregations or feeding frenzies? Don, Sue, and Elaine discuss the birds and some intimate moments with the wildlife Mp3 File (1MB)
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Please summarize your career with Cordell Expeditions Don, Sue, and Elaine each sum up the years spent with Bob Schmeider and Cordell Expeditions Mp3 File (4.6MB)
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When you first dived did you believe that you were the first ones to be out there? Don, Sue, and Elaine explain the mystery of the man-made holes out on Cordell Bank Mp3 File (3.6MB)
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Did any of you get involved with NOAA or the National Marine Sanctuaries? Don and Sue recall their involvement in bringing about Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Mp3 File (8.1MB)
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Where does Cordell Bank stand among other amazing places you’ve dived? Don, Sue, and Elaine praise Cordell Bank as an unforgettable trip and sum up their feelings towards the seamount Mp3 File (1.7MB)
PDF Transcript