About Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
About Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Cordell Expeditions: Oral History Project

Cordell Expeditions Dive Group Photo
The Cordell Expeditions team have a unique history. They are the only ones who have seen Cordell Bank (that we know of!) with their own eyes. Their work in the 1970's and 80's was the backbone of why Cordell Bank was designated as a National Marine Sanctuary in 1989, with the surrounding seafloor and waters. The Sanctuary has been collecting oral histories of these divers to collect and remember their unique and challenging stories of exploring Cordell Bank. This page has short excerpts from the interviews, the full interviews can be listened to and downloaded from the Voices of the Fisheries Database here .

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Don and Elaine Dvorak and Sue Estey Interview with Don and Elaine Dvorak and Sue Estey
"Cordell Bank, having the opportunity to dive there, help describe it, is the number one high point in my life, excluding family." -Don Dvorak


Dr. Robert Schmieder Interview with Dr. Robert Schmieder, Founder of Cordell Expeditions
"Cordell Bank was for about ten years...my obsessive driving interest to see this project through to the establishment of a National Marine Sanctuary." -Dr. Robert Schmieder


The Sacto Team Interview with "The Sacto Team," John Walton, Steve Williamson, Jerry Seawell, Dave Walls, Dave Cassotta
"We could fill volumes of our life experiences of what we've done, and we've all lived fairly adventurous lives. But for me Cordell Bank was the highlight of it all." -Dave Cassotta


Bill Kruse and Tom Santilena Interview with Bill Kruse and Tom Santilena
"To me it was really a leap of faith and I really wasn’t nervous about that...more going down, down, down, into the deep, deep deep blue water. Not knowing when you're gonna get there, if you’re gonna get there, and what you’re going to find once you do get there." -Tom Santilena