Founders & Team

Mr Errol T Olphert (Ollie)

CEO – Project Manager – Subsea/Marine Consultant - Explorer - Diver – Sailor


Born in New Zealand in 1954 and growing up in Auckland - the city of sails - diving and exploring beneath the oceans had consumed Ollie throughout his school years.

Ollie was an avid follower of the Cousteau television series and started Scuba diving at the age of 12. After leaving school he commenced work on the ocean with the New Zealand Marine Department in the Fisheries Protection division, during which time he was trained as a diver by the Royal New Zealand Navy before starting a career as a professional diver.

Over his 38-year career, Ollie has worked in most oil and gas producing regions throughout the world, particularly in the North Sea, Asia, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Specialising in saturation diving and underwater robotics, he became a diving supervisor and project superintendent before establishing his own subsea and marine engineering consultancy company in 1987.

Assisting Sir Peter Blake in various yachting campaigns from 1992, Ollie and Sir Peter found mutual concern with the growing global environmental issues, particularly in the world’s oceans and rivers.

In 1997, Sir Peter was asked by the Cousteau Society to head their future expeditions and asked Ollie to join him during a 1998 expedition to the Caspian Sea. The following year, planning the new environmental quest, Sir Peter sent Ollie to Camaret in France to check out the vessel Antarctica, where he met and befriended future Edo-Odyssey partner Janot Prat.  Ollie commenced working with the Cousteau Society during Sir Peter’s busy campaign defending the 2000 America’s Cup.

Sir Peter purchased the Antarctica, renaming her Seamaster, and in 2000 established his own environmental awareness organisation, Blakexpeditions. Ollie joined Sir Peter for the Seamaster‘s voyages (as outlined in the History section) prior to Sir Peter’s death in the Amazon, where he was shot and killed by river pirates in 2001.

Ollie remained with the Seamaster until she was sold in 2003 and continues his successful subsea engineering career in conjunction with his position as CEO of the Eco-Odyssey Foundation.  He now lives in Oakura, Taranaki, New Zealand and maintains his passion and commitment to continue the inspirational journey of Sir Peter Blake.

 

Mr Jean Prat (Janot)
Captain – Marine Engineer – Sonar expert – Diver – Explorer – Sailor

Born in France in 1954, at the age of 19 Janot joined the French Navy Submarine Fleet, specialising in Sonar and diving operations for 15 years.

Upon leaving the Navy, Janot pursued his passion for the sea, obtaining his captain’s ticket at the French Merchant Marine School in Lorient in 1994.  He then crewed aboard a number of classic sailing ships and captained offshore supply boats in the Arabian Gulf.

Returning to maritime school in Nantes to gain his certification as a Marine Engineer in 1999, Janot then joined the crew of French explorer Dr Jean-Louis Etienne’s polar expedition yacht Antarctica. He was chosen to stay with the vessel (later named Seamaster), when sold to Sir Peter Blake for his new environmental venture Blakexpeditions, at which time he met Sir Peter’s friend and colleague, Seamaster's 2nd Captain, first mate and lead diver Ollie Olphert. Janot served onboard as mate/engineer and completed the voyages outlined in the History section.

Janot’s passion and commitment to continue the Blakexpeditions journey never faltered and he and Ollie remained with Seamaster until she was sold in 2003. Janot then re-joined Jean-Louis Etienne as marine logistics manager and diver on a 6 month expedition to Clipperton Island.

Joining once again with Ollie, Janot continues his environmental awareness quest with the development and establishment of the Eco-Odyssey Foundation, to include the design and build of their new Evolutionary Polar Expedition Vessel.

Janot now lives with his wife and two daughters in Mui Ne, Vietnam and heads the South-east Asian arm of Eco-Odyssey.

His enthusiasm and dedication to environmental education, conservation, exploration, documentary film making and the well being of our oceans are unmatched.


Marie-Josee Arsenault-Daigle (M.J)

Creative Director - Ocean and Environment Ambassador - Dive Instructor

Born in Montreal and having grown up around Canada’s Maritime provinces, the mighty Atlantic ocean, Northumberland Straight, Gulf of St-Lawrence, and Bay of Fundy were the playgrounds M.J enjoyed. Fascinated by the sea from an early age, conservation and the ocean environment were never far from her mind, and issues of whaling, pollution and threats to wildlife captivated M.J throughout her childhood.

After four years of University overseas travel was beckoning; so M.J crossed the hemisphere into the warm and alluring countries of Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

Working as a Marine Eco Tour guide, underwater photographer, and deck hand, M.J spent the better part of 2007 and 2008 in the Indian Ocean off Northern Western Australia. Daily encounters with whale sharkssea turtles, Manta Rays, sharks, dolphins, and an array of fish life nurtured her passion and made possible dreams to be in the ocean with all its bountiful treasures. M.J felt empowered to create awareness for these creatures and the fragile marine environment she so cherished.

While travelling to the Kingdom of Tonga in 2008 to swim and photograph migrating Humpback whales, M.J met Ollie and learned of his commitment to continue the adventures and works of close friend and fellow explorer the late Sir Peter Blake by creating the Eco-Odyssey Foundation. She soon travelled back to New-Zealand to visit Ollie and gain a better understanding of his own life, past expeditions and hopes for his Foundation.

Following journeys to the pacific island of Samoa and later Indonesia, M.J began seeing acute differences in the way cultures perceive and relate to their surrounding marine environment.

In January 2011, M.J travelled to Oakura, New Zealand to visit Ollie and begin a three month project to bring to life the Eco-Odyssey Foundation’s website. Since then, she has been increasingly motivated, challenged, and fulfilled in her quest to create awareness, educate and empower others through research, travel and education.

Today M.J writes full time for the Eco-Odyssey Foundation, and wholeheartedly wishes to create a resource adults and children alike can visit and trust to provide them with a well-balanced platform for understanding the biggest environmental challenges of our day.

 

Cara Blomfield

Teacher - Marine Researcher - Diver - Crew

‘Water baby’ was the term used describe Cara as she was growing up, and aptly fitting as her parents could never get her out of the water! Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand Cara has always had a close affiliation with the ocean. She started diving at age 13 and could never get enough of what exciting and amazing creatures she might see on each dive.

Captivated by the living world, Cara focused on Biology at school and later completed her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Sciences at the University of Auckland. She continued to become more aware of the environmental issues around her and her interests were inspired by the works of Jacques Cousteau and, closer to home, the late Sir Peter Blake. As a New Zealander, Sir Peter Blake was an idol and a role model, and the work he carried out was truly inspirational and meaningful to Cara.

Given the opportunity to work at her local aquarium, ‘Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World’, Cara was able to educate and empower visitors on how they can help protect our blue planet.
Understanding the declining state of our world’s oceans, Cara became inspired and resolute in working toward making a difference.

Traveling to Cairns, Northern Queensland, Cara began working in the recreational diving industry. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef, she gained hands on experience in researching coral reef ecosystems and seeing for herself the diversity of these precious habitats. Inspired by educating tourists and creating awareness about our fragile ocean habitats, Cara chose to return to New-Zealand and pursue teaching. Committed to expose the realities of our global marine environment, Cara worked to express the importance of changing our actions and behaviour now, so we may conserve and restore what we have left.

With a continued involvement in an array of projects, Cara participates in marine turtle research, volunteers at whale awareness events and has joined the Niue Whale Research Team for two consecutive seasons.

On Cara’s second research trip to Niue she met Ollie and MJ and learnt about the aims of the Eco-Odyssey Foundation. Since then, Cara has joined the team and will be travelling to the Amazon along with Janot to document and observe the Amazon region in Brazil and Venezuela. The expedition is taking place ten years after Ollie, Janot and Sir Peter Blake visited the area. Cara will be part of a team exploring the incredible biodiversity of this region and bringing back valuable information to the Eco-Odyssey Foundation. Sharing in our visions and goals, Cara’s enthusiasm and dedication is a welcomed asset to our organization.






Did you know?

Orcas, often referred to as "Killer Whales", are actually the largest of the DOLPHIN family.

Orcas are found in every ocean of the world, making them the most widely distributed animal.

Not only do Orcas dominate the underwater world, they are also the FASTEST sea mammal, capable of reaching swimming speeds of 55kph!

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