TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS GOVERNMENT
Levardo Talbot – Representative of the TCI Government Department of the Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR)
David Bowen – Trustee of the Turks and Caicos National Museum, Director of Culture for the Turks and Caicos Islands and lead Protagonist in the Trouvadore documentary)
Dr. Neal V. Hitch – Director of the Turks and Caicos National Museum
Dr. Donald H. Keith – Trustee of the Turks and Caicos National Museum and lead archaeologist with Ships of Discovery
Dr. Toni L. Carrell – Marine Archaeologist, Ships of Discovery
Randel Davis, D.O. – Archaeologist and Project Diving Physician, Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition
James Hunter M.A. – Marine Archaeologist, Ships of Discovery
Robert Krieble – Volunteer and Boat Operator, Ships of Discovery
Dr Peggy Leshikar-Denton – Marine Archaeologist, Ships of Discovery
Jason Burns M.A. – Southeastern Archaeological Research Inc. (SEARCH)Marine Archaeologist
Michael Krivor M.A. – Southeastern Archaeological Research Inc. (SEARCH) Marine Archaeologist
Richard Coberly – Director and Producer of Trouvadore documentary
Veronica Veerkamp – Lead Writer and Researcher for documentary
Jean-Francois Chabot Fleet Captain
Jennifer Cumming Fleet Operations Manager
Chrissy Miller Purser
Jack Crowe Dive Instructor
Joe Lamontagne Dive Instructor
Grant Dexter Dive Instructor
Dave Tunnicliff Chef and Dive Instructor
Don Pfeiffer Engineer
Born in Grand Turk, Levardo has worked as a chef and a boat captain in the TCI before joining the Department of the Environment and Coastal Resources as a conservation officer. He enjoys his work with the DECR, especially the scientific field work. A certified diver and fishing enthusiast, he also enjoys ball sports, and playing with local bands. He comes from a large close-knit family of eleven siblings and dozens of nieces and nephews, and claims kinship to many Turks & Caicos Islanders. Levardo very proud of his TCI heritage, and believes the Trouvadore project is very important for both himself and his country. He is eager to learn more about the history of slave ships in general, and excited to be part of the team effort to uncover the fate of the Trouvadore and its survivors.
Acclaimed and experienced choreographer and performer David Bowen had travelled widely and performed in theater, on TV and even music videos in the USA, Europe and Japan. Born in the Turks and Caicos Islands with a family from Bambarra and Lorimers in Middle Caicos and childhood memories of Grand Turk, David is now Director of the Culture and Arts Commission in the TCI and lectures, performs and coordinates much of the cultural activity that takes place nationally and internationally. David is also Trustee of the Turks and Caicos National Museum and is President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Friends of the Arts Foundation.
Dr. Neal V. Hitch
In September 2007, Dr. Neal V. Hitch became the new museum director. Dr. Hitch is a historian, preservation architect, and a museum specialist, holding a Master’s degree in Architecture and a Ph.D. in History. He specializes in 19th century life, culture, and architecture. From 1997 until summer 2007 he worked for the Ohio Historical Society, a non-profit corporation providing historical services for the State of Ohio. He is a historic housing specialist and has worked on some of the Society’s premier restoration Projects. Dr. Hitch is widely published and was awarded the 2002 Anne de Fort-Menares Award by the Association for Preservation Technology International for his scholarly work on OHS restoration Projects.
Dr Donald H Keith
Donald Keith is the Principal Investigator of the 2008 Search for Trouvadore Expedition. He also directed the 2004 and 2006 expeditions. Dr. Keith has been the president of Ships of Discovery since its inception in 1989. A diver since 1969, he has directed field research from the Bahamas to Panama and has participated in shipwreck investigations in more than a dozen foreign countries. From 1980-1988 he directed the excavation, analysis and conservation of the Molasses Reef wreck, the oldest shipwreck found in the Americas. The need for a space to house the conserved artifacts was instrumental in the establishment of the Turks & Caicos National Museum in 1991. The Molasses Reef Wreck is the museum’s central exhibit. The discovery of archival documents by the museum’s founder Mrs. Grethe Seim, led Dr. Keith to spearhead the multi-year and multi-national research effort for the slave ship Trouvadore. Dr. Keith is also a Trustee of the Turks & Caicos National Museum.
Dr. Toni L. Carrell
Toni Carrell is the Co-Principal Investigator for the 2008 Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition, a position she also held during the 2004 and 2006 expeditions. She joined Ships of Discovery in 1990 after having worked as an underwater archaeologist for the National Park Service’s Submerged Cultural Resources Unit for many years. Carrell has extensive experience investigating shipwrecks from the 1600s to WWII throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Her primary interest is hull construction. That led her to field directing the excavation of the La Salle shipwreck, La Belle for the Texas Historical Commission in 1997. Carrell served as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology from 1995-2000 and represented the Society for Historical Archaeology during the UNESCO meeting of experts on the development of the international Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, adopted in 2001.
Randel C Davis
Dr. Davis received his M.A. in underwater archeology in 1978. He has participated in numerous projects including the Padre Island Project, a 1554 Spanish shipwreck under the auspices of the Texas Antiquities Committee-1972; the Mombasa project, a 17th Century Portuguese frigate with the National Museums of Kenya-1978; a 1577 shipwreck in collaboration with the Bermuda Maritime Museum-1989; the Gallega project, a search for a Columbus vessel in association with Ships of Discovery and the Panamanian National Museum-1990 and 1992; The Nina project a caravel reconstruction with Ships of Discovery, Valenca, Brazil-1991; the Endymion site survey with Ships of Discovery and the Turks & Caicos National Museum; and lastly the Trouvadore Project in 2004 and 2006. He is also the Trouvadore project diving physician, certified by NOAA in hyperbarics. His normal practice, however, is Emergency medicine and Tactical medicine in Phoenix, Arizona.
James Hunter participated in both the 2004 and 2006 expeditions and is currently a Ph.D. student in maritime archaeology at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. He has participated in the survey and excavation of a variety of shipwrecks from the sixteenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While employed by the U.S. Naval Historical Center’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, James helped organize archaeological investigations of submerged sites associated with the Penobscot Expedition of 1779, as well as a 2004 remote-sensing survey to locate and identify the remains of the anti-piracy and anti-slavery schooner USS Alligator (1821). He is a former member of the archaeological team investigating the submarine H.L. Hunley. His general research interests include the archaeology of North American and circum-Caribbean colonial sites, with particular emphasis on the evolution of Spanish hull design in the New World between 1500 and 1850. James has contributed written articles and archaeological illustrations to a number of historical and archeological journals. His archaeological illustrations have appeared in three books.
Robert Krieble is a Ships of Discovery team member for the Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore and the US Navy Ships Chippewa and Onkahye Expedition. He has had a connection with the Turks and Caicos Islands since he was two years old, when his parents first visited the islands; he has lived there semi-full time since he was ten years old. Born in Canada, Quebec is home when not in the TCI. He graduated from Concordia University in Montreal. He has traveled widely, and races in road rallies on a regular basis. However, he is most happy when he is either in or on the water in some way. Having followed the Trouvadore project for several years, he volunteered both himself and his 27 ft Boston Whaler for the 2008 Expedition.
Dr Peggy Leshikar-Denton
Peggy is a project archaeologist for the 2008 expedition. She has worked in Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, Spain, and Turkey. Her focus is on seafaring, ships, and shipwrecks in the Caribbean, including the 1794 loss of HMS Convert and its convoy. In 1985, after serving with the Texas Historical Commission, Peggy moved to the Caribbean to work for a deep-diving submersible company. In 1990, she began a sixteen-year career with the Cayman Islands National Museum, conducting research, creating exhibitions, enlarging a shipwreck register, launching a maritime trail, identifying shipwrecks to become preserves, and advocating legislation. Peggy’s vision, along with several cultural and environmental departments in Cayman, is the creation of a dedicated maritime archaeology program. Chair of the Society for Historical Archaeology UNESCO Committee, and a research associate with INA, Peggy also serves on the ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (board 1993-2004; current associate). She served on the ICOMOS delegation during development of the UNESCO Convention (2001), and assists ICOMOS and UNESCO in advocacy for its ratification. She has written extensively on the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage in the Caribbean.
Jason Burns is a project archaeologist and remote sensing specialist for the 2006 Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. Jason also participated in the 2004 expedition. Jason is a maritime archaeologist for Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) in Gainesville, Florida. Prior to SEARCH, Burns served as the first underwater archaeologist hired by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He created a statewide program for underwater archaeology and was promoted to the position of Deputy State Archaeologist – Underwater. Burns’ professional work has focused on submerged cultural resources management and public education, while his personal research focuses on 19th century merchant fleets and their transition from sail to steam and the expansion of world commerce by shipping nations after 1850. This research is detailed in his 2003 book, The Life and Times of a Merchant Sailor: The Archaeology and History of the Norwegian Ship Catharine.
Michael Krivor is a project archaeologist and remote sensing specialist for the 2006 Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. Michael is a maritime archaeologist for Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) in Gainesville, Florida. Michael has participated in over 90 submerged cultural resource management projects, authored over 60 reports, and presented over 14 professional papers. Proficient in all aspects of maritime archaeology, Krivor specialties include 17th-18th century New World ship construction, Western River steamboat construction, Civil War wreck sites, and small vernacular craft construction. He also has years of experience in remote sensing survey, data analysis, and archaeological site layout, scale mapping, and measures sketching and photography.
An award winning photographer and veteran of more than 30 years in the visual communications business, Richard is equally at home behind a still camera, TV camera, or in the directors chair. A native of Texas, he is a founding partner in Windward Media. His production credits include World Charter & Sail for the Travel Channel, video camping guides, and music videos. Recent broadcast projects include Sailing Blind, In Search of La Salle, and the EMMY Award winning Wit, Grit, and Robot Games for HoustonPBS.
Veronica is the head writer for Windward Media and is in charge of research for all projects. As a founding partner in Windward Media, she brings with her a unique talent for telling a story, not only in words, but also taking full advantage of the visual benefits of Television. Her latest broadcast production credits include the award winning In Search of La Salle, Sailing Blind, and the Emmy winning Wit, Grit, and Robot Games produced for HoustonPBS.
Captain Jean-Francois (JF) Chabot is captain of the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition, having also served during the 2004 and 2006 seasons. He has been a captain with the Explorer Ventures fleet for 8 years, and serves as the EV fleet manager. JF grew up in Gaspe, Quebec, and has a Bachelor of Maritime Navigation from the Maritime Institute of Quebec. Living on the water all of his life, he enjoys nautical pursuits, from racing sailboats to captaining motor vessels. JF has traveled extensively in the Americas and the Caribbean as an accomplished underwater photographer/videographer and dive instructor/dive boat captain. He has completed the Nautical Archaeology Society Level I course in underwater archaeology.
Jennifer Cumming has been employed by Explorer Ventures for eight years, five of which as Operations Manager. She is a team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition, and worked on the 2004 and 2006 projects. She was part of the tow-board team that found the Black-Rock Wreck in 2004. Jennifer is also the underwater videographer for the expeditions. She hails from Calgary, Canada. Her background is in sales and marketing with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Jennifer has worked in the diving industry for 10 years in the areas of customer relations, sales, marketing, instruction and management. She is an avid videographer with a preference for small creatures and fish. Jennifer is also a licensed captain and a PADI staff instructor. She will be moving to Ecuador to assume responsibilities for all of the Galapagos Operations for Explorer Ventures.
Chrissy Miller is purser on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. She spent her early years in NW Western Australia on a sheep station, and her formative years in Perth. Chrissy got involved in the music industry and advertising in Melbourne and New Zealand, and worked with a fashion photographer in Perth. She settled in Broome for then next 24 years, having a family, opening a cafe, and later working in the pearling industry. Chrissy’s next adventure was learning to dive, taking her photography skills underwater, and traveling the world with her partner. Her love of the ocean and diving led her to develop skills in underwater video. She worked as trip director and videographer on a boat in Papau New Guinea, where she also taught nationals to cook. Chrissy is a PADI divemaster and an SSI solo diver.
Jack Crowe is dive instructor on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. He grew up on the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada, but the call of the sea led him to a life outdoors on boats and the water. He went to work on a pearl farm in Western Australia, and lived “down-under” for the next 16 years. Jack became a ship’s captain, PADI dive instruction and re-breather instructor. He co-skippered the live-aboard dive boat Fe Brina in Papau New Guinea during the filming of a documentary on head-hunting by Michelle Westmoreland, tracing early 1920s portraits of the vanishing indigenous tribes of New Guinea. He skippered the same vessel in New Guinea for the next two years. Jack moved to the Caribbean in 2008.
Joe Lamontagne is dive instructor on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. He first learned to dive in land-locked Calgary, Alberta, where he grew up. After being a diver for 3 years, Joe trained to be a PADI dive instructor in British Columbia and first saw the Ocean when he completed his PADI instructor internship in the Cayman Islands. He recently became a full PADI instructor and joined the Explorer Ventures team, fulfilling his passion to sail upon the sea. Joe loves diving in currents and on wrecks.
Grant Dexter is dive instructor on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. He became an instructor in his home-state of Oklahoma, where he also worked in communications technology. After helping a friend move to Key Largo, Grant never looked back. He took up a dive instructor post at Pennekamp National Park in the Florida Keys. Grant soon added boat captain to his list of skills, and became the captain for Nekton Pilot in Ft. Lauderdale, the Bahamas and Belize. Among his friends, he is known as the “quietest guy you will ever meet”.
Dave Tunnicliff is chef and instructor on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and a team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. His maritime roots extend back to his Uncle and Grandfather who sailed in the merchant navy out of Liverpool, England. Dave studied catering at Bournemouth catering college in the late 1980s, and at this time scuba diving was only a hobby. Later Dave became a PADI Instructor. While he had always lived by the water, three years ago he decided to get out of the cold and move to the tropical warm waters of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, sailing on the Turks & Caicos Aggressor. Dave is now happily working with Explorer Ventures in the Turks & Caicos and commuting home to the Dominican Republic between trips.
Don Pfeiffer is engineer on the Turks & Caicos Explorer II, and team member for the 2008 Slave Ship Trouvadore Expedition. A native New Yorker, he studied engineering at school and has always tinkered with motorbikes, cars, and boats. His career was in finance where he worked in the infrastructure finance markets and also as a financial advisor in the UK. Don has lived in New York, London, and Hong Kong and traveled to over 50 countries thus far and hopes to see many more now that he has decided to make diving and the sea his life. His next goal is to obtain his captain’s license.