Voyage to the Ridge 2022

May 14 - August 18, 2022       [Expedition with livestreaming of dives starts June 16]

Exploration Team

Sam Candio

Sam Candio

Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration

Sam Candio is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. He splits his time between conducting field operations aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as an expedition coordinator/mapping lead and conducting shoreside responsibilities at the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, including mission planning, data quality control, and data archiving. Sam received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW), with minors in environmental science and oceanography, and an associate degree in marine technology from Cape Fear Community College. Following graduation, he worked as an instructor for UNCW's MarineQuest, leading a suite of marine science experiential learning programs ranging from the generation of biodiesel from algae to the operation of side-scan sonars and remotely operated vehicles. Prior to signing on with NOAA Ocean Exploration, Sam spent four years aboard NOAA Ship Fairweather, serving as the chief hydrographic survey technician leading coastal bathymetric surveys in areas ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to California’s Channel Islands.

Dan Freitas

Dan Freitas

Mapping Watch Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration

Daniel Freitas is from Rochester, New York. He worked for NOAA as a general vessel assistant for over three years in the augment pool while attending Coastal Carolina University, where he studied marine biology and applied mathematics. Over the last eight years, he has worked in the deck, engineering, and survey departments aboard many NOAA vessels before taking a permanent position aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for 1.5 years. For the last six years years, he has worked as an independent contractor via the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research on Okeanos Explorer, supporting the NOAA Ocean Exploration mapping team. His time aboard consists of acting as a mapping watch lead, helping train and direct explorers-in-training, and working with the senior survey technician and other crew members to ensure the ship’s operations are completed.

Margaret Hanley

Margaret Hanley

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration

Margaret Hanley is a double major in geology and German at the College of Charleston and a current member of the college's BEnthic Acoustic Mapping (BEAMS) program. Under the guidance of Dr. Leslie Sautter, she conducted research on deep-sea coral mounds on the North-Central Blake Plateau. Her areas of interest include geological oceanography, remote sensing, and web mapping applications. She enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with friends in her free time.

Gabriel Hernandez

Gabriel Hernandez

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration

Gabriel earned his bachelor's in environmental geosciences and is currently a graduate student at Mississippi State University pursuing his master's degree in the same field. Since childhood, he has not been able to keep away from the ocean, being an avid SCUBA diver and sailing enthusiast. His interests include marine geomorphology, environmental ecology, and remote sensing. In his free time, Gabriel enjoys playing guitar, video games, and digging into any old books he can get his hands on.

Bob Knott

Bob Knott

Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Bob has almost 50 years of experience in broadcast engineering. Following a 37-year career with Rhode Island PBS, departing in 2006 as chief engineer, he worked for the Sea Research Foundation and Ocean Exploration Trust as the senior broadcast engineer. He was responsible for the design, commissioning, and maintenance of the Inner Space Center located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. He also worked on many research vessels and supported telepresence operations from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, Exploration Vessel Nautilus, Research Vessel Endeavor, and Research Vessel Atlantis, plus many other University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System ships. Bob is married and has six adult children, nine grandchildren, and a great-grandson. He and his wife Donna play French horn and are active in many community music ensembles in Rhode Island.

Jim Meyers

Jim Meyers

Systems Administrator, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Jim Meyers attended Williams College and received a bachelor’s degree in history. He has worked in the information technology field for over 20 years, including 19 years at various positions at Sea Research Foundation in Mystic, Connecticut. He is married with two adult children. Outside of work, he is an avid soccer fan and plans European vacations around match schedules.

Catalina Rubiano

Catalina Rubiano

Explorer-In-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration

Catalina Rubiano is a master’s student at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science. Her research focuses on submerged paleo shorelines on the West Florida Shelf and the sea level history that can be gleaned from them. She is also a member of the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies at USF and has participated in mapping projects on the West Florida Shelf and Tampa Bay. She is passionate about Earth science as well as ocean life with previous research having looked at deep-sea invertebrate diversity. Outside of research, Catalina is a life-long soccer player having played in college (Geaux Tigers!) and professionally.

Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration

Chris Wright holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College. After graduation, he worked as a network and systems administrator and engineer in the hospitality industry in the Northeast and Mountain West for more than 15 years. Recently relocating back to the East Coast, Chris joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) data team in early 2019 as one of the newest members of the organization. In 2019, he completed his first expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and is extremely excited about continuing the journey to explore the oceans around the world. When he isn't sailing on Okeanos Explorer, he’s busy working in GFOE’s Quonset office planning, designing, and implementing data solutions to help refine and mature its base of operations for ocean exploration. Chris and his family currently reside in Newport, Rhode Island.