Our Team

Capt. Gene Flipse

Gene Flipse’s Profile

President of Conscious Breath Adventures, with a lifetime of experience on the water, Capt. Gene Flipse has been a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain for over twenty five years. Capt. Flipse holds a 100 Ton Near Coastal Master’s License, as well as STCW 95 Certification (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping). A career professional, before starting Conscious Breath Adventures Gene spent twelve years as captain aboard liveaboard dive boats operating on the waters of Florida; the Bahamas; and the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic on the Silver Bank.

Gene has 80 weeks of direct experience with the humpback whales of the Silver Bank, gained over the course of ten seasons. He also has over a decade of experience guiding guests to in-water encounters with wild Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in the Bahamas. Gene has also worked and played with pacific spinner dolphins; pan-tropical spotted dolphins; sperm whales, minke whales; pilot whales; sea turtles; whale sharks; manta rays; and a wide variety of sharks.

Gene’s Story

An avid watersports enthusiast all of his life, Gene has been a competitive swimmer and water polo player; a certified life guard; a certified sailing instructor; and an active freediver and scuba diver. First certified as an open water scuba diver in 1980, Gene now holds numerous advanced scuba certifications that include Nitrox Diver; Technical Nitrox Diver; Nitrox Gas Blender; Extended Range & Decompression Procedures; Cavern Diver; Rescue Diver; Technical Divemaster; and is certified to dive KISS closed-circuit rebreathers. In addition, he is certified in CPR and Basic First Aid.

Over the years, Capt. Flipse’s work has found him supporting researchers, explorers, film makers, photographers, and conservation organizations. In addition to his time on the Silver Bank Gene works seasonally as part of a large team of top marine mammal scientists, researchers and veterinarians representing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute conducting a multi-year Level A Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) of bottlenose dolphins in the waters of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, and Charleston, South Carolina, having participated in nine field operations to date. Gene has supported the expeditions of top marine cave explorers Rob Palmer of the Bahamas Blue Holes Foundation, and others. These blue hole expeditions have also supported blue hole explorer/conservationist Brian Kakuk and Dr. Tom Iliffe, a top researcher in the field of biospeleology, as together they have discovered new species; surveyed and documented unexplored cave systems; and worked with the Bahamas National Trust to establish guidelines to protect these fragile and unique ecosystems. Gene has also worked with renowned shark researcher Dr. Samuel “Sonny” Gruber in support of his long term lemon shark and tiger shark research project being conducted at the Bimini Biological Field Station in Bimini, Bahamas, an effort that has produced one of the largest data sets for any shark species in the world.

In 2010 Gene consulted for the Okeanos Foundation on their Vaka Moana Project, an ambitious cultural and environmental project to use traditional Polynesian sailing canoes to spread a message of traditional values, sustainability and conservation. For ten weeks Gene worked with expert Polynesian crewmen to use a vaka as a platform for whale watching and swimming with the whales of Vava’u, Tonga.

Film support work has included camera crews from National Geographic Explorer as they filmed the humpback whales of the Silver Bank; and spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, sharks, and blue hole caves in the Bahamas (twice). He acted as captain and guide in the Bahamas as director/cinematographer Paul Adkins filmed the National Geographic Television special “Dolphins: The Wild Side.” Other natural history documentaries have featured the blue hole caves and the annual nassau grouper spawning aggregations of the Bahamas. He worked on the IMAX production of the film “Ocean Men,” directed and photographed by award-winning underwater photographer/cinematographer, Bob Talbot. Gene has worked with conservation organizations and videographers including Capt. Jeff Pantukhoff of the Whaleman Foundation; and noted conservationist film maker Hardy Jones, of www.BlueVoice.org, on his production of the PBS broadcast, “Dolphin Defender.” Hardy Jones’ tenacious documentary film making techniques have helped to publicize the threat of tuna nets to dolphins; the notorious dolphin drive slaughters in Japan; and the growing threat of toxic contamination. Gene has also worked as captain and diver in support of feature films, including Walt Disney Production’s “Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3”; and is proud to have worked with the Oceanic Preservation Society in Japan in support of their production of the Academy-award winning documentary “The Cove”. During all this time Gene has had the good fortune to work alongside many of the top professionals in their fields.

Gene has an undying enthusiasm for the daily adventure of being on and in the water that, when combined with his hard work ethic, ensures that guests have the most rewarding experience possible. He is intelligent, organized and thoughtful. Combined, these traits have earned Capt. Flipse the respect of not only his guests aboard, but also the respect of professionals in all sectors of the diving and marine industries.

Capt. Jeff Pantukhoff

Jeff Pantukhoff’s Profile

Jeff is a licensed Coast Guard Captain, a Naui Dive Instructor & Dive Master, a whale and dolphin researcher, an international award-winning marine life filmmaker and photographer specializing in dolphins, whales and sharks, and is the founder and creator of The Whaleman Foundation and the Save the Whales Again! Campaign. He has also guided over 100 dolphin & whale eco-adventure travel tours to the Bahamas, San Ignacio Lagoon, the Silver Bank, French Polynesia, Tonga, Alaska, The Great Barrier Reef, and the San Juan Islands.

Jeff’s Story

In 1995, Jeff founded “The Whaleman Foundation” (www.whaleman.org), a non-profit oceanic research, education, production, and conservation organization dedicated to preserving and protecting dolphins, whales, and our oceans. The Foundation’s primary mission is to raise public awareness while educating key decision-makers on the issues that effect cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) and their critical ocean habitats. Whaleman is accomplishing this by taking its research and production team into the field and producing films and public service announcements (PSAs) about these issues while fostering international cooperation with other like-minded organizations.

Since Whaleman’s inception, Jeff has written, directed, and produced seven films on the critical issues facing cetaceans and their environment including “Gray Magic: The Plight of San Ignacio Lagoon,” “Orcas in Crisis: The Plight of the Southern Resident Orcas,” and “Deadly Sounds in the Silent World: The Dangers of High Intensity Active Sonars,” which won “Best Short Film” at the 2003 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Jeff’s latest film featuring Hayden Panettiere is titled “Whale Entanglements: A Deadly Problem” and was recently premiered and shown to the delegates attending the 2012 meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Jeff’s unique images and words have appeared in Ocean Realm, Sport Diver, Discover Diving, and Dive International magazines. His photographs have won several international awards. He has had the privilege of working with some of the most respected names in the world of underwater filmmaking including Howard and Michele Hall, Bob Talbot, Hardy Jones, and Norbert Wu. Jeff’s film credits include IMAX’s “Into the Deep,” Discovery Channel’s “The Ocean Acrobats” and “Extreme Machines: Raiders of the Deep,” PBS’s “Secrets of the Ocean Realm,” CBS’s “Survivor,” Outdoor Life Network’s “Deadly Waters: Whales in Danger,” “WhaleDreamers” and the Oscar winning documentary film “The Cove.”

Jeff’s current projects include his first feature length documentary film and his global conservation campaign called “Save the Whales Again!”

From 1996 – 2006, Jeff researched humpback whales with Dr. Marsha Green of the Ocean Mammal Institute in the Hawaiian Islands, studying their social sound production and behaviors. Since 2009, Jeff has been researching the effects of toxic pollution and the bio accumulation of toxins in cetaceans collaborating with Dr. Roger Payne of Ocean Alliance and Dr. John Wise of Southern Maine Universty.

Jeff’s passion, commitment, and dedication keep him on the forefront of marine related issues and interests worldwide. He strongly believes that international cooperation is the key to solving the many issues that face our marine environment and he demonstrates this by donating the use of his images and film footage while working closely with other environmental organizations working on behalf of marine life including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Ocean Mammal Institute, and Ocean Alliance.