the Legacy continues…………………….
Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

“Jacques-Yves Cousteau” Memorial

{ special note }

I received the distinct honor on Thursday June 14, 1984 of meeting Captain Cousteau, his entire family and the crew of the “Alcyone” at Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium.


Upon his death on the afternoon of Wednesday June 25, 1997, Jacques-Yves Cousteau known simply as “the Captain” will always be remembered worldwide for the mystery & beauty of our “water planet home” he brought into all our lives.

For millions of people around the world who saw the oceans only through the porthole of television, the “voice of the sea” with a soft French accent displayed the wonder & beauty of Earth’s water realm. His 60-year odyssey with the sea, much of it on his famous ship “Calypso”, a converted Royal Navy mine-sweeper and later the revolutionary turbosail “Alcyone”, was more than just a great adventure. He co-invented the aqualung, developed a one-person, jet-propelled submarine and MovingDiver201helped start the first manned undersea human habitat. “When you dive, you begin to feel that you’re an angel. It’s a liberation of your weight.” the environmentalist and scuba pioneer once said. Often wearing his trademark red wool cap, he became a household name especially through his hugely popular television series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”.

Cousteau liked to call himself an “Oceanographic Technician”, was also a romantic who once said that for him, water was the ultimate symbol of love. “The reason why I love the sea, I cannot explain” a chuckling Cousteau once said, “There is never a bad dive session. There is always something new to learn and see”  he said. After a lifetime of invention, exploration and storytelling, Cousteau said not long before he died that he was proudest of helping animatedto save Alaska, the Antarctic & Arctic, the Amazon basin and of helping awaken the awareness all over the world. “All these things have been hard-won, but we did it and I am very proud of it.”  

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie Francoise. He was most commonly known as Captain Cousteau or simply “the Captain”. Among his colleagues, Mr. Cousteau preferred to be known as ”J.Y.C.” which he pronounced ”zheek”.

Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde to Daniel & Élisabeth Cousteau. He discovered the sea in the creeks close to Marseilles vdst_blubberwhere his family settled. He completed his preparatory studies at the prestigious Collège Stanislas in Paris. In 1930, he entered the Ecole Navale and became an officer gunner. In Toulon where he was serving on the “Condorcet”, Cousteau carried out his first underwater experiments thanks to his friend Philippe Tailliez. In 1936, Tailliez lent him some Fernez underwater goggles, predecessors of modern diving masks. Cousteau also belonged to the information service of the French Navy and was sent on missions to Shanghai and Japan and in the U.S.S.R.

In 1930 he entered the French Navy as the head of the underwater research group. He later worked his way up the ranks as he became more famous and more useful to the navy. On July 12, 1937 he married Simone Melchior with whom he had two sons, Jean-Michel who founded the Ocean Futures Society in 1999 and Philippe who in 1979, was tragically killed in a seaplane accident at age 38. His sons took part in the adventures of the “Calypso”. In 1991, one year after his wife Simone’s death of cancer, he married Francine Triplet. Cousteau was the brother of right-wing fascist journalist and World War II Germany 1dsfewcollaborator Pierre-Antoine Cousteau who died in 1958.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau died at the age of 87 of a heart attack at his home. His wife Francine, said Cousteau died at home in Paris before dawn after suffering a respiratory infection and heart problems. Cousteau reportedly had been ill for months. He is buried in the Cousteau family plot at Saint-André-de-Cubzac Cemetery in Saint-André de-Cubzac, France. The motto of his ship the “Calypso” was Cousteau’s lifelong credo: “Il faut aller voir” (“You must go”)A reflective moment to remember “the Captain” and his extraordinary legacy, truly gives this memorial site merit and worth.

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