Jacques Cousteau Essay, Research Paper
JACQUES COUSTEAU THE OCEAN’S FUTURE In Saint-Andre-de-Cubzac, a small, quaint village in southwestern France, lived a man of French decent named Daniel Cousteau. Cousteau, a stock exchanger, had always been a dreamer. He married his wife, Elizabeth Duranthon, in 1903. They had their first son in 1906 whom they named Pierre-Antoine.Their second son, Jacques-Yves, was born June 11, 1910. The family soon travelled to Paris. Eugene Higgins, a friend of Daniel’s and a wealthy and relatively well-known doctor, diagnosed Jacques-Yves (called “Jack”) with chronic enteritis and anemia. He also implied JYC (Jacques-Yves Cousteau) should be restrained from physical activity. The family moved to New York in 1920 where their two sons learned to speak English on the streets of Manhattan. Although his doctors wanted him to remain inactive, his parents decided to send him to summer camp. While at summer camp he learned how to swim which became his favorite thing to do at camp. JYC, who later became a scientific genius, as a young boy was no scholar and hated school. He was facinated by machines and at 11 years old made blueprints for a model crane. He was very interested in movies and at 16 years old purchased a video camera and started making his own short films. He called this collection “Societe Zix”. Because of his tremendous interest in movie making, he neglected his studies and as a result his marks in school dropped significantly. His parents became concerned and took away his camera and sent him and his brother Pierre to boarding school. He graduated from high school in 1929. ******************** After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the French Naval Academy in 1930. While at the Academy, he was involved in a severe auto accident in which he broke his left arm in eight places and his right arm was severely injured and paralyzed. After eight months of struggling to regain movement in his right arm, he finally was able to move a finger. Swimming, as a form of therapy, proved to be most beneficial. He soon regained complete use of his right arm. During this period, his brother Pierre met and married Miss Fernande Semallie and JYC met his future wife Simone Melchoir at a party in Paris. They were married on July 12, 1937 and bought a house in Sanary, France. Later they had two children—Jean-Michel and Philippe. At the beginning of the second World War in 1945, JYC, a graduate of the French Naval Academy, was posted in Afghanistan aboard the battleship Jeanne d’Arc. While serving aboard this ship, he met Philippe Talliez and Frederic Dumas who later became his partners in undersea exploration. ******************** As the war progressed, JYC, Talliez, and Dumas thought of making an underwater breathing device. After three weeks, they had constructed a “lung”. The AQUALUNG (Self-Contained-Underwater-Breathing-Apparatus, or SCUBA) was designed to enable humans to breath underwater without the use of a submarine-type vechicle. JYC tried to convince the British and American Navys to purchase the aqualung. He stated that “aqualunged” frogmen could be torpedo layers against the German navy. In 1947, Pierre Cousteau stole top-secret papers from the France and gave them to the German military. Soon after the transaction with Germany, Pierre acompanied by his wife Fernande, ran off into the mountains pursued by the French government. They were soon captured and imprisoned in Lanbeck, Austria. JYC travelled to Lanbeck with fake IDs for both Pierre and Fernande; but Pierre refused to leave. Pierre, with JYC standing at his trial, was charged with treason and condemned to death. ******************** Nearing the end of the second world war, JYC bought a ship. He named this ship the Calypso, after a Greek goddess. The Calypso’s first exploration was to the Red Sea on November 24, 1951. Here he and crew members: Titi Leandri, Rene Montupet, Jean Beltran, Fernand Hanen, Jacqueline Zang, and his wife Simone discovered two sunken ships: “The Dalton” and “The Epades”. They photographed these ships along with other marine life. When he returned from the Red Sea, JYC wrote an article about the expedition in National Geographic magazine. In 1952, the Calypso took her second trip. JYC was joined by Albert Falco, Raymond Coll, Raymond “Canoe” Kientzy, and Charlie Serventi. The second trip was to the Suez Canal where Falco and Kientzy discovered another sunken ship. The ship contained many varieties of dinnerware, ceramic tiles, and wine glasses. After the exploration, JYC convinced National Geographic to sponsor his expeditions. In July 1953, JYC and good friend Jim Dugan published the book: The Silent World. This book discussed the aqualung, shipwrecks, and JYC’s expeditions. ******************** In October 1953, Pierre became ill with cancer while waiting in prison for his execution. Also, Fernande was suffering from a brain tumor. On the third voyage to the Red Sea, the Calypso’s crew struck oil. They had been searching for oil for the UAE (United Arab Emirates). The newest crew members were: Louis Malle the cameraman, JYC’s friend Jim Dugan, oceanographer Gustave Cherbonnie, and a dog named Bonnard. On this expedition, JYC witnessed his first feeding frenzy, ( a large mass of sharks insanely devouring an injured or dying animal). For the rest of the expediton, he and crew members went down in cages to film the sharks. He wrote about this in his 1955 National Geographic article. On January 2, 1954, Fernande died and Pierre was released from prison. In the U.S, JYC’s book, The Silent World, had sold 486,000 copies. JYC then made The Silent World into a movie. He then sold The Silent World (movie) to CBS Television Network. On September 1954 The Silent World won an Oscar award. On a fourth Red Sea trip, a diving saucer built by National Geographic was brought onboard the Calypso. During filming, Louis Malle came upon a friendly grouper fish who seemed to like being filmed. The fish, named Jojole Merou, stole camera time from other aquatic life. During the later part of the trip, the crew came upon a sunken ship named “The Thistlegorn”. This navy ship, which had been carrying warheads, was the subject of JYC’s second motion picture Le Monde du Silence which was released on April 28, 1956.
******************** In 1960, the French military proposed to dump plutonium waste into the Mediterranean. Plutonium, a highly toxic gas, can cause death in 2 hours if one-thousandth of a gram of it is inhaled or swallowed. The Oceanographic Institute in Monaco appointed JYC as its president. JYC and French prince Rainier argued with the military about the plutonium dumping. In November 1960, the World-Underwater-Federation or WUF, held its meeting in Monaco. With JYC as its president, it convinced the military to take back its proposal. Soon in 1962, the U.S Navy began illegal dumping of toxins into the Atlantic. They were quickly stopped by JYC and the US president. That same year, JYC stopped Italy from using sesmic refraction (undersea bombing), which they used to catch fish in larger groups. Also in 1962, scuba-diving became a popular sport in the US. Cousteau’s picture was on the cover of Time magazine. ******************** JYC’s life dream was to make a human being who had gills and live underwater— “Homo Aquaticus” . In March 1963, his dream became partially true. JYC soon created the first undersea station where humans could live. He wanted his divers to live in this “station” for a week and explore deeper waters which couldn’t be reached by surface divers. This experiment he called Conshelf (Continental Shelf Station). After his first Conshelf station in March, Conself II was made in June. Conshelf II was a 8 meter Starfish-shaped home which could contain five men. During this period of exploration, the crew filmed aquatic life and explored deep trenches with the DS 2 (diving saucer 2 ) — the DS 1 had sunk in the Carribbean. The World Without Sun was a motion picture of Conshelf II. It won the 1964 Oscar. By now, The Silent World was watched even more than Disney movies. Conshelf III was the topic in 1965. Conshelf III was 12 meters in diameter, held nine men for 28 days, was 108 meters below the Red Sea surface, and cost $700,000. Experience Precontinent III was a television special of Conshelf III. It later became known by The World of Jacques Cousteau when it ran on CBS in May 1966 as a National Geographic/ Wolper Productions special. ******************** In 1966, JYC signed with David Wolper Productions and ABC television on a $4.2 million dollar contract for tweleve hour long adventures. The programs were called The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. The year 1968 saw JYC filming three more movies during explorations in the Red Sea. The movies were: Sunken Treasure, which was about searching for treasure inside sunken ships; Nuestra Senora de la Concepion, which dealt with shark attacks, and Whales, a feature on the mysterious breaching of whales. ******************** JYC’s son, Philippe, who had worked with him numerous times, decided to break away in 1969 and start his own film company which he called Thalassa Films. He married fashion model Jan O’Sullivan 1967 against his parents wishes. They had a daughter Alexandra in 1976. In 1972, JYC published a book on the expedition to Clipperton Island, located in the Mediterranean, where he viewed whale and dolphin mating. In ‘73, he was interviewed by The New York Times, TV Guide and The Christian Science Monitor on his exploits. In 1974, The Cousteau Society was founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was dedicated “to the protection and improvement of life”. It enrolled 120,000 members within one year. JYC was President and Philippe was Vice President. ******************** In February of ‘75, after nine years of wonder on ABC television, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was cancelled. A couple of years later, Cousteau, The Public Broadcasting Co. (PBS), and The Cousteau Society, produced a movie entitled Oasis in Space. The movie dealt with chemical waste poisioning, ocean pollution, and mass starvation. On one of Cousteau’s many voyages on the Calypso, he discovered the Britannic (sister ship of the Titanic) which sank in 1916. JYC discovered evidence that a German submarine was the cause of its demise. When JYC made a TV special out of the expedition, ABC reopened his television series and renamed it Cousteau Odyssey. ******************** In June of ‘79, JYC’s son, Philippe, while piloting a World War II reconnaissance plane, crashed and was killed while flying over the Tagus River in Africa. After the funeral ceremony, he was buried in the Atlantic Ocean. Jean-Michel, JYC’s older son, then became Vice President of The Cousteau Society. A year later, JYC filmed The Warm Blooded Sea: Manmals of the Deep, and wrote the Cousteau Almanac. Both were dedicated to Philippe. ******************** In 1981 he led a expedition down the Amazon River. During this trip, he filmed Snowstorm in the Jungle and the Cousteau/Amazon teleseries. After his return, he wrote a number of endangered species protection laws which were approved by the U.S. government. In November 1983, he bought a catameran windship which he named Alcyone which joined the Calypso in undersea exploration. In 1985, JYC turned 75 years old. His birthday was celebrated at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and a reception was celebrated at the White House with President Ronald Reagan. Reagan awarded Cousteau the Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor of the U.S.) for having done more than any other individual to reveal the oceans’ mysteries. In 1986, after donating $6 million dollars to Greenpeace, JYC set up the Cousteau Foundation. Two years later in ‘88, he founded five Cousteau Ocean Centers around the world. ******************** In conclusion, Cousteau has been retired for many years now. His work and explorations over the years have been most beneficial to society. He has written books, made movies, authored new laws for the protection of wildlife, made television shows and devoted his life to the protection and discovery of the undersea world. .