Jacques Cousteau Essay, Research Paper
Jacques Yves Cousteau was born on June 11th 1910 in Saint-Andre-de-Dubzac France. His father was a legal advisor and was fascinated with people like Thomas Edison and his inventions like the light bulb. His mother was a housewife with rich parents. They both had large expectations for their newborn son.
Jacques grew up in Andre-de-Dubzac and had many friends. He loved machines and the water in his youth, two things which would be very important in his later years. At the age of 11 he built a battery operated car and a movie camera.
He was infatuated with water after attending a camp at the age of four. He learned to swim, exercise and train. He loved everything about the water. He loved being in it watching it and even thinking about it. He said he loved the physical feeling even more than anything else about it.
When he was 12 he was sent to a summer camp of in the French countryside. He was very pleased when he found out that there was a lake for swimming in. But when he arrived all the boys told him that he couldn t swim in the lake because there was a big tree branch that had fell in a after a thunder storm that you could get tangled in and drown. The next day Jacques woke up early and but on his bathing suit. He jumped in the brisk water of the lake and dove to the bottom. Sure enough there was a branch on the bottom, which would hurt very badly to jump on and get stuck in. It took him about half an hour, but he got the branch out and when the other boys woke up the found him exhausted sitting on the log.
This act had made him a hero with the other boys and they played in the lake all day long. It was this kind of courage and determination that led him to be such an influential person. He explored parts of the sea that no one had ever before.
Once Jacques was sent to public high school he was almost immediately kicked out. The teachers said that he was a constant disruption and was dumb. However he was just very bored with the curriculum being taught at this school. He was promptly sent to a strict military boarding school by his parents and thrived there.
After graduating in 1929 he could only see himself as being three things, a naval officer, a radiologist or a film director. Because seeing the world was one of his boy hood dreams he enlisted into a naval academy. During World War Two he fought for the French as a spy and was awarded several medals.
Once he had perfecting the aqualung, which allowed divers to move freely and stay underwater for hours, he gave the idea to the French navy to remove mines in the water after the war was over. It was because he enlisted in the navy that his passion for underwater exploration was re-born.
In 1937 Cousteau married a woman named Simone Melchoir and they had two children, Jean-Michael and Phillipe. Shortly after retiring from the Navy, Jacques went deeply into underwater exploration. He was involved in a lot of underwater expeditions on his boat, The Calypso. Probably, his most well known project was when he and two other men lived underwater for days at a time in a big metal house. This house was a base center for men to live in and functioned as a dive base and was periodically refilled with air and food by divers.
Before Cousteau there was no other way to explore the ocean other than a big metal suit with two men using a pump to supply air down a large hose or using a big bell shaped structure to look out of. Both of these methods were very restrictive and the diver couldn t get close to what he was watching.
Cousteau had a couple of very close scrapes in his days of underwater exploring. Once Cousteau was exploring underground caves in the mountains of France. He and a colleague were going to investigate a phenomenon know as Fontaine de Vaucluse, which happened every year of recorded history. Basically what happens is that underwater caves fill with so much water that every year they vent this water and it floods the underlying town of Sorgue, France.
Cousteau and his diving friend, Pierre Dumas ascended into the cave only guided by a long rope. AS the men went into the caves the pressure started to really get high. Both men were feeling the affects of high pressure as they felt intoxicated. Finally as Cousteau said he could go no further he turned and saw that Dumas s suit had filled with water, his eyes were popping out of his head. Cousteau acted quickly and tried to grab Dumas and swim to the surface, but Jacques couldn t pull hi up for he couldn t think straight and he was struggling to not pass out. Trying to save Dumas Cousteau shoved the mouthpiece back into Dumas s mouth. Remembering the signals, Cousteau pulled on the rope three times but instead of getting pulled in the rope had about 100 feet of slack on it.
Thinking as hard as he could he recalled that six tugs meant that he needed to be reeled in. He knew he could do it and with six tugs the rope was coming in. Dumas s tanks clanged against the rocks and ruptured about half way up. Horrified, Jacques took his own mouthpiece and shoved it into his friend s mouth and waited for him to take a breath and then he did. When the two exhausted men were pulled up there were medics everywhere. They quickly attended to Dumas and gave Cousteau a warm blanket, some brandy and was told to heat up in front of a tub of burning gasoline. Thankfully, Dumas made a full recovery and owes his life to the bravery of Cousteau.
Cousteau has made over 20 movie documentary s published many books, won ten Emmys and had his own TV series for eight years called the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. These projects were what founded his explorations like the five year quest he called The Rediscovery of the Earth on his boat, The Calypso. This expedition covered the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Oceans and the Red Sea. Sadly his boat sunk in Singapore harbor one year before he died. He was collecting donations and trying to purchase a new vessel when he died at the age of 87 on June 25th, 1997. His death was a big loss to the world. Sadly his last years of life were spent in court with his son Phillipe over the Cousteau name and various businesses and organizations.
The aqualung or scuba (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) was invented by Jacques Yves Cousteau in 1943. This invention is probably considered Cousteau s greatest accomplishment and underwater explorations biggest advancement. Cousteau developed the aqualung for two reasons. The first being that he was fascinated with the ocean and wanted to be able to stay underwater for prolonged amounts of time to observe and study. The second reason was that he wanted to design a system for reconnaissance (it was World War Two at the time.) The challenge was to make a device that would regulate airflow and keep the pressure inside your body the same as that outside of your body. The key to doing this was to make a regulating valve sensitive enough to respond to the human breath. When you inhale there is an increase of pressure and when you exhale that pressure decreases. Cousteau thought that the regulator should let air out when the pressure increases and stop the flow of air when the pressure is dropped. Early models of the aqualung didn t work very well. The very first prototype only worked when the diver was absolutely level and air would come out once he tried to dive down or swim up. In the spring of 1943 Cousteau and a colleague named Emile Gagnan made a successful version of the aqualung and submitted it to the patenting office. Today the aqualung or scuba gear as it is now called, is a thing we think of as a simple and easy to operate. However if it weren t for Jacques Cousteau the world would know little to nothing of the depths of the ocean and marine sciences.