Famous Travellers: Cousteau
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French marine explorer was born in Bordeaux in 1910. He was born to a family of a lawyer, Daniel Cousteau, who was of Belorussian origin. He moved to France and changed his Belorussian surname ‘Couste’ to the French ‘Cousteau’.
In 1920 the Cousteau family moved to New York, where Jacques-Yves learnt English and started speaking it fluently. At that time he displayed his interest in the sea.
Two years later, in 1922, the family returned to France and young Cousteau built a few curious mechanical things, for example, an automobile model, running on electric power. His hobby helped him in the future.
Cousteau entered the Naval Academy in 1930. His group was the first to complete a circumnavigation. On graduation from the Academy Cousteau went to Shanghai, then to the USSR.
Once Cousteau bought underwater goggles and he understood at once that the underwater world he saw would become his devotion. He invented and later improved the scuba-set together with his friend.
In 1950 he chartered a ship ‘Calypso’ that once belonged to the British Navy for 1 franc a year and set out on his long series of journeys. The ship was well equipped. You may remember ‘The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau’ which was shown on TV. It consists of 49 parts. Cousteau shot a lot of documentaries: Cousteau’s Amazon Series, Cousteau’s Rediscovery of the World and other. He also wrote a number of books, but the most famous of them is ‘The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau’, consisting of 21 volumes.
Cousteau was the first to shoot films underwater, he constructed the camera himself. His films were seen by millions of people, and they induced a lot of people to take up diving.
Cousteau created not only his team but aroused an interest in the sea in his family. His sons became his adherents and devoted their lives to the protection of environment. Cousteau himself made a lot of attempts to convince governments to stop dumping waste into the water, but little has changed.
Cousteau died in Paris in 1997 at the age of 87.
If you like nature, be sure to watch Cousteau’s documentaries. If you have time one day, read his books. The author managed to combine educational meaning with his personal understanding of Nature.
If you have a chance to do some scuba diving, remember Jacques-Yves Cousteau who invented it for you.
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