Thanks to him, oil is not produced in Antarctica! little-known facts about Jacques Yves Cousteau.

Dozens of films about the seas and oceans, the invention of scuba gear, the famous knitted red hat – the first associations that come to mind when mentioning the name of Jacques Yves Cousteau.

His personality is so legendary that at the carnivals in Marseille from time to time you can even see people portraying the researcher. But the life of the great Frenchman outside these three facts is also worthy of attention – for example, Jacques Yves Cousteau fought for a clean environment in the middle of the twentieth century, long before the public began to be interested in this topic.

Submarine Jacques Yves Cousteau at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.
  • When Jacques Yves and his brother were young, their father found work in the United States and moved the whole family there. The brothers entered a local school and learned to fluently speak English.
  • Jacques Yves dreamed of becoming a pilot, but he had to abandon this desire after a car accident in which he broke both hands.
  • In his youth, he built an electric car on his own.
  • During the Second World War he was a member of the Resistance, helped his country’s fleet reunite with the allies and organized a commando operation to destroy the Italian spy network in France. Cousteau later received the rank of commander of the Legion of Honor and several other military awards.
  • After the war, neutralized underwater mines.
  • While serving in the Navy, he visited the Soviet Union.
Jacques Yves Cousteau prepared for immersion, 1965

In 1943, in order to shoot his second film, he glued together many short films for children’s cameras into one, because he could not find a finished film of the desired length on sale.

  • Winner of three Oscars, and also Cousteau for 48 years remained the only person to receive the Golden Palm Branch in Cannes for a documentary.
  • He made a film about Baikal.
  • For a whole year he participated in the filming of the television show “These Amazing Animals”, one of the presenters of which was Priscilla Presley, the ex-wife of Elvis Presley.
  • In 1985, Cousteau’s team arrived in Cuba to study the unique population of local lobsters. Fidel Castro, who read Cousteau’s books and wanted to get to know the author, came to dinner with the researchers. This evening, the Cuban leader and the French explorer became friends, and thanks to their special relations, 80 political prisoners were released.

US President John F. Kennedy presents Jacques Yves Cousteau with a gold medal from the National Geographic Society at the White House. To the right of Cousteau is National Geographic editor Melville Bell Grosvenor. On the steps behind them are the Ambassador of France to the United States, Herve Alfand and his wife Nicole Merenda Alfand, as well as Cousteau’s wife, Simone Melchior (to the right of the ambassador).

  • Cousteau conducted the first studies after World War II in the company of naval officer Philippe Thaye and diver Frederic Dumas. Perhaps it was because of Frederick’s surname that they began to be called the “Musketeers of the Sea.”
  • Thanks to the inventions of Cousteau, underwater archeology appeared. The first underwater archaeological expedition he also conducted – in Tunisia in 1948. The Roman ship discovered then is open to divers today.

Jacques Cousteau June 25, 1989 stands against a 50-meter blue whale-shaped balloon. It was part of an advertising campaign for the opening of a maritime museum in the Paris district of Le Al.

  • One day, Cousteau saw a ferry converted from a decommissioned British minesweeper. A ferry cruised between Malta and the island of Gozo, a completely ordinary ship. But Jacques Yves found it ideal for ocean exploration. Thus began the story of the famous Calypso.
  • Thanks to my acquaintance with Thomas Loel, a millionaire from the Guinness family, renting a Calypso cost only 1 franc per year. Thomas bought the ship and asked Cousteau about two things: do not tell anyone who helped him, and no longer ask for money.
  • Research was conducted from the Calypso until 1996, when the ship sank in Singapore after a collision with a barge. Now it is being restored.
  • In the 1960s, Jacques Yves Cousteau led a scientific program, the participants of which lived and worked for a long time under water. Laboratories Conshelf I, II and III were located at a depth of 10 m, 30 m and 102.4 m, respectively, in the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille. The purpose of the experiment was to find out whether people can constantly live under water.
  • At first, the oceans dived in two and spent 7 days at the base, but for the third time, 6 people lived at a depth of 3 weeks. The experiment was quite successful, although it turned out that in such circumstances, people do not have enough sun. The results of these experiments are now used in the preparation of astronauts.

Laboratory buildings are still preserved.

  • In 1960, a dump of radioactive waste was supposed to appear in the Mediterranean Sea. The French Atomic Energy Commission even reported that oceanographers supported the project, although scientists were convinced that the amount of waste would be much less than it turned out. Cousteau launched a high-profile public campaign against the landfill, and activists stopped the waste train, seated on the railroad tracks.
  • In 1990, the Cousteau Foundation launched a worldwide petition to ban mining in Antarctica. The action was successful, and the ban took effect. Now only scientists and tourists arrive in Antarctica.
  • Not far from the Brazilian Antarctic Comandante Ferras station is the skeleton of a humpback whale. Bones appeared here in 1972 thanks to Cousteau, who with their help wanted to recall the tragic fate of whales in the twentieth century.
Brazilian scientists near the Comandante Ferras station on March 10, 2014.