Fabien Cousteau aims to beat grandfather’s underwater record by staying submerged for 31 days
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Monday 02 June 2014
Filmmaker and sea explorer Fabien Cousteau is attempting to outdo his celebrated grandfather by staying 31 days underwater without surfacing.
Mr Cousteau, 47, and a team of five, dived to a bus-sized underwater laboratory off the Florida coast at the weekend and will not see daylight again until early July.
The aim is to exceed the 30 days underwater achieved by the French film-maker Jacques Cousteau in the Red Sea in 1963. The footage filmed by the older Cousteau was made into an Oscar-winning film, World Without Sun. This was the precursor of a series of TV programmes – the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau – which transfixed the world in the 1960s and 1970s.
Fabien’s expedition – called “Mission 31” – is intended as a tribute to his grandfather, who died in 1997. It is also intended to raise funds for Aquarius Reef Base, the laboratory 60ft underwater off the Florida Keys, whose future is threatened by cuts in US federal spending.
Other undersea explorers and naval submariners have spent longer than 30 days underwater since Jacques’s expedition 51 years ago. However, Fabien’s team hopes to beat the record for time spent underwater by a film crew and the record for the longest unbroken period of time spent in the Aquarius base.
“I imagine we’ll want to stay down once we get comfy,” Mr Cousteau told the Associated Press. “We won’t want to come back up to the surface because it’s such a magical place.”
Fabien is the son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, who was assistant to his father Jacques on most of the dives and filming for the original Cousteau series. Although born and brought up in France, Fabien has spent most of his life in the United States. Before his death, Captain Cousteau, as he liked to be called, became one of the most celebrated TV performers in the world and an early advocate of the need for government, and private, action to protect the environment. Since his death his reputation has been somewhat tarnished by family quarrels and allegations he occasionally mistreated sea animals to make his documentaries.
Jacques Yves Cousteau achieved 30 days underwater in the Red Sea (AFP) His grandson’s expedition will be broadcast live online. Team members will be able to speak to the public through social media. They will lecture students on land through video links. “For the first time I’m able to invite the world on a Cousteau expedition in real time,” he said.
Researchers from Florida International University and Northeastern University will also study the effects of climate change and pollution on coral reefs. The team will use experimental sonar technology to film without lights that disturb underwater life.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
- 5 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dies: Wrestling legend dies aged 61, according to reports
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...