Sunday, April 12, 1998

Jacques-Yves Cousteau The Greatest Explorer [Part 4 of 4]

Jacques-Yves Cousteau
The Greatest Explorer
[Part 4 of 5]

It's A Family Affair–The Life Aquatic
The Cousteau Family

"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth, but man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free." –Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Coustea not only invented SCUBA diving but taught his wife and two sons how to dive which you see in the photo below. Jacques Cousteau's oldest son, Jean-Michel is pictured on the far left; Jacques wife, Simone is pictured in the center; then Jacques Cousteau with his younger son Philippe pictured on the far right exploring in the Mediterranean Sea.

In this next family portrait we see Jacques next to his son Philippe who is next to his brother Jean-Michel.

In the photo above, Jacques Cousteau's older son, Jean-Michel is pictured on the far right side, and in this next photo below we see Jean-Michel Cousteau posing with his son Fabien Coustau and his daughter, Céline Cousteau in the same pose, except now he is on the far left side. Today, Jean-Michel Cousteau is renowned explorer, environmentalist, educator and film producer with his own show that currently airs on PBS named Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures.

Jean-Michel, Fabien and Céline Cousteau appear with their father on his TV show and go on expeditions all over the world with him.

Jean-Michel Coustea is pictured above scuba-diving with this son daughter and son and is pictured below standing in a lagoon.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, who is also Jacques Cousteau's grandson, Fabian Cousteau is pictured below.

Jean-Michel Cousteau's daughter, who is Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter, Céline is pictured below swimming in the ocean with dolphin's. Notice how long her flippers are and that she is snorkeling. Very cool photo of Céline.

Young Céline Cousteau is picture below at age 9 in front of her Grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Calpyso, as it made its way down the Amazon River.

The Cousteau team is pictured below swimming beneath a great white shark.

In this last image from this series, we see Jean-Michel Cousteau inspecting some tropical fish.

Jacques Cousteau's Son's & Grandson
All Wore Rolex Submariner Watches

In this next photo of Philippe-Pierre Cousteau when he was much younger-taken during a Jacques Cousteau documentary named "Voyage To The End Of The World", he is wearing his trademark Rolex Submariner in stainless steel.

It is funny because in the photo below, Jacques Cousteau seems to be staring at his son Philippe-Pierre Cousteau's Rolex Submariner.

Twas The Worst of Times

Phillipe Cousteau (pictured above and below) was was quite an explorer and risk taker, but unfortunately in 1979 he was attempting to land the Cousteau amphibious Flying Calypso airplane boat and he crashed it in the Tagus River in Portugal and lost his life.

According to T. Walker Lloyd, who was very close to Philippe, when you plan to land a boat in the water you are supposed to fly over the landing area to do a visual check to make certain there are no obstructions. Apparently Philippe decided to land the newly refinished Cousteau Calypso II PBY flying boat without first observing the landing area and the plane hit a corral reef and crashed.

The Calpyso II PBY flying boat was an amazingly innovative flying research laboratory and Philippe flew it all over the world. Philippe Cousteau was an amazing explorer, like his dad, brother and son and his death was a supreme tragedy.

Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Jacques Cousteau was devestated when his son Philippe died. At the time of Philippe Cousteau's death, his American wife, Jan, was seven months pregnant with their son Philippe Cousteau Jr. who is pictured below. Philippe Cousteau followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps.

"I'll never be able to fill my father's or grandfather's shoes, but hopefully I can stand on their shoulders and reach farther." –Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Philippe Cousteau was born in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A. on January 20, 1980 and is 29 years old today. He has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by educating the public about environmental and conservation issues as well as encouraging people to take better care of planet earth. Philippe Cousteau Jr. grew up in France and the U.S. and in 2000, he co-founded EarthEcho International with his older sister Alexandra Cousteau.

Philippe is also the Chief Ocean Correspondent for Animal Planet, where he is producing a series of ocean documentary programs.

In the next three photos of Philippe Cousteau Jr., he is testifying before the United States Congress in a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee on Capital Hill on February 11, 2009 in Washington D.C. The hearing examined the environmental and commercial aspects of offshore oil drilling.

Philippe Cousteau Jr., wears a Rolex SEA-DWELLER which looks similar to the Submariner his father, uncle and grandfather wore–as you can see in the photo above and the two photos below. As Scott pointed out in the comment section, Philippe's mother, Jan gave him his Rolex SEA-DWELLER when he graduated from Saint Andrews University.

The Complete History Of Rolex Conquering Mount Everest [Part 4 of 8]

The Complete History
Rolex Conquers Mount Everest
[Part 4 0f 8]

Man Versus Mountain

In 1952 while Tenzing had been climbing Everest with the Swiss Expedition, Edmund Hillary had been surveying Everest for the upcoming British expedition. In the photo below, we see Edmund Hillary standing at the base of Mount Everest staring at the monster he would soon try to conquer.

The First Meeting

When Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first met, as seen in the series of three photos below, they had no idea their lives would be inextricably linked forever. From all accounts, they were both very humble, unassuming, unpretentious men; both with a quiet, but burning desire to reach the top of the world.

Tenzing and Hillary were an odd couple. They came from completely different cultures and did not speak the same language. Hillary was 6 foot 3 inches tall and Tenzing was 5 foot 6 inches tall.

Tenzing Norgay was 39 years old and Edmund Hillary was 34 years old when they both finally climbed to the top of the world on May 29, 1953.

Tensing Norgay was part of three official British attempts to climb Everest from the Tibetian side from the north in the 1930s. In 1947 Tensing also took part in another unsuccessful attempt to climb Mount Everest that failed because the weather pounded them. In 1952, Tensing took part in two Swiss expeditions led by Raymond Lambert which were the first serious attempts to climb Mount Everest from the southern (Nepalese) side.

In the photo below you notice Tenzing is wearing an oxygen tank like a scuba diver. This is because the higher you get on Everest the thinner the air gets. At the top of Mount Everest you enter a section aptly named "The Death Zone" because there is less than 1/3 of the amount of oxygen a human needs to live.

The further the climbers get to the top the slower they move due to the lack of oxygen. A very fit 30 year old man is suddenly rendered into an 90 year old man with the lack of oxygen.

After the Chinese government took over Tibet in 1950 they closed off any routes to Everest and Nepal only allowed one expedition per year.

Edmund Hillary was a member of a 1951 British reconnaissance expedition to Mount Everest. Again in 1952, Hillary with George Lowe were part of another British attempt led by Eric Shipton which failed due to a lack of a route from the Nepal side.

Eric Shipton was named as the leader for the 1953 British expedition, but was replaced by British Brigadier, Sir John Hunt. The Hunt expedition was a giant team effort that consisted of over 400 people of which there were 362 porters and 20 Sherpa guides along with 10,000 pounds of baggage.

British Expedition leader, Hunt appointed two climbing teams for the attempted conquest of Mount Everest. The first team consisted of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and the other team consisted of Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon. In the photo above you see Tenzing below with Hillary leading the way above.

Ironically, on May 26, 1953 the team of Tom Bourdillon and Chalres Evans attempted to climb the last stretch of Everest but had to turn back when Charles Evans' oxygen system experienced a failure. The Evans and Bourdillon team came within 300 vertical feet (91 meters) of the summit.

Hunt then directed Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to ascend to the summit.

The Ultimate Wisdom

The famous mountaineer and writer, James Ullman who was the ghost writer for Tenzing Norgay's autobiography, Man of Everest (originally published as Tiger of the Snows), once wrote: "It is the ultimate wisdom of the mountains that a man is never more of a man than when he is striving for that which is beyond his grasp" and that was clearly the case with Tenzing and Hillary as they strove toward the top of Everest.

As a matter of fact, Sir Edmund Hillary said "we didn't know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mount Everest" but that clearly did not stop them from trying.

At 11:30 a.m. on May, 29, 1953 Hillary and Tenzing reached Mount Everest's Summit at 29,028 feet (8,848 Meters) which is the highest point on earth. When they reached the top they spent 15 minutes looking for evidence of the 1924 Mallory expedition but came up empty handed. When they returned down the mountain the first team member they ran into was Hillary's lifelong pal, George Lowe to which Hillary famously said "Well, George, we knocked the bastard off."

I always thought the photo above was of Hillary and Tenzing on top of the summit but apparently it is not. The only photo of either one of them on the summit is of Tenzing (pictured below) and it was taken by Hillary. Tenzing did not take a photo of Hillary because he did not know how to use a camera.