Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Cousteau’s Calypso gets a new lease on life


Looks like famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau‘s ship Calypso will set sail again.

Calypso has been sitting in a drydock in a boatyard in France while a legal battle swirled between the shipyard’s owner and the late Cousteau‘s widow.

A French court had given Francine Cousteau, the explorer’s second wife, a deadline of March 11, 2015, to get the ship out of the drydock and reimburse the shipyard for renovations, but The Guardian reported at the time that that deadline had come and passed with nothing happening.

This week, however, the Cousteau Society announced on its website that it has bought the vessel and plans to refurbish it to be ready for sea again:

“Thousands of fans from around the world have brought their moral support to The Cousteau Society for the full refurbishment of Calypso. The considerable costs entailed by this project have, on too many occasions over the last 20 years, prevented this goal from being achieved.

“Finally, The Cousteau Society has managed to gather a group of generous and highly motivated international sponsors, whose objectives are compatible with those of the Cousteau Society.”

At some point by the end of April, Calypso will be able to leave the shipyard, fitted with a pair of marine engines that were purchased in 2009.

Francine Cousteau said:

“When Calypso will return to the Mediterranean, she will be seaworthy and powered by her own two motors, as was Captain Cousteau’s wish. I am extremely happy to announce this great news, after a 20 year long struggle against adversity and various mishaps. I am grateful to those who have helped us, and I invite all of those who share our joy today to join us.”

To follow the status of Calypso‘s refurbishment, keep an eye on the Cousteau Society website.


Cousteau's Calypso gets a new lease on life 3
John Lianghttps://www.deeperblue.com/
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.


  1. I do have some trepidation that the Calypso may sink the Cousteau Society. I believe that it could be better to use the Calypso on land as a museum for people to be inspired by its former glory. With the development of modern technology, a more fitting vessel should be built. The reason being that people know more now than they did at the time that Calypso was used. Actually a whole new vessel would need to be built and it would be an engineering feat to design one because of the demands to be met. The actions would be parallel to the NASA project: first, Mercury; second, Gemini; then, Apollo and now the International Space Station. That which is not desirable is like the Jack Legs which are in Japan doing those supposedly “scientific experiments” where they electrocute a whale while it lies helplessly on the deck of a fishing vessel. No! Cousteau Society is at the “Mercury stage” and it needs to advance to the “Gemini stage” and hopefully before it gets to be too late.

  2. Very well put, Charles. For use in research, a more fitting vessel should be built. But, perhaps, a seaworthy Calypso can be made into a floating museum and tour the world, while showcasing her now antiquated diving and research equipment used in that era. Imagine the revenue potential by docking the Calypso Museum in San Francisco for 3 to 6 months before moving on to Long Beach and then to San Diego for similar durations. She could then sail through the Panama Canal, and hit all the main ports in the Gulf before heading up the Eastern Seaboard. I would easily pay for a chance to stand in the wheel house and have my photo taken with a life size statue of Cousteau on the stern while wearing a tank and double hose reg. The man is a legend and if he wanted to see his vessel seaworthy again, I think the Cousteau society should do it. By the way, check out this video. It is an awesome tribute to Calypso and the men who have served her so long and so well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZonmQZG0GQ
    Great article, John!


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