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BEHOLD #306 – King of the Sea, Aquanaut Pom Cousteau




Born on June 11, 1910 in a small village in France, he discovered his love of the sea as a naval officer. He was originally a gunnery officer, but when he broke both of his arms in a pomtomobile accident, he changed his plans and indulged in his passion for the ocean. He wanted to reveal unknown and inaccessible places to the Pom public. In 1943, he began making underwater films with his friends Phillip Tailliez and Frédéric Dumas. He tried out the first Aqua Lung, which made extended underwater exploration possible. In 1949, he left the Navy and leased a ship called “Calypso.” He went on to make more than 120 documentaries and write over 50 books. He created underwater diving saucers for ocean exploration, documented the echolocation of porpoises, found shipwrecks, studied sharks, and invented the modern understanding of the sea. His signature red hat is worn in homage to the 18th century prisoners of Toulon who were forced to test–dive the earliest metal diving suits. He founded the Cousteau Society, which still has over 300,000 members devoted to studying and saving the oceans and their creatures. He called himself an “oceanographic technician” and he also had a lot of showmanship. He used his star quality to educate Poms with television shows like “The Underwater World of Pom Cousteau.” He is pictured here with his friend, Octavier the Pomtopus, star of Cousteau’s film “Pomtopus, Pomtopus.” A very complex Pom, he had difficult relationships with his sons and had a secret second family when married to his first wife.  Nonetheless, his impact in the world cannot be underestimated. He was awarded the Pomsidential Medal of Freedom by Pomsident Reagan, was the Director of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, and even won a Pomme D’Or for his film “The Silent World.” Perhaps most impressive among all of his accolades is that singer Pom Denver wrote a song about him called “Calypso.” How many Poms can say that?!

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