June 25th marks thirteen years since my father passed away. This month also marks his 100th birthday, so it has been a time of reflection for all of us who knew and adored him. It has also been a time of much activity.
My Father: The Captain was published by National Geographic this month and is my intimate recollection and tribute to my life with a man who received international renown but was also a father, husband, grandfather, friend, and my boss!
He has left a remarkable and enduring legacy and a number of people who now bear his name.
To honor him, many Cousteaus gathered in Washington, D.C. on Ocean Day to celebrate his many gifts to the world, and to unveil a portrait of Captain Cousteau by Robert Lyn Nelson. In addition to me and my son and daughter, Fabien and Celine, my sister-in-law Jan Cousteau attended with her son, Philippe, Jr.
Both Fabien and Céline are fully engaged in the work of leaving the world better than they found it, both personally and through their organizations at www.fabiencousteau.org or www.plantafish.org and at www.celinecousteau.com, where there is information on the upcoming event in New York City which Céline is organizing to honor Jacques Cousteau at www.oceaninspiration.net.
Both Philippe, Jr. and his sister, Alexandra, are dedicated to furthering the work of their father and grandfather and have earned the respect of us all for their contributions and those of their organizations at www.philippecousteau.com and www.alexandracousteau.org. They share memories of their grandfather and their commitments to his work in a tribute that we recently filmed.
And while we have never worked together, it is my hope that with the current state of the global ocean, my half-brother Pierre-Yves and half-sister Diane will also make a valuable contribution, inspired by their heritage.
Many years ago, my father and I sat on the deck of our windship, Alcyone, and he told me, “It is you, Jean-Michel, who will carry on the flame of my faith.” Since his death thirteen years ago, I have given my best to keep that flame alive, to interpret it in my own way, as each generation must do, and to remind us that we share a vision articulated by Jacques Cousteau that connects us in preserving and protecting not only the ocean, but all life on this water planet. Since his death, there has never been a more critical time to remember him and his message.
To learn more please:
- Visit My Father, The Captain: Birth of a Vision.
- Visit Cousteau Family.
- Watch A Family Legacy video.
First Photo: Captain Jacques Cousteau. Courtesy Tim Trabon
Second Photo: Fabien, Céline, Philippe and Jean-Michel Cousteau at the Ocean Day celebration honoring Captain Cousteau. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society
Third Photo: The Cousteau Family at the unveiling of Robert Lynn Nelson's tribute to Jacques Cousteau © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society
Fourth Photo: Céline, Jean-Michel and Fabien Cousteau in Sanary, France on Captain Cousteau's birthday. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society
Fifth Photo: Jean-Michel, Alexandra and Philippe Cousteau. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society