© Louis Monier / Bridgeman Images

Jacques Cousteau

The man who taught a generation to love—and protect—the oceans.

“The sea’s most monstrous force doesn’t live in Loch Ness. It lives in us.”

In the autumn of 1977, Jacques Cousteau was on a six-week tour of the US to raise funds for filming his much-loved documentary series that was airing on American television at the time. The lectures sold out in each city he visited, attracting crowds bigger than many rock bands. During a stop in Seattle, a group of local schoolchildren came to meet him before the event. Handing him a drawing of a colorful underwater world, one child shyly asked what it was really like deep down in the sea. “It’s fantastic underwater,” Cousteau answered with a dazzling smile. “It feels like floating in space.” 

With his red hat, long wiry face and instantly recognizable French accent, the then 67-year-old oceanographer had become a subject of fascination the world over for opening humans up t...

ISSUE 52

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