Calypso on Its Way to Restoration

Caly_diver_psoI think back to what originally sparked my fascination with our underwater world. Much of that credit has to go to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his televised voyages aboard his ship the Calypso. I admit I have the love of the water and boating in my blood. Both my grandfather and father where lifelong marine enthusiast, but nothing was quiet as inspiring as those amazing videos Cousteau created. To see the marine wildlife up close regularly was always a treat. Much to the ridicule of my wife and friends I have retold the story of the only shows my parents would let me stay up late for were PBS Nature and Science programs with Cousteau’s being my favorites.

I had thought the Calypso was sunk and then scrapped long ago.  I am pleased to find videos that show it in the process of being restored.

**Warning – The follow videos are in French, but there is Closed Captions you can turn on. **

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnv-ZmArDxA – The restoration of Calypso – Part I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT1Lml855vA&NR=1 – The restoration of Calypso – Part II

Facts I didn’t know…. The Calypso was originally built in the US in 1942. I knew it was a British WW II mine sweeper, but for some reason it always looked like it was made of steel. The fact that it is wood makes sense for a mine sweeper to avoid attracting the mines it was tasked with hunting.  

On February 15th 2009 Francine Cousteau, President of The Cousteau Society, received the new Volvo Penta engines that will be equipped on the Calypso.  http://www.cousteau.org/news/engines  I have been unable to find when they expect the restoration to be complete.

A sad footnote to this restoration is the fighting that has gone on. I have no way of knowing who is in the right and who is in the wrong. There have been reported squabbles over who owns the image and the legacy of the Calypso. This has influenced who is allowed to come to its aide. To me this threatens to taint the image of this once fine vessel. I have to wonder who will be allowed on deck the day it is relaunched. 

Resources

RV Calypso Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calypso_%28ship%29

Cousteau website – http://www.cousteau.org/about-us/calypso-restoration

People protect what they love – http://www.youtube.com/user/cousteauenglish#play/uploads

The Cousteau Experience –   http://www.flashbackscuba.com/museum/USWJYC_main.html

Family row – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jul/28/france.jonhenley

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