Monday, September 6, 2010

REMEMBERING SIMONE COUSTEAU


Jacques Yves Cousteau spend most of his life in the sea, not happy with inventing the equipment use by scuba divers today, he traveled the world aboard the Calypso, to teach humans about the great oceans.


Many of us grew up among his images, we were catched his " sea fever" pretending to be Calypso's scuba divers, we knew his adventures and we followed his dives.


But few of us knew about the day when the Calypso was almost lost in a storm.



It was the end of the 1940's, not a easy time for Europe. The second world war had left France in ruins. Jacques Cousteau, a young navy officer decided to buy helped by friends an old boat and name it " Calypso" and among some diver friends, start a big adventure, filming ocean dives and getting to know the ocean floor.


All his savings, plus selling his home and all his hopes were placed in this old boat.


They set course for the Red Sea where they were going to film his first movie.


They anchored the ship next to the coast of Egypt and all the men went into the water; in the ship only remained the wife of Cousteau, Simone.


While the divers were under the water, dark clouds arrived , the surface of the sea curled, and a strong wind began to blow. The divers could not return to the ship, so they swam towards the coast. Once there they contemplated the Calypso shaking with every blow of the waves, pulling the end of the anchor chain that would break inevitably.


Cousteau was afraid for his wife, a thin woman who did not have any idea of ships not of navigation. The divers, powerless were fearing that the break of the anchor would see all their illusions sinking with the old ship.



The chain broke in a dry explosion, and immediately they listened the engine of the ship that had started, it was changing direction to port and was penetrating in the sea straight ahead towards the thunderstorm.


To the rudder Simone Cousteau was, and she did not seem to be ready to allow the storm to sink the Calypso. Since she did not known anything about seamanship, she decided to go inside, where the boat might not collide with anything.


She was travelling towards the thunderstorm. Eight hours the struggle lasted between the old minesweeper and the sea, eight hours where a woman, who had never been in a ship, was extracting forces of nothing to prevent the dream of her husband from sinking that day.


When the thunderstorm ended, she took the ship towards the coast that was seen at the distance, but since it could not hold it up and it already had no anchor, simply she allowed it to float adrift with the subdued engine, hoping that the divers, who were looking at the maneuver from ground, should approach by swimming.


On coming aboard they found one smiling Simone who, to their surprise, received them with warm coffee. Many years passed, and the old minesweeper turned into one of the oceanogr√°fic ships more famous of the world, sailed all the seas and visited all the ports.


Cousteau acquired international reputation.


In 1980, in an interview, a journalist asked him if it was difficult to command the Calypso, Cousteau answered: " Not, if Simone is on board, she is the cook, the mother of thirty sailors, which advises, which finishes the fights, who tells us to shave, which challenges us, which our best critical one, caresses us, the hairdresser on board, our first admirer, who saves the ship of the thunderstorms. It is the smile every morning and the greeting before going to sleep. The Calypso might have lived without me ... but not without Simone "


A woman who lived between cameras and it did not allowed them to photograph her, did not appear in any of the encyclopedias of the Calypso, refused to be seen in the movies, and the majority of the people never saw her face.


Our homage to Simone Cousteau... and to all these women who work from the silence and whom are valued...

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