ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami) — Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, is back on the surface Wednesday after spending a month in an underwater lab.
For the last 31 days, Cousteau has been living off the coast of the Florida Keys, in attempt to beat his grandfather’s record. He managed to beat the record by one day. And, according to CBS4’s David Sutta, he actually wished he could have stayed longer.
“I would have liked personally to continue beyond 31 days,” said Cousteau.
Cousteau has plenty to be proud of, topping his famous grandfather’s record—and he made it look easy.
“It’s strange but I don’t really miss much up here. I am actually very comfortable down here,” said Cousteau.
CBS4 stopped by two weeks ago to see how the mission was going. His quarters, roughly the size of school bus, was stocked with all the conveniences of a modern home—including WIFI.
Cousteau spent his days on social media, taking to classrooms via Skype and doing television, like his grandfather did decades ago.
“I must say, I discovered there is still a passion for the ocean by the public. You know it was a shot in the dark. This could have been a total failure,” Cousteau said.
Scientists from Florida International University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Northeastern carried out fascinating experiments along the way.
“We were able to get a tremendous amount of data collected–Over 12 terabytes,” said Andy Shantz, an FIU scientist.
The equivalent of more than six months of diving, they did it in 14 days.
In the end the Cousteau PR team estimates they reached over 330 million people.
“The idea was to reach as many people around the world as possible, regardless of their background. And if that’s making history they maybe achieved that goal. History is made every day and it’s only thinking outside the box and pushing the limits that you can learn new things,” said Cousteau.
“This is really not a flash in the pan. This is launching the age of Aquarius at FIU,” said Michael Heithaus, FIU Dean, Marine Biologist.
Florida International University, which acquired a decaying Aquarius program a couple of years ago, has been hard at work bringing the program back to life.
“Fabian has helped us reach out to millions of people that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. By him being there, and being in the habitat, it facilitates research that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. So it’s not just a PR stunt,” said Heithaus.
Cousteau is looking forward to a glass of red wine—French wine, of course. Just like his grandfather did, Cousteau had a documentary crew working with him throughout this journey. They hope to have a film complete sometime in the next year and half.