Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Update on the Restoration of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso

To update on the restoration of Jacques Cousteau's ship, Calypso, I found some information on Wikipedia:

"Restoration work on the Calypso stopped in February 2009 due to non-payment of bills by Francine Cousteau. Piriou Naval Services of Concarneau are owed €850,000, of the estimated total €1,737,000, for work already done on the ship. The ship is now stored in one of the ship builder's hangars.

"As of March 2009, the Cousteau Society reports that Francine Cousteau is now directing the restoration of Calypso—-which has been brought to the Piriou shipyards in Brittany—-as an "ambassador for the seas and oceans." The restoration will be a complete refurbishment making Calypso a self-powered mobile "ambassador."

"In June 2010, the BBC reported that the Calypso was to be relaunched to mark the centenary of Jacques Cousteau's birth. According to one of the ship's former crew who visited the shipyard, the vessel was still being stored in several pieces in the same hangar as of 11 June 2010--the official date of the centenary--and is unlikely to sail any time soon."

Looks as though the Calypso may never be restored unless someone gets a better grip on the project.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been monitoring this progress since it started and am really disappointed with the circumstances. I know that donations have to be way down from what they were, but this is a REAL piece of history. A historic ICON in fact. They need to set up a special fund for this - put it on a donation option at ebay checkouts - people would donate millions ad the project would be completed. I can't put into words how much I'd like to see that ship in port in person. This is being treated as an afterthought from what I can tell - the Cousteau foundation NEEDS it's icon back on the water to again draw back the attention of all those who watched it sail for years and years. I believe it could make allthe difference in the world for them.

Sharon K. Grossman said...

Thanks much for posting your comment! I suspect that mismanagement and mixing personal family matters with business is at the heart of this impasse. Perhaps it will have to be the next generation of Cousteau's or unrelated members of the foundation who will spearhead this restoration. I certainly hope that it will be successful in the end.

Edward M. said...

I agree this project should be completed. I too have followed the progress since it was started,it would serve well to draw attention to our oceans. I would love to board this ship when completed.

Andy Hill said...

I've also been keeping tabs on this, and yes, it seems that while years at sea and a barge collision couldn't keep her down -- family squabbles and politics may.

I would *think* the French gov't would consider the Cousteau legacy to be at least as valuable as the cost of preserving/restoring its most enduring symbol - Calypso - but perhaps the French have priorities which allow them to forget one of France's most famous sons.

gpwil3847 said...

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau in the 70's was an inspiration for so many in my generation, I still have my cousteau society t-shirt and belt buckle. It's too bad that it is not well organized and agree were the society to request donations they would be flooded with millions of dollars at least from the US. Those documetaries were inpart responsible for my love of sailing and interest in the sea and oceanography.

Anonymous said...

I posted the first response comment almost a year ago now and it looks like nothing at all has taken place since. I REALLY agree with what Andy Hill said above - the Cousteau family should turn the ship over to the French Government if they'll finish the job and treat it as a national treasure. That would be a fantastic idea. There just seem to be SO many ways to get this done - what the heck are they thinking? If they think everyone has forgotten about this or that it doesn't matter, they're very wrong. If this project ends up fully abandoned it will be an absolute disgrace.

Anonymous said...

I think a cruise ship company such as Royal Caribbean etc. should buy Calypso and restore her.

Anonymous said...

I was raised watching the ship and her crew and their adventures and was fortunate enough to actually see her in Miami in the late 70s. The world loves this ship and it has grown to be more than something the remaining Cousteau's should fight about. The museum in Monaco should get it and put it on a permanent world tour.

Anonymous said...

hi i have been listeneing to the song john denver calypso and thought it was a lovely song but wanted to find out why he wrote it know i now and cant belive that our governments cant fund this project in fact i find it disgusting that this fine ship is left in this state come on all lets make this for our future generations to remmber what a fine ship and lovely man and crew of calypso to remmber in the future for all

Derrick Warner said...

I'm assuming that the company who originally sank her wasn't insured? Shouldn't they be paying for this?

jensensgirl3 said...

I wish they can restore the Calypso sad to hear they won't be able to. I've been watching Jacques Cousteau back in the 70's, love his passion he had for the marine life that he love so much. Would be great that his family could use her to finish what he started, it's a part of our culture that needs to be around.

Corey A. Wade said...

My name is Corey Wade. I followed Cousteau and his ship and possess all of his books. Who ever is in charge of the rebuild can contact me at ute@charter.net. I have a wood boat in Morro Bay Ca. USA Please contact me, also on cell Ph. USA (805) 801-9376. I'm a ship engineer and ship Electrician. I have met the family and understand the complexities of such an large project. Please contact me ASAP, Phone would be better for now. I was a active member of the society. I can assure you I can help, as we must not let this ship slide off into history. This ship must go on. Corey A. Wade Merchant Engineer Cell Ph. USA (805) 801-9376 Thank You.
I can help..

Sharon K. Grossman said...

Hi, Corey! Thanks so much for posting. I regret, however, that probably nobody who is in charge of this project will ever see your post here. I recommend that you organize a grass roots movement which may be able to exert some influence on the powers that be toward the restoration. Start a blog, a Facebook page, or create a website where people can congregate. I have heard nothing about the restoration since posting the original blog post. I would imagine organizing a crowd funding campaign, too, might help get the funds needed, but this would have to be in conjunction with the family or the Cousteau Society. Best wishes on helping to get the project going!

Nick Wells said...

I grew up watching and dreaming with Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso. I've been diving for over twenty years and Jacques Cousteau was a big big part of my love for the undersea world.