Fabien Cousteau, the granson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, has spent a month underwater to draw attention to the effects of climate change on the oceans.
When it comes to spending time underwater, most of us usually measure it based on how long we can hold our breath. For Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau, a little extra time was required. In an effort to draw attention to ocean issues, and break a record previously set by his elder, Cousteau has completed a mission requiring him to spend 31 days underwater near the Florida Keys.
Back in 1964, Jacques Cousteau spent 30 days underwater for his documentary World Without Sun, proving that it was possible for humans to live and work on the sea floor. For the past month, Fabian has been making a similar attempt, broadcasting his experiences aboard the deep sea lab Aquarius. Located 63 feet below the surface, this is the longest mission undertaken on the Aquarius habitat, which hoped to study the effects of climate change on the reefs.
Cousteau wasn’t completely without comforts underwater, as Aquarius is equipped with hot water, air conditioning, and even a mini-kitchen with a fridge and microwave. Regardless, emerging for the first time after 31 days must have been quite a shock; Cousteau specifically noted the impact of feeling sunlight and fresh air for the first time in weeks. The team also had to spend 16 hours in decompression starting Tuesday,
As impressive as the feat may be, it will have even more benefits for the scientific community. Thanks to the benefits of literally living underwater, Cousteau and the researchers were able to gather two years worth of data in the span of a month. They’ve also left behind monitoring equipment to observe the effects of ocean acidification on the reefs, including coral probes the size of human hair.