Almanac: Jacques Cousteau

An undated photo of French sea explorer Jacques Cousteau. The underwater adventurer, filmmaker, author, environmentalist and scuba pioneer opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers.

AP Photo/The Cousteau Society

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: June 25th, 1997, 20 years ago today … the day the great ocean explorer and environmental advocate Jacques Cousteau died at the age of 87.

A French Naval Academy graduate, Cousteau devoted his life to studying the sea.

He helped develop the aqualung and other undersea exploration technology.

And aboard his research vessel the Calypso, he and his crew sailed the oceans for decades -- probing their mysteries and plunging their depths. 

Cousteau once fended off a shark with his underwater camera. 

Through it all he never ceased arguing the case for saving the oceans from pollution and degradation, as he did on "Sunday Morning" back in 1994:

"We have inherited a wonderful planet," he said. "We have substantially damaged this planet. But even though the remains are beautiful, we have at least to protect this for the generations to come."

And he went on to express regret for what he would be missing once he was gone:

"I will be sorry, not for my pleasure, but for all the things that I'm interested in that I will not be able to follow up."

Today, the Society that bears Cousteau's name is continuing his mission, guided by his own words: "The impossible missions are the only ones that succeed."

      
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