Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Great white now a sub species, thanks to Cousteau and Tintin

JACQUES Cousteau's grandson has continued the family's undersea tradition by tracking sharks in a submarine inspired by a Tintin book.

Fabien Cousteau, 38, first saw the cover of Red Rackham's Treasure — showing Tintin in a shark-shaped submarine — when he was seven.

Only now has his dream of emulating the boy reporter come true, thanks to Troy, named after the Trojan horse.

The submarine looks so much like the great white sharks that live off Guadeloupe, part of Baja California, that they have accepted the craft as one of their own, giving him an unmatched opportunity to observe and film their lives.


Troy is powered by silent pneumatic power that waves the tail from side to side in the same way as a real shark.

The sharks soon took to Mr Cousteau's submarine.

"They're very smart animals, with the largest brain mass capacity of any shark, and they're normally very elusive," said Mr Cousteau, his American accent tinged with a slight French inflection.

"They're so elusive that we still don't know how long they live, or their sexual habits or the exact details of how they give birth. But they accepted me. And we found out lots of things we didn't know about them before."

The sea is, so to speak, in Mr Cousteau's blood.


Mr Cousteau also hopes his shark footage will dispel the evil image of the great white as a bloodthirsty killer.

"Of course I was scared to go up so close to them," Mr Cousteau said.

"What sort of fool goes after sharks in a shark-shaped sub? I don't like pulling on strange dogs' tails, either.

"But my fear was just the same primordial fear we all feel of creatures that are bigger than us in an area we don't belong.

"Fewer than 12 people a year are killed by whites. We shouldn't demonise them so much."

Shark-Shaped Submarine Is Latest Cousteau Star Vehicle

No comments: