Scotty Keating, Jacques Cousteau, and Nick Pollard in 1972
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May 24, 2024

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Greetings from the Belize Audubon Society (BAS) the oldest conservation organization in Belize! Did you know Lighthouse at Half-moon Caye that the oldest protected area in Belize and in Central America is Half Moon Caye Natural Monument. and that BAS manages it along with 8 other key conservation areas? We invite you to explore the nine protected areas the way nature designed them and to help us support our programs.
Scotty Keating, Jacques Cousteau, and Nick Pollard in 1972

The Great Blue Hole was made famous by French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70 km (43 mi) from the mainland . He brought his renowned research ship, the Calypso, to investigate the depths of the sinkhole in 1972. The expedition found some submerged stalactites in the hole, and was able to conclude that the Blue Hole was formed before ocean levels rose. Cousteau recorded his trips on the TV series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau."

Jacques Cousteau is widely associated with the Great Blue Hole. As well as being a legendary ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau was a French naval officer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher. His long list of accomplishments include the following:

Along with engineer Emile Gagnan, he co-created the Aqua-Lung, a twin-hose underwater breathing apparatus. With the Aqua-Lung, Cousteau and his crew were able to explore and film parts of the ocean depths that had never been seen before. Along with his team, he created the first underwater habitat for humans Conshelf I and later Conshelf II and III. The habitats could house working oceanauts for weeks at a time. Cousteau was also a prominent conservationist. He helped restrict commercial whaling and also helped stop underwater dumping of nuclear waste.

Cousteau was born in 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France and died in 1997, in Paris, France. The Cousteau Society, founded by Cousteau in 1973, now has more than 50,000 members worldwide. Today, his society continues the unique explorations and observations of ecosystems throughout the world, helping people understand and appreciate the fragility of life on our Water Planet.

Sandra Hegar: From Pallotti High School they took our class to visit the ship! Was a great memory!

Alan Jackson: This is a story that Winston Miller, Fisheries Administrator at the time, told me. Cousteau told Mr. Miller that he needed a manatee so that he could "encounter" the animal while on expedition in Belize. Mr. Miller directed fisheries to capture a manatee and tie it up in the mangroves until Cousteau needed to encounter it. So said, so done.

Gordon Kirkwood: And then there’s the story of Cousteau using dynamite to create an easier access to the Blue Hole. The environment impact norms were different back then. “It's not a rumor. He wasn't able to get his boat in through the small opening that was already there, so he took dynamite and made it bigger. It was "in the name of science" so it was allowed to enable them to do research. “ SOURCE

Calypso, preceded by one of our small craft, leaves the Blue Hole to make her way through the channel which leads out of the coral plateau. Page 193, The Undersea Discoveries of Jacques-Yves Cousteau Three Adventures Galapagos -Titicaca - The Blue Holes by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Philippe Diole

Secrets of the Sunken Caves - The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

1972 Jacques Cousteau exploratory film about the Blue Hole. Diving the Great Blue Hole off Lighthouse Reef. Narrated by Rod Serling.

COUSTEAU: Deeper, Further, Longer

This video is about the life of Jacques Cousteau, not about Belize.
From his beginnings with the French navy, through the acquisition of Calypso and the many innovations that allowed the Cousteau adventure to exist in all its splendor without forgetting Cousteau Captain Planet, who took charge of the future of the future generations. This film tells the story of a life, a man and a boat that allowed us to see our world in another way.

Nick Pollard sharing a short story with Phillipe Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, July 7, 2021 about his meeting with the world famous diver.

Philipe Cousteau is in the middle, Nick Pollard is to his left and John Searle to his right. In the photo that Phillipe is holding you will see a young Nick Pollard on the left of Jacques Cousteau.

Photograph courtesy Nick Pollard

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