Cousteau completes 31-day undersea mission

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Cousteau scuba wave
Fabien Cousteau waves from inside Aquarius, the world’s only underwater marine laboratory.

Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of the famous oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, has surpassed his granddaddy’s 30-day record of living underwater by 1 day! After his historic Mission 31 effort to research the sea from the cramped comfort and convenience of the Aquarius submarine base, Cousteau successfully emerged from his aquatic life on Wednesday.

Cousteau and his team of aquanauts resided in the world’s only underwater marine laboratory for weeks, conducting scientific observations on nearby sea animals, measuring the impact of human activities on coral reefs, and engaging in scuba diving runs from the easy access that Aquarius’ deep location afforded them.

Before they made their way to the surface, they had to spend Tuesday decompressing to readjust to regular pressures above water. See, when you’re underneath the ocean, all that liquid above you exerts pressure, which places your body under stress. After living in such conditions for a long time, it’s important to gradually reacquaint the body with regular land pressures.

The 15 hour and 45 minute decompression went off without a hitch. Looking back on the incredible experience, Cousteau admitted, “It was amazing how much it felt like home.” He did, however, acknowledge that the mission wouldn’t have been so easy for everyone. “I can imagine for someone who doesn’t like tight spaces it could be much more difficult.”

Images courtesy of Fabien Cousteau and Mission 31.