Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) was born 100 years ago this coming Friday. The explorer - the first great television popularizer of science as well as a pioneering inventor of diving gear and a tireless conservationist - introduced global audiences to the marvels of the sea.
Cousteau's legacy includes a conservation society with 300,000 members as well as a mind-boggling 50 books and 120 documentaries. As a kid, I read everything I could find with his name on it and watched every show that appeared. He was a major inspiration to me, as he was to so many others.
He once said, "I am not a scientist. I am, rather, an impresario of scientists," which pretty much nails it.
Cousteau, not surprisingly, saw a lot of strange things. He reported seeing the eye of an "utterly fantastic" squid out the porthole of his Diving Saucer. Off Africa, his divers found a wreck site where two ordinary wrasses, members of a species maybe a meter long at most, had grown to science-fiction proportions.
Here's wishing you "fair winds and following seas," Captain.