Garcia Henri

Garcia Henri

“My official contract began when Calypso visited Patagonia after the Antarctic mission. July 74 to 78. A lot had happened before, and even more afterwards.

Previously I was staying on the Espadon in Marseilles. We had taken the ship down to Monaco, stopping by Sormiou to celebrate Falco’s birthday with Simone, Raymond Coll and Paul Zuena, second captain of the Calypso. In July 74, I flew to Miami to board the Calypso.

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I stayed on Calypso for the missions to Jamaica, the Bahamas… The son of president Ford was with us, Patrick Ford. Captain Cousteau had assigned me to take him diving. After hours of breath hold diving and a half-day of resting on the reef of Turtle Island, I experienced a shallow water blackout… I was declared dead when the crew found me… but Bernard Delmotte gave me CPR. After breaking some of my ribs in the process, he managed to bring me back! Opening my eyes on the deck of Calypso, the first thing I saw was the lens of the camera filming me. And JYC (Jacques Yves Cousteau), smoking his typical cigar, sent me to the nearest hospital by helicopter.

I still laugh remembering the look on Ford's face when I came back to my senses. I'm still here. Later we celebrated in Nassau. Two days later I was back in the water, freeing the anchor of the Calypso from the reef in 15 meters. I was back.

I was later on Calypso in the Mediterranean, Bermuda, Acores… We prepared the Atlantis mission in Greece (Santorini). During our search for submerged archeological sites, Falco and I would take turns being towed by dinghy in full scuba gear 20 meters below the surface. JYC would often send me to scout and explore for points of interest.

With Falco, we discovered the sunken port of Dia. I stayed nearly one year there with Delmotte, doing archeological research. However, after some discord with the Greek archeologists, JYC sent me to join his son Philippe in the US.

Always more adventures… Alaska, Canada, Indian reservations, Ontario, the Great Lakes, Mississippi, New Mexico, San Salvador, Costa Rica, Chicago… The Bermuda triangle, Bimini, exploring and demystifying legends about extraterrestrials…

Then we left for Easter Island. Originally, we had planned three months, but stayed seven, because Philippe had been injured in a helicopter crash and JYC needed us to finish the shooting for the movie. The day Calypso left the island, I could not. I took a nine month leave and made this beautiful island my home ever since.

I returned to France to prepare for the Mediterranean mission. For years before I had scouted out the Tunisian coast and I was reporting back to JYC in Monaco.

Then I came back to the Island. I have lived there ever since, still exploring this magical place, connected to nature and the elements. I've kept the Cousteau spirit alive in everything I do.”


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