On board Calypso, life is harsh. This is not a pleasure cruise. Night and day, calm seas or raging storm, the ship must be tended, cleaned, piloted, maintained... From the hold to the helm, the crew works for the success of the expedition. A quick visit to the ship is called for. Welcome aboard!
Whether the captain was at the helm or was relieved by a member of the crew, there was always someone on the bridge. Screen, radar, sounder, sonar, satellite navigation system-all the instruments are within arm's reach the better to stay on course and avoid reefs. In one corner, there is the log where each action is scrupulously noted.
Just behind, there is the radio room. Here, the radio officer rules. His task is to maintain contact with the world. Satellite telephone, copy machine, fax machine—these sensitive instruments can be vital in case of a problem. In normal times, the radio room is the route through which the ship communicates with land teams.
When it's time to relax, you can be alone in your cabin, for sleeping, writing or reading, tending to personal business—that time is precious and put to good use.
For a party, a game of chess or to watch a video, there is the mess. This is where you eat, sing, dance or chat. The close quarters and the dearth of free time make these living areas absolutely crucial.
Behind the cameras, in the engine room or the kitchen, there are people who are spending months away from their home. So they make this big ship as home-like as
On board Calypso, some of the crew keep the ship sailing. Others are occupied by the mission; scientific research and films are still the main purposes of the ship. From these decks, tens of thousands of dives have been carried out. The small room of cubbyholes, where everything needed for diving is enthroned, is located on the ship's rear deck.
Regulators, tanks, suits, belts, fins: it takes a lot of equipment to transform the Cousteau teams into " menfish ". Before slipping on all their gear, the film team gets organized: What depth? When? Who'll do lighting? Who'll shoot the film? Who'll carry the cables? Tasks must be carefully sorted out.
In case of a diving accident, a doctor is always present on board and, if need be, a cylindrical recompression chamber is available for the divers on the upper deck. Finally, after the work is done, all the equipment has to be rinsed carefully to keep the salt water from deteriorating it.
Besides scuba gear, Calypso holds a wealth of equipment for exploration. For deep water, the diving saucer Denise or SP-350, is ideal. Since 1959, she has been carrying two people at a time for a maximum of four hours to 350 meters below.
Since 1972, the helicopter called Félix has complemented the submersible as the perfect machine for the air. You have to be a good pilot to land Félix on the platform that is installed on the rear deck, especially when the weather is bad, but the helicopter allows the Cousteau teams to get interesting aerial shots. And, too, it is needed as a reconnaissance vehicle in many regions of the world.