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Joe Thompson, jr

My father was Joe Thompson, the U/W cameraman that worked with JYC on board Calypso for about 14 years during the late 60’s and 70’s. JYC personally told me my father was his best U/W cameraman that he has ever used. That was on board the Calypso in the late 80’s, here in San Diego. My father has subsequently passed away in 2001. I still have his U/W cameras and housings and having a hard time selling them, though they are in great condition and will work well for some time to come. Captain Cousteau brought my father to Marseilles in the early 60’s and trained him on piloting the diving saucer and then the ‘Sea Fleas’ as the U/W submersibles were called then. He is featured in the episode ‘The Incredible Diving Machines’ filmed at and near Catalina Island off the coast of So. Cal. My father was working as chief pilot of North American Rockwell’s submersible “Beaver Mark IV” and uses that sub in the episode as he lowers it onto a dock station in the show. He also pilots one of the ‘Sea Fleas’ in the show and has Andre Laban seek and rescue him in a wonderful dramatized scene in the show. We all shared in the thrill of watching “Silent World” and “World Without Sun” was it?… with the Captain and crew on visits to San Diego in the 1960’s. I worked with my father for many years on our wonderful award winning documentaries and still work in the industry with top professionals. I have 2 of the French flags that flew onboard the ‘Calypso’ of that era and one of the flags is from the famous Antarctic expedition with it’s frayed windblown ends and repaired patch. Both flags have my fathers writing on them stating; ‘R/V Calypso Aug. 1975’. I also have one of JYC’s personal jumpsuits with the calypso label that he gave to my father to wear, since they were near the same size. I am looking to donate them to the Cousteau Society or to sell the items. It was a real pleasure to have grown up on and around the ‘Calypso’ and to have the Captain and crew members come by our house and rousingly enjoy meals out where they ‘took over’ any restaurant or bar they happened in on. My Mother spoke fluent french and had many a conversation with the Captain and all of the old time crew members. Thanks to ‘the Captain’, Madam Cousteau and the wonderful crew members over the years that have helped us all to celebrate life through their grand expeditions. Joe, jr.

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