The new issue of Oceana magazine is hot off the presses! In this issue, I interviewed Oceana senior advisor Alexandra Cousteau, who also graces this issue's cover.
The granddaughter of famed ocean explorer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Alexandra doesn’t take her family legacy lightly. She spends her days advocating for ocean and water conservation around the world. Oceana welcomed her as a senior advisor to the organization in February, a role she will juggle along with many others, including being a mother to her baby daughter Clémentine. Besides lending her expertise to Oceana, Alexandra is a National Geographic Explorer, founder of Blue Legacy International, and brand ambassador for Oceana expedition partner Revo Sunglasses. Here's what she had to say:
Tell me about your family’s history with the oceans.
Clearly my family has a long history with the oceans. It’s hard to tell my story without talking about my grandfather because it’s a multi-generational continuation of what he started. He spent years imagining the aqualung, finally co-inventing the regulator with Emile Gagnan in 1942. And it hasn’t evolved that much (since then) – the technology is incredibly simple. It allowed him to pull back the curtain on 70 percent of the planet that up until that point nobody could have imagined. My grandfather was really the first to tell stories about what’s there and help people understand it.
What’s your earliest ocean memory?
My first dive was when I was seven. My grandfather took me in the Med off the coast of Nice. He had fashioned a small scuba set for me, a little mask and a little tank with rubber suspenders and what seemed like a huge regulator on my small face. I was hesitant at first because I didn’t understand the technology; breathing underwater was just counter-intuitive. Before I had a chance to protest, he looked down at me, gave me a wink and pushed me in. I took a few tentative breaths and as soon as I saw that it worked I started swimming down, I was so excited. I found myself surrounded by these small silver fish which were swimming in unison in a circle around me.