November 18, 2010
The spirit of famed French explorer Jacques Cousteau lives on in a mission to find the wrecks of two warships, one French and one English, that sank 500 years ago off the Brittany port of Brest.
Instead of Cousteau’s old minesweeper Calypso, it is the French culture ministry’s surveillance ship André Malraux and its doughty crew of scientists and divers.
Today’s adventure: to locate, excavate and eventually raise the wrecks of the Cordelière and the Regent – two behemoths of the Tudor seas that sank together in the Battle of Saint-Mathieu in 1512.
And filling the Cousteau role is Michel L’Hour, marine archaeologist extraordinaire and veteran of a thousand missions to explore France’s underwater heritage.
“I have been obsessed with finding these ships for 40 years,” he says, ruddy-faced and bearded like any proper sea-dog.
“I am not so young any more, and I think this may be my last mission. If I can locate the ships, then leave them to my colleagues to excavate, I will be a happy man.”
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