She sits naked and rusting on dry land, in shabby disrepair like a once elegant grande dame on a doctor's examination table, awaiting word of her demise. Whatever the prognosis it won't be good. The Calypso, the storied adventure vessel of Jacques Cousteau, is experiencing her final chapter.
Flashback. My friend, the swashbuckler, sent me this memory in an email today:
"Years ago I was on Calypso sailing past the Statue of Liberty into New York City.There was an enormous crowd waiting to greet us, fire boats were streaming water into the air and it was quite celebratory.
"I was struck by how different my sailing into this city was from my grandfather's entry 100 years earlier. He entered on a ship full of Sicilian immigrants and disembarked at Ellis Island.
"Simone Cousteau was standing next to me on the bridge. I asked her if she thought Calypso would become a museum. She replied "Never!"
"She said she didn't want tourists carving their initials on the walls of her home. Said she would take her out to sea and scuttle her."
In other blogs to come, I'm going to chronicle some of the adventures and misadventures of Tim Trabon aka The Swashbuckler. A few blogs won't begin to do him justice; a book too big to hold while eating a sandwich might.
He explored the Amazon, was taken captive by a primitive tribe, fought a duel at dawn in the mist, skiid the Bugaboos, camped out ala Hemingway in the darkest reaches of Africa, rendered a small basement letterpress into a global printing business, rode rough stock in rodeo, explored the back streets of Cuba and the temples of Machu Picchu, built a hands-on cattle operation which he tends at calving time, and won awards with horses he bred and trained. And a shit ton more.
But this is not the blog for that. Tim earned a red watch cap from the Cousteau crew, and that in itself was a huge achievement for any man. Not many wear that knit trophy. It's in mothballs, being wool. And the ship he earned it on sheds rusty tears in France where its bill for storage is past due. The story in the Guardian is here.