Jan Cousteau was a distinguished and indispensable member of the Cousteau team, diving with them, cooking for them, photographing them, acting as their paramedic, and serving in many other ways. Originally an American fashion model, she took up the seafaring life shortly after she married Philippe Sr. In the subsequent years, she caressed humpback whales in the San Jose Gulf of Argentina, cared for two adopted baby beavers in Canada, swam among sea snakes in New Caledonia, and mothered four baby walrus on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. She swam with manatees and dolphins in Florida, explored sunken ships in Micronesia, traveled along a lobster march in the Caribbean, and filmed the antiquities of Egypt.
In 1978, Jan embarked on her twentieth Cousteau expedition, this time to the Nile River in Africa, with her two year old daughter Alexandra at her side. On June 28, 1979, Philippe Sr. lost his life when his plane, the "Flying Calypso," crashed during a water landing due to a mechanical failure. Jan was three months pregnant with Philippe Pierre at the time. While raising Alexandra and Philippe in the subsequent years, Jan ensured their father's presence, sharing with them his philosophy, his personality, and his life experiences. As co-founder of EarthEcho International, she celebrates and continues Philippe's legacy, lending her experience, counsel, and a sense of continuance to an organization dedicated to furthering the principles that guided his life.
Jan is a member of the Board of Directors for Alliance Française.