Jacques Mayol
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Jacques Mayol

The Big Blue

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About Him

Living… in the sea, figuratively and often literally. Jacques was born a creature of the sea. He wasn't meant to live on earth, among others. People who meet him must understand this, or they’ll think he’s being aloof. He’s slowly learning how to be happy on land, in Peru.

Profession… deep-sea diver helping scientists study dolphins. Jacques’ body is unique because it’s completely adapted to the deep-sea conditions. The flow of blood is concentrated in the brain and barely even feeds the limbs anymore. It's a phenomena that has only been observed with dolphins... until now. It also makes him an incredible “free diver,” plunging hundreds of feet into the ocean depths.

Interests… training for the free diving championship, where he will face Enzo, his main rival. He wasn’t a competitor until Enzo started talking trash. As Jacques puts it, “I don't want to be in any competition... I dive because I like to, not to beat a record... Don't you have to be very mad at somebody to want to beat him?”

Relationship Status… dating Johana, but it’s on shaky ground. He understands her hesitations – that he loves the sea more than he could ever love another person. He’s afraid she wants to hold onto him, and she does, but he’s not ready... at least not with her. Yet it feels right when they’re together; it's not something he wants to lose.

Challenge… finding fulfillment. There’s an existential dread that comes with a life lived apart from others. As he describes, “The feeling of slipping without falling is something you can't find on land. The hardest is once you are at the bottom of the sea. Because you have to find a good reason to come back up again... and I always have a hard time finding one.” Even if Jacques proves himself as the greatest free diver in the world, what will that mean if he can’t find satisfaction above the water’s surface?

Personality… detached. He has more memories with dolphins than he does with humans. At the bottom of the sea, the sky becomes a memory. Spend enough time with dolphins and you’ll be willing to die for them: “Only then do they start coming out. They come and greet you and they judge the love you have for them...If it's sincere.  If it's pure...They will be with you and take you away forever.”

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