10 Things to Know about Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau
FYI: Their love story is adorable.
Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau hit the high seas in search of pirates' plunder on their new series, Caribbean Pirate Treasure. From investigating the undiscovered riches of Jean Hamlin to diving into the Great Blue Hole in Belize, you won't want to miss the pair's exciting (and stunningly beautiful) adventures that are just getting started.
But it's not all glitz and gold, of course. (Exploring uncharted islands is hard work.) Get to know all about the couple from Ashlan herself, below. FYI: Their love story is adorable.
Don't forget to check out the premiere, Sunday, August 20 at 10|9c.
How did you two meet?
Philippe was giving a speech in Los Angeles about the BP Oil Spill in 2010 at The Four Seasons in West Hollywood, three blocks from where I was living at the time. A mutual friend invited me as her guest and we went early to get a glass of wine. Philippe walked in the room, our eyes met, the world stopped, and we both knew in that moment something incredible happened. We have been together ever since.
What was the first adventure you went on together?
After a few months of dating, Philippe and I went to the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean to scuba dive. Philippe had been going there for years and I learned how to dive on this trip. It’s a magical place that will always be special to both of us.
Who’s the more adventurous one – why?
That is tough. We are both “up for anything” kind of people. We aren’t adrenaline junkies (though I have jumped out of a plane). We are more interested in the journey and the things you discover about yourself along the way. Philippe spent two weeks up in the Arctic with eight days sleeping on the ice. I, on the other hand, spent a week in Antarctica, sleeping outside in an ice shelter that I built myself for a night. Adventure is alive in us both. But we also love cozy nights snuggled up in our bed with our dog, Kenai.
What’s the most memorable trip you two have taken?
In 2015, we took a trip to Nepal with WWF and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to observe and film their incredible work to protect wild tigers and rhinos. It was a life-changing adventure. We took a helicopter to Mount Everest Base Camp, met rescued rhinos, saw wild elephants, and found fresh tracks and markings of a giant male Bengal tiger. We also spent an amazing few days in Kathmandu and met dozens of Nepalese people who are dedicated to protecting the natural heritage of their country. We can honestly say that people from Nepal are some of the kindest and most generous people we have encountered anywhere in the world. Tragically, six days after we got back home, the country was rocked by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Our hearts still ache for this beautiful country.
What are other hobbies that you both love outside of the water?
Philippe loves to cook and he is amazing at it, so he is the chef in our kitchen. I love cars and all things related to cars and driving, so I take the driver’s seat on the road. Oh, and snowboarding…Philippe LOVES snowboarding.
Tell us a little bit about your conservation efforts.
As storytellers, we both seek to get people excited about the world around us. I’m trained as a journalist and Philippe is the third generation of a family of explorers and filmmakers, so telling important stories is a passion we both share. Everything we do seeks to entertain and motivate people to get outdoors, explore the world and help solve problems facing humans, wildlife and the planet. Philippe also founded one of the leading youth environmental education organizations in the US; it’s called EarthEcho International and provides environmental education to millions of youth around the world each year.
If you could uncover any pirate treasure, which would it be and why?
That’s a hard one, but if we had to choose one it would be the treasure on Norman Island. We visited the island for the show, which it is just off Tortola, and we found evidence of some undiscovered pirate wrecks. It was some of the most dangerous diving we have done ever and we ran out of time to keep investigating (season two?). What makes Norman Island so interesting is that it was the island that inspired the famous Robert Louis Stevenson book Treasure Island. While some of the treasure that was buried there has been found, experts and historians agree that there is more, potentially a lot more, hidden somewhere. That would be an incredible treasure to find, not only because it’s worth a lot of money, but also because it’s arguably the most famous treasure in history.
What’s the biggest tip you can share for couples looking to travel together?
Be clear about expectations regarding your travel style. Some people like to sit at a café and sip an espresso and watch the world go by, while others want to hit every museum in a 50-mile radius. Make sure you spend equal time accommodating the needs of both people. Oh, and always give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Traveling can be tiring and frustrating whenever a problem arises; don’t waste time on who or what is to blame. Take a deep breath, smile at each other and set about solving the problem together.
What are you most excited about for fans to see?
When most people hear the word "Caribbean" they instantly think of sandy beaches and cocktails. That’s certainly a fun part of it but we are excited for fans to join us as we explore another side of the Caribbean. It’s such an amazing place; full of wonderful people, exciting adventures and a rich history. In each episode, we take viewers on an exploration of a new mystery and go on incredible journeys that are often just around the corner from the popular beaches and bars that so many people visit.
What’s your dream diving location?
Palau…definitely Palau. It has some of the most incredible coral reefs in the world and it is a shark sanctuary so there is lots of shark diving, which is our favorite.