Diving Into History to the Legendary “Unsinkable” Titanic
Bluefish is very pleased to announce the dates for our two ‘Centenary Dive Series’ expeditions to the RMS Titanic. The two identical expeditions will be staged out of St John’s, Newfoundland (new dates to be released soon). Participation is limited to just 20 divers per expedition.
Each expedition will offer diving participants the extremely rare opportunity to journey to a depth of 12500ft (3800m) in order to explore the liner R.M.S. Titanic during the centennial year of her sinking. Participants will spend a pre-departure night in St John’s in order to attend the introductory expedition dinner prior to boarding our expedition vessel for the 350nm voyage to the Titanic site. Our arrival will be marked by a short ceremony to commemorate the loss of this fine ship, and then our dive operations will commence. During the dive series, participants will enjoy specialist lectures, observe the Mir submersible programme in action and enjoy international class cuisine with their fellow expeditioners.
See with your own eyes the vessel that was once the height of opulence, but whose journey would end tragically with the loss of 1,500 lives. Experience for yourself the mystique and majesty of this poignant chapter in humanity’s collective history.
It took a year to design the leviathans. It took a further ten months to complete each of the ships, including the fitting out of the interiors and the installation of the massive state-of-the-art engines, boilers and mechanical equipment. Upon completion, the great sisterships Titanic, Olympic and Brittanic each weighed 46,000 tons and measured 882 feet in length.
April 10th, 1912, Wednesday, Southampton, England – Sailing Day – Passengers arrive at the White Star docks and board Titanic. Shortly after this Titanic casts off her lines and departs Southampton with suitable fanfare. She makes two ports of call before heading to New York.
It was at the second port of call in Queenstown, Ireland that Titanic’s chief officer, Henry Wilde sent a letter to his sister expressing his misgivings and saying, “I still don’t like this ship, I have a queer feeling about it”. Henry Wilde was to lose his life three days later.
In 1912 ship to shore wireless was in its infancy and, whilst used on ship, was considered a convenience rather than a necessity. On the second day of the voyage, the wireless operators began to receive iceberg warnings from other ships in the North Atlantic shipping lanes.Tragically not all the ice warnings reached the bridge and many that were received were ignored by the busy radio operators. Meanwhile Captain Smith powered on using the full strength of Titanic’s mighty 30,000 horsepower engines. To spot icebergs, lookouts rely on moonlight illuminating the white foam of waves breaking against the ice. Unluckily, April 14th was a beautiful clear night with a moonless sky. The sea was unusually calm, so there were no waves to spot at the base of the icebergs.To make matters more difficult the binoculars in the crows-nest were missing.
Lookout Frederick Fleet first saw that fatal iceberg as a small mass one mile away. He immediately rang the three-bell alarm and telephoned the bridge. First officer Murdoch ordered, “Hard a starboard and full speed astern”.The crew tried in vain to turn the ship but the Titanic’s course altered only slightly, allowing the ice to tear open its side, similar to a can-opener, with water gushing into six compartments. Most passengers felt only a minor jar or heard a scrape as Titanic hit the iceberg and silently came to a halt.
Water gushed into Titanic many times faster than it could be pumped out.The watertight bulkheads extended only halfway up the hull to E deck, and as the compartments filled with water, the bow of the ship was pulled down. Water overflowed from one compartment to the next and, by now, the ship’s fate was sealed.
Captain Smith ordered for distress signals to be sent by wireless and, although no general alarm was sounded, the stewards began to urge passengers to dress and put on their life vests. Only a few miles away, the California was stopped in the ice but its radio room was unmanned and the Titanic distress signals were not heard.
Titanic carried more lifeboats than were required by the law of the day and exceeded board of trade requirements by 17%. However, in reality this proved totally inadequate.The total of 20 (16 regular boats and four canvas collapsible boats) lifeboats could carry a maximum of 1,178 people, less than half the 3,547 passengers and crew members on board
The Re-Discovery of the Titanic
After years of fruitless searching by many organisations the wreck of the RMS Titanic was found by Dr Robert Ballard in 1986. Since that time multiple dives have been conducted by some of the world’s five deep diving submersibles, representing France, USA and Russia.
The RV Keldysh and MIRs have made over 15 expeditions to the site of the wreck and have made over a hundred dives.
The Shirshov Institute’s support of science continues at the wreck site. Every dive collates data, collects physical samples (not artifacts) and records imagery from the site.The wreck itself continues to host ongoing scientific experiments being conducted by a group of worldwide scientists.
Since Deep Ocean Expeditions began dives to the wreck in 1998 no artifacts have been removed from the site during any of its Titanic expeditions. All dives to the wreck are made respectfully and professionally.
You will journey to the wreck of the Titanic aboard the MIR I or II submersibles.They are capable of reaching ocean depths of 20,000 feet (6,000m).This means they can reach 98% of the ocean floor worldwide.
Constructed of nickel steel, they are designed to withstand the enormous pressures at these ocean depths.The MIRs accommodate one pilot and two passengers. Air pressure inside the cabin remains at a constant one atmosphere: the air is recycled in a manner similar to that used on board spacecraft. During the dive there will be a drop in temperature and some slight internal condensation.
Following a final briefing, you’ll enter the submersible, and the Keldysh on-board crane will lift the MIRs into the ocean. After pre-dive testing, ballast water will be pumped into the tanks and you’ll begin your descent at a rate of 100 feet (31m) per minute. A seven inch (18cm) thick acrylic view port will be your window to the undersea world. Beyond 800 feet (250m) all traces of sunlight will be gone and you will be immersed in total darkness.To conserve power, the MIR submersible descend without external lights. However the pilot will, at times, switch them on to observe passing marine life. Even in the darkness, the ocean is alive. Be sure to look for bioluminescent creatures, whose glowing characteristics require no illumination to be seen. By 3,000 feet (950m) the interior of the MIR will start to cool and topside the Keldysh will help navigate the MIR to the wreck site, 12,465 feet (3,800m) below the ocean surface.
We expect your dive duration to be approximately 11 to 12 hours. Illuminated by the powerful lights of the submersible your viewing port will be filled with images of the RMS Titanic.The bright lights will pick up her huge anchors, larger than the submersible, and the capstans, the bridge and the famous grand staircase, all nestled amongst rivers of rust as the ocean slowly consumes the grand old lady.You’ll see the ship’s telemotor, the massive boilers, the propellers and the Marconi Room, from which the world’s very first SOS was broadcast. Amongst thousands of tonnes of twisted and corroding metal you may catch a glimpse of articles of a personal nature such as ships bags or small ladies shoes, graphic and solemn reminders of the human loss.
The MIRs have powerful and long lasting battery systems with more capacity than any other deep diving submersible to enable your exploring to continue throughout the day. Upon completion of your diving mission, ballast water will be pumped out and the MIR will begin its ascent.With the help of acoustical transponders the pilot will co-ordinate carefully with the Keldysh to navigate safely back to the ocean surface, where your submersible is lifted back onboard and greeted with suitable celebrations.
‘Operation Titanic’ Expedition Itinerary
- Day 1 Arrival St Johns, Newfoundland, stay overnight Fairmont Newfoundland
- Day 2 Embark RV Akademik Keldysh and evening departure for RMS Titanic site
- Day 3 At sea enroute wreck site of RMS Titanic
- Days 4-10 Diving on RMS Titanic. Our lecture, ocean awareness and activity programmes continue
- Day 11 Diving on RMS Titanic and evening departure for St Johns, Newfoundland
- Day 12 At sea enroute St Johns, Newfoundland
- Day 13 St Johns, Newfoundland morning arrival and disembarkation. Itinerary subject to change
What’s Included: Seat on MIR submersible for scientific expedition dive to the RMS Titanic wreck (for those paying the full dive price); one night accommodation at port of departure; accommodations and meals throughout the voyage aboard the Akademik Keldysh; services and port charges in relevant ports; activities within the programme: lectures, briefings, slide/film shows, personal video, amenities; Group transfer upon disembarkation to the local airport.
Air transportation to/from port of embarkation/disembarkation; individual transfers to/from local airports and hotels; charter flight to/from St Pierre (if appropriate); airport arrival and departure taxes; excess baggage charges; personal items such as laundry, bar charges, gratuities to service staff, telephone/fax/cable charges, travel insurance; passport & visa fees; pre- or post-voyage arrangements.
Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.The daily itinerary may vary according to weather and sea conditions.The expedition length may vary depending on the final number of dive days required.
All divers will receive a detailed dive packet including all information on travel & health requirements, clothing and packing information and what to expect on the dive approximately three months prior to departure.
MIR I & II
Mir I and II are deep-diving submersibles capable of reaching ocean depths of 20,000 feet. Housed aboard the mothership Akademik Keldysh, the two MIR (meaning ‘peace’ in Russian) submersibles are two of only five deep-diving vessels available to the world’s scientific community.
Constructed of nickel steel, they are designed to withstand the enormous pressures that exist in the depths of the oceans. Each MIR cabin is a 2.1 m (7′) diameter sphere, accommodating three persons. Air pressure inside the habitat remains at a constant one atmosphere; the air is recycled in a manner similar to that used onboard spacecraft. During the dive, there will be a drop in temperature (to approximately 12°C or 54°F) and some slight internal condensation.
- Type of vessel: Deep-diving submersible.
- Built: 1987 in Finland.
- Owner/operator: P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences.
- Size: Length: 7.8 m / 25.6 ft Breadth: 3.6 m / 11.8 ft.
- Dry weight: 18,600 kg.
- Number on board: 3 people (1 pilot, 2 passengers).
- Number of voyages: Over 400 total deep dives; over 100 to the Titanic.
- Maximum speed: 5 knots.
- Last overhaul: 2004.
- Frequency of inspection: Annual, by German Lloyd, a leading ship and submersible classification bureau.
The Akademik Keldysh is the best deep-diving support vessel in the world. Owned and operated by the Moscow-based P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, its crew of scientists and technicians has worked together for over 17 years, participating in deep-dive expeditions all over the world. In addition to its many laboratories, the Keldysh features a library covering underwater archaeology, oceanography and deep-sea exploration.
Your quarters aboard the Keldysh, while not lavish, will be comfortable and spacious. Meals will be first-class, prepared by a western chef and highlighted by the occasional Russian specialty dish. Satellite communications equipment will be available for contact with those at home.
The MIR diving schedule is absolutely subject to suitable weather and sea conditions.
- Type of vessel: Scientific research vessel.
- Built: 1981 in Finland.
- Owner/operator: P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences.
- Length: 122.2 m / 401 ft.
- Breadth: 17.8 m / 60 ft.
- Displacement: 6,240,000 kg.
- Number on board: Approximately 90 (45 crew, 20+ pilots, engineers and technicians, 10 -12 scientists and lecturers and 12 passengers).
- Maximum speed: 12.5 knots.
Dive on MIR submersible for scientific expedition tour of the RMS Titanic wreck; accommodations aboard the support ship; one night accommodations in St. John’s; orientation meeting; three meals daily (starting with breakfast on Day 2 and ending with breakfast onboard the support ship on disembarkation day); activities within the program: lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; baggage handling, amenities/gifts, personal video memento.
Air transportation to/from port of embarkation/ disembarkation transfers to/from airport; airport arrival and departure taxes; excess baggage charges; personal items such as laundry, bar charges, gratuities to service staff, telephone/fax/cable charges, travel insurance; passport & visa fees; pre or post-voyage arrangements.
The above itinerary and schedule was for the 2005 dive.
Reservations now being taken for 2018/19.
For further details contact Concierge@thebluefish.com