Witnessing the grandeur of the RMS Titanic might be closer than you imagined. Starting in 2019, people will have the chance to dive to the famous shipwreck of the “Unsinkable Ship.”
The RMS Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage in 1912 after hitting an estimated 100-foot tall iceberg. More than 1,500 passengers and crew died from this disaster and the gravesite has been resting on the ocean floor ever since.
The wreck site was originally discovered in 1985 by ocean explorer Robert Ballard. Since then, only around 200 people have had the honor of visiting the remains of the “Wonder Ship.” However, in 2019, that number will change.
OceanGate Expeditions and Bluefish are re-opening their Titanic wreck expeditions in order to explore the site and gather information about the decay and the unique biodiversity that surrounds the ship.
The RMS Titanic that was once 882 feet (269 metres) long, now rests in two main pieces, with the bow and stern around 1,900 feet (600 m) apart. The bow is in relatively good condition, while the stern disintegrated during impact. The midship is scattered along the ocean floor.
The wreck is located at a depth of 12,500 feet (3.8 km) and is about 370 miles (600 km) off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where it has been for 106 years.
The 11-day journey from OceanGate Expeditions begins in Newfoundland and costs USD $105,129 per person, which is reportedly the equivalent value of a first-class ticket during Titanic’s inaugural trip.
Each person will participate in one submersible dive to the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Each dive also allows specialists to collect images, video, laser scans and sonar data. The goal is to assess the decay to determine the best route for preservation as well as document the marine life. Scans of boilers, propellers and other landmarks can also take place.
Once on the five-person submersible called Titan, it is a 90-minute descent to the dive site, during which you can spot bioluminescent creatures. The exploration of the wreck itself takes at least three hours and mainly focuses on the bow section, where the grand staircase used to be located.
During the adventure, participants will be able to attend lectures and discussions with deep ocean explorers and scientists. Participants also get the opportunity to assist with operations on the dive support ship.
The Bluefish, an exclusive luxury travel company, will also be offering a titanic wreck dive in 2019 but details have not yet been publicly released. In 2005, they charged USD $59,680 per person, with the option to be a non-diver for USD $10,000. Their previous dives were on the MIR I or II submersibles and took a total of 11-12 hours per dive.
If you are considering adding the Titanic wreck dive to your list of must-do adventures, you should do it quickly. Microbes are eating away at the ship, creating self-contained biological communities called “rusticles.” These rusticles are causing major parts of the Titanic to collapse and some predict it will only take 20 more years for the gravesite to disappear completely. Even without the help of the rusticles, the mollusks have consumed much of the wood and the iron is corroding with the mix of salt water.
All dives are conducted with respect for those who lost their lives. They also follow the UNESCO guidelines for preservation of underwater world heritage sites. ■