Page 8 - Secrets of the Titanic
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TITANIC contlnu€d 1980 when eccentric Texan millionaire Jack from the Titanic debris. Jean-Louis and a few incompleteness. The way the Titanic went for Grimm announced that he was mounting a colleagues stayed on as Ballard took over the me was *rat it had a beginning, a middle and a search for the Titanic with a well-financed reins with the American research vessel Kzorr. nice end. For the French it was a frustration expedition. At this point, instead of relying on the blind from the very beginning. They missed it by a "That was a bad time for me. As far as I was echoes of sonar, Ballard decided to use Argo, few hundred yards and they didn't get the concemed Grimm was a Johnny-come-lately the seeing eye robot with video cameras that recognition they really deserved." and he certainly wasn't a person of the sea. His was towed a few feet above the ocean bed and On the 1986 expedition Ballard took with him last two expeditions had been to look for Noah's sent back pictures via a 2j-mile long cable. He a miniature submarine called Aloin and, Jason ark and the Loch Ness monster," also started searching an area that stretched funior, the eye on a cable, to have a really close However, despite some reputable scientists further east than had been searched before. As look and to make an even more convincing and three expeditions Grimm found nothing. he has described it, several days went by with demonstration of telepresence. Ballard's curiosity was piqued: "!7here the nothing and morale was getting low, when Aktin has a diameter of seven feet and its heck was this ship, I staned asking myself. It suddenly signs of wreckage began to appear on titanium hull is built to withstand the enormous ttlrns out, in fact, that Grimm's expedition the video screen. Beside being a triumph, it was pressure of 6,000 psi at 2j miles down. Inside it drove right over it and didn't have the equip- also a vindication ofhis faith in telepresence. is dark and clausuophobic; neittrer Beethoven ment to spot it. So I really put on steam." on the way down nor blasting rock on the return He started working furiously on developing ut no sooner had the can entirely alleviate the tediousness of r}re his submersibles. One was called Argo, a seeing discovery been an- painfully slow 2l mile journey at about I mile eye robot, designed to work at great depth with nounced than dispute an hour. Biner experience has uught its cramped lights, video cameras and sonar. Another was blew up with the occupants to take peanut buner sandwiches for Jason Junior, a free-floating video eye that French. Finally Ballard lunch in preference to anything with garlic in it. makes its descent aboard Argo and, then can be conceded to the French Calls of nanrre are answered with a HERE released on a 250-foot tether for close-ups. the rights to all commer- bottle - Human Endurance Range Extender. Besides the technological work he was also cial exploitation of the Despite the confines of Alsin, Roben Ballard fund-raising. He likens it to getting Cinderella 1985 expedition. But it describes the '85 and '86 ventures as being as ready for the ball: "The shoes come from one is the latest looting that concerns him t}te most. unlike as apples and oranges: "1985 was person, the dress from another, It's very finite "Out of context the Titanic's booty is mean- horrendously stressful emotionally. Technicdly and it's going to evaporate by midnight when ingless. It is just like pillaging the pyramids. it wasn't although we were pushing the tech- you're going to turn into a pumpkin so you have Mummies don't have any mearing sining in nology. The next year was technically very tlris sense of urgency. A project like the Titanic London, just rusty old things in a museum. But difficult, with Jason Junior we were really is a carrot on a stick; you hold it out to your to inch open the door and walk in and smell it," gambling, but it was a pleasure. It healed all the team and it motivates [hem." he says, sniffing for effect, "that is what I wounds of '85." By 1985 the Navy had come up with the experienced and that is what I want others to be It was on this trip that they took a huge necessary funds of over one million dollars and able to share through video and pictures. number of picnrres that have never been Ballard had signed a deal with the French "!(rhen I saw this underwater graveyard for published before, as they came really close to Institute for Research and Exploitation of the the first time all the stories, the personal the broken hull and the spread of debris around Sea. With hindsight this was the root of the anecdotes, the characters sprang to life. Sud- it which has now been irretrievably changed by current acrimonious debate but at the time it denly I could see, hear, smell and taste the sheer the current expedition. made very good sense. He had worked with horror of that fateful night with an overwhelm- Some extraordinary memories of that rip many of the French scientists on other proiects, ing intensity. It was a haunted feeling because it loom large for him especially his first sight of especially Jean-Louis Michel, and they had a was frozen terror and you were fhere, in a the massive black steel hull rising out of the powerful new sonar. pristine frozen moment of time. Once you mud: "It was just so maiestic that you got to On 24 June the French began to sweep the remove all the obieca it is lost for ever." wonderingwhy the ship was down there." O hundred square miles of ocean, within which it All the same Ballard says he is sorry tlrat the was generally agreed the Titanic must lie. After French were unable to join him on his second is m:be hfrlisicd'bv Ho&Lt @ Stituphtozl.Madisn Prets five tense weeks, the frustrated French team expedition to the wreck made the following on S Octohr at f,t6.95. was forced to depart, the lease on their vessel year. "In some ways I don't feel bad about Dcsisryt qtd Cotnqilatiln @ Madsn hblisW ltu. 1987. Text@ Bqllotde Fanfly1987. : having expired without so much as an echo them being out there now. They had a sense of NEXTWEEK In part two of this exclusive series Dr Ballard goes on a tour of this powerfully evocative wreck. Secure in Abin the mini-sub and aided by Jason Junior the flexible seeing-eye, he glides past the rusting hull, peers through portholes and snakes down the great stairway (see left) to find a chandelier miraculously intact. He drifts over the debris field where the poignant innards of the great ship are spread out across the ocean bed. All this is illustrated with vivid, previously unpublished pictures. He also solves the mystery of the final hours. Don't miss part two: the Titanic as lt wlll neyer be seen agaln 45
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