It was the evening of April 14th, 1912, when the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg, and sank shortly thereafter with unbelievable loss of life. The public has been absolutely fascinated with Titanic since news of the sinking first reached land the next day. The incredible degree of coincidence, the scope of the tragedy, and the cultural impact of the sinking, still hold the public's attention more than a hundred years later.
Titanic is the most famous wreck in the world. To put it in perspective, more climbers have died attempting to climb Mount Everest, than have visited the wreck of Titanic in submersibles. For anyone interested in shipwrecks, Titanic is the place we all imagine visiting, but few are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to actually make the voyage.
In 2005, I was talking to attorney David Concannon about another legal matter when he told me a story of having seen wreckage that could change what we know about the sinking of Titanic. At the time, I was working with the History Channel on Deep Sea Detectives, and had a great relationship with HC. This was an opportunity I simply could not pass up. I talked to my friends, diver Richie Kohler, and producer Kirk Wolfinger. The three of us put up the money ourselves, contracted to use high speed HD cameras from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), hired Concannon, and put together an expedition aboard the Research Ship Keldysh, support platform for the deep sea submersibles Mir 1, and Mir 2. We were going to Titanic!!
We wanted to sign a TV deal to fund the expedition, but no one wanted to do anything other than wait to see what we came back with? If TV was going to cover the tab, we needed to be able to come up with something they wanted, or we had just contracted the most expensive dive charter in our lives.
On our first dive to Titanic, Concannon's theory crumbled, and we were hard pressed to come with a Plan B. It was not looking good for Richie, Kirk, and me. Billy Lange from WHOI, was kind enough to suggest that we head east of the main site, to an area with scattered wreckage, that was virtually unexplored. We did not really have anything else, so we took a chance and went searching for new wreckage to the east. We were incredibly lucky, not just to be diving Titanic, but to find something meaningful. What we discovered was enough to make a couple of TV programs, including Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces, where Kirk, Richie, and I even won and industry award for documentary production. In addition, Brad Matsen wrote a nice book on the adventure, Titanic's Last Secrets.
Titanic is a beautiful wreck and she has been very generous to me, in allowing me to share some of her secrets. The short video was put together years ago by Jed Rauscher for a presentation we did at Beneath the Sea. It is just pretty pictures, but on the anniversary of the sinking, pretty pictures are appropriate.