Blue Marble Private are offering diving expeditions to the Titanic wreck site in May 2018. For $105,129 per person, tourists can explore this world-famous wreck off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada during an eight-day expedition. Divers will descend more than 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) below the surface of the Atlantic in a titanium and carbon fiber submersible to explore the ship and surroundings. With the wreck continually deteriorating, this is an opportune time to dive the Titanic before she disappears.
London-based travel company Blue Marble Private are offering a dive expedition to the Titanic in collaboration with OceanGate Expeditions, who created the purpose-built submersible. Their first voyage, for nine people, is already fully booked and further expeditions are planned for the summer of 2019. Blue Marble have stated the cost of the ticket is equivalent to a first-class ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York, once the price is adjusted for inflation. A ticket on her maiden, one and only, voyage cost $4,350.
The Titanic has been visited by numerous expeditions, including controversial salvage trips for public displays, since the discovery of her remains during a joint French-American expedition in 1985. She has however not been visited often by tourists; a group of which last visited the wreck site in 2012 with Deep Ocean Expeditions and at a cost of $59,000.
Stockton Rush, Chief Executive Officer of OceanGate Expeditions, has confirmed that “Since her sinking 105 years ago, fewer than 200 people have ever visited the wreck, far fewer than have flown to space or climbed Mount Everest, so this is an incredible opportunity to explore one of the most rarely seen and revered landmarks on the planet.”
Tourists joining the 2018 expedition with Blue Marble Private can enjoy a helicopter or seaplane flight from St. John’s in Newfoundland to the expedition support yacht above the wreck. They will then spend three days being educated about the ship’s workings and learning how to operate the sonar and underwater navigation systems. The tourists will assist the expedition team with their aims during the dives.
There will be three potential days of diving, with dives conducted day and night for three passengers at a time. The descent time will be approximately ninety minutes and dive time will be three hours. Divers can expect to explore different regions of the wreck; including the deck, bow, grand staircase cavern and an extensive debris field. Blue Marble Private’s founder Elizabeth Ellis stated the submersible crew may conduct 3D and 2D sonar scans or searches for the ships boilers, propellers and other landmarks during the dives.
The Titanic lies in two main pieces, 600 meters (1968 feet) apart, and the bow is in good condition. The stern was ruined during impact with the seabed upon sinking in April 1912 and the middle lies as scattered pieces on the seabed. The debris field of hundreds of thousands of artefacts covers an area of 8 by 4.8 kilometers (5 by 3 miles) and includes items such as passengers’ personal effects, machinery and furniture. There are no bodies within the area, having already decomposed and been consumed by organisms.
For those not lucky enough to have a ticket for this expedition, Los Angeles-based Bluefish are also taking reservations for their 2018-19 expedition. They will be departing St. John’s and diving to the ocean floor for eleven to twelve hours aboard their nickel submersible. The cost of a ticket and the exact itinerary for this expedition have not yet been confirmed.
The wreck of the Titanic is being destroyed by metal-eating bacteria and fungi, whilst strong ocean-floor currents are destabilising the ship and salt water is corroding the mostly iron hull. It is estimated the wreck may be destroyed within the next fifteen to twenty years. In the meantime, a life-size replica of the Titanic is currently being built in the Sichuan province of China for tourists to visit. This replica will include reproductions of the Titanic’s original features and will be permanently docked in a reservoir in the Qijiang River.