No wonder it took 73 years to find RMS Titanic, she was found nearly 13,000 feet below the Atlantic surface! And to get down there, you need more than a scuba suit. It is not exactly cheap either. But the biggest question was the Titanic's exact position. The knowledgeable have been discussing this issue since 15.April 1912 when navigating at night by stars, with little knowledge about the ships speed, made this a rather tricky business. At last, RMS Titanic was to be found 2.5 miles to the south and 15.5 miles more to the east than the CQD position stated that tragic night.
It was not coincidence that made Dr. Robert D. Ballard the man to find her. As a scientist at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, USA, he had the background and possible assets to carry out the search. He said that the first time he thought of looking for Titanic, was in 1973 when he was a junior scientist and member of the 'Alvin-group' (Alvin is a small tree-man sinking boat, named after one of her first spokesmen, Al Vine).
Dr. Robert D. Ballard was not the first cruising the Atlantic trying to locate the RMS Titanic. Several others had tried earlier, but with no result. But his most aggressive opponent was Jack Grimm, a rather eccentric oil man from Texas. Jack Grimm had, even before he left the harbour, sold the media rights for the story. You could almost believe he had found her already. He had earlier been searching for other 'remarkable' expeditions, such as; a 'hole' at the North pole, Noah's Arch in Turkey, the snowman in Tibet and the monster in Loch-Ness. He was aiming to be remembered in the history books. This time he might get a chance, he was now looking for something that definitively had existed. But his first voyage in June 1980 did not reveal any shipwreck, and not in 1981. In 1983 he returned with some pictures he stated had to be one of Titanic's propels, but this have never been verified.
Ballard's last attempt to find Titanic were to planned very carefully. They collected all known material, including the experiences of Jack Grimms expedition and compared these with information from the hearings in 1912 (both the British and the US). The search were divided in two phases. The first was to be done by the French ship Le Suroit who, during the first four weeks, were to find Titanic by the aid of SAR (Sonar Aqoustique Remorqué). Phase two were to be conducted by the US Navy's Knorr and the naval vessel 'Alvin'. Between 25.August and 5.September they were going to document, by photos and sound, the findings of SAR. But even the most well planned voyages can be ruined in the destiny feels it right. This almost happened several times and if that wasn't enough, the information they got from the Jack Grimm expeditions were false.
So the search were divided in shifts :
- 08.00-12.00 and 20.00-24.00 by ' The Crash gang '
- 12.00-16.00 and 24.00-04.00 by ' The Harris-heroes '
- 16.00-20.00 and 04.00-08.00 by ' The Clown gang '
The search started as enthusiastic as any search does. The mood were on top, they felt almost certain that Titanic were in the area they had been concentrating on, and most of the other equipment seemed to work all fine. But the results didn't show up, and they got problems with some of the equipment.
The biggest catastrophe happened after 3 days search; the wire that dragged ARGO, fell out of the tackle and the winch stopped. All things indicated that this was the last they had seen of ARGO, and with her, many million dollars of equipment and the sponsors goodwill. They couldn't rescue ARGO now! But the crew acted as a team, everyone did their share, and together the finally managed to unfasten the wire and winch. Ballard and the other members were certain that the sensitive fibercabel, who transmitted the TV-signals to the surface, were destroyed. But they had at least saved ARGO from disappearing into the deep! When they reversed Knorrs engines in an attempt raise ARGO from the bottom, the pictures suddenly appeared clear as the day!
So the 'crash gang' could continue their mission to search for Titanic. But soon, the day became long again and was only spiced up with stupid bagatelles.