2006 History Channel Britannic expedition


Mar 3, 1998
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Greeting from Kea Island, in the Aegean Sea! I'm posting from the site of the History Channel/Lone Wolf Documentary Group expedition to the wrecksite of the HMHS Britannic. The goal of this expedition is to learn whatever we can from the wreck, using a combination of man-divers (led by John Chatterton and Richie Kohler of the "Deep Sea Detectives" series) and ROVs supplied by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). Simon Mills and I are providing historical/technical support to the dive team. Our group assembled in the port of St, Nikola during the past few days and diving operations will begin in a day or two, starting with a practice dive on the Patris, a paddle-wheel steamer of late-1800s vintage in the local waters.

Internet connectivity is somewhat difficult from Kea...as the situation now stands, I have to share a DSL line in a local government office is order to post. I will try to upload updates in this forum during the two weeks that we plan to be operating here, but please be patient if my postings are not on a consistent daily basis. I will also not be able to discuss specifics of our operations or findings, but I will do my best to give you a general idea of how our expedition is progressing. Our work will be the basis for a History Channel programme devoted to Britannic that will see release sometime next year.

Please stay tuned to this thread as we commence diving on the Britannic wreck.

Parks
 
Feb 7, 2005
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Sounds very exciting, Parks! As Mike said, this explains why you've been so quiet lately. And it also explains why you won't be joining us in Toledo the weekend of September 29 - October 1 (http://www.glts.org/events/toledo_2006/).

Best of luck with this expedition! I look forward to your posts, and the upcoming History Channel special.

Denise
 
May 9, 2001
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Parks,
Once again you are in the trenches, advancing our knowledge of 'Titanica' through hands on participation. What a life. I am envious, but very proud.

Cheering for you at home.
Best of luck!
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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This sounds absolutely intriguing - the combination of technical divers and ROVs promises to really tackle problems of access. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, and with an overarching plan of attack that takes these into account they could complement each other very well indeed. Add into that superlative historical support from Simon and yourself, and this looks like it could well be the most focused and informative doco done on the Britannic to date. Looking forward to the results!
 
Nov 26, 2005
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With the great team out there and with all there is left to be discovered at the wreck of Britannic I am very much looking forward to seeing this program. I wish it could take up a 2-hour time slot. Congratulations, Parks and you all be safe out there! Can't wait to hear more.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I was wondering when this would be announced. Thank you, Parks, for letting us all know. I am particularly excited at the use of the ROVs and the potential discoveries that may be made. As Inger stated, this may be the most informative exploration of the Britannic to date.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Yesterday, the team conducted a practice dive in the harbour at St. Nikolo. Because I was not needed, I went to Athens to see the Parthenon. On the way back, I was kidnapped by my taxi driver and relieved of all my cash. I was dumped in a bad part of Athens and had to find my own way (in the pouring rain) to the bus station for the trip back to Lavrio Port. I barely made the last ferry run to Kea. I was not hurt, but lost all of my operating monies...it could have been much worse. And now, the running gag among the expedition team is, "Do what I say or I'm going to put you in a taxi with Parks."

Today is the first day of diving on the wreck. The intent today is to tie down the mooring lines for the divers to use. If they have any spare time, they will explore the area around the forward well deck and the break. There's a lot that I would like for them to look for, including the builder's plaque. We'll see how much they can film on this first day.

Please don't send private e-mails to me...my access to the Internet is very limited and I have only enough time to respond to personal (re: family) e-mail and provide posts here. I am, however, reading the posts in this thread and passing the info on to others in the expedition.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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No money, please. I did not relate the story for sympathy...it's just something that happened to me while I was here. I cannot take money from any of you, but thank you for the thought.

The dive went well, the mooring lines were set. An initial search of the B-deck wall did not reveal any presence of the builder's plaque, but we'll try again when we get the chance. The divers did check the ocean floor directly underneath and failed to find the plaque, but they did find instead an engine-order telegraph from the bridge lodged in the starboard bridge wing. We'll identify which one it is, but it's not the starboard main engines telegraph...that one is still in place, hanging by its chains.

Please remember that this was not supposed to be a day of exploration...what the divers found today was a bonus. We'll follow up in more detail during the exploration dives. We have much of the bow section covered (if everything goes as planned), as well as key parts of the stern. We even may send a diver right down through the #4 funnel into the turbine room, if all goes well.

The real exploration starts tomorrow. For now, I've had a lot of uzo and now need to stagger into bed.

Parks
 
Mar 5, 2001
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OK, no money - but if i can help with anything please feel free to contact me!

and caution: after a lot of uzo....do not confound the bed with a taxi
happy.gif


best regards from germany

Thorsten
www.LostLiners.de
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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What a ghastly experience, Parks. Although in 10 years time it will make a fantastic chapter in the book you're going to have to write about your experiences all over the world, researching large liner wrecks. I think you've earned the Ouzo...! In fact, I think I have a bottle of it tucked waaaay back in the bar...I may have a shot tonight. With some nice Greek-style seafood.

Other than that, sounds like things are off to a flying start. How promising - and remarkable - that objects like the telegraphs are still at the site. Those stringently enforced regulations from the Greek government certainly have positive effects on wreck preservation!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>We even may send a diver right down through the #4 funnel into the turbine room, if all goes well.<<

As I hope it does. I think it goes without saying that caution is the watchword, but the team you're with knows what it's doing. I just don't want to see anybody's name from the expedition show up in the Obituary column. David Bright was one too many in that catagory.

>>For now, I've had a lot of uzo and now need to stagger into bed. <<

Sounds like you earned the right to nip on a bit of firewater.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Today's dive was cancelled due to high winds. We're going to try again tomorrow. We're going to have multiple teams covering the bow section, with some very deep penetration (the kind that makes one really nervous) planned. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler are saving the most risky penetration for themselves. If tomorrow goes as planned, everything else will be downhill from there.

I did venture into some uzo last night, and I drank it as the Greeks do...on the rocks with no water added. It was like Mojo in the PI...tastes like a harmless, sweet drink with no apparent effect until you stand up to leave.

I asked about David Bright last night during dinner. According to the divers around the table, it wasn't the Doria that killed David, but rather diver error. His death was a warning to everyone who will be going into the water tomorrow.

Parks
 
Nov 26, 2005
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Are there any plans to venture into passenger/hospital areas, or do you all feel that these have been adequately covered in past expeditions?

I am sorry also to hear about your misfortune while in Athens. Hopefully someone will nail the guy.

Take good care and thanks for taking the time to keep us updated.
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Hi Parks, and "Greetings From Toronto" (I'll be here through Monday).

Thanks for the posts; it looks like this will be a great expedition, and a spectacular documentary.

I, too, hope that the devious cab driver will be caught.

Regarding the UZO: I think you'll feel a lot of empathy when you, again, watch the dinner party scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and watch Bruce Gray and Fiona Reed (I think that's their names; they played John Corbett's parents), after they first try UZO.
 

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