Dr Robert Ballard to return to the Titanic


Apr 14, 2001
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To all membors of the board, I have some big news concerning Dr Ballard. In case you have or havent heard dr Robert Ballard announced over this past weekend, that he has decided to return to the Ttitanic wreckage after almost 19 years after he first discovered the wreckage on september 1st,1985> There are reports that the wreckage is disapearing fast, and he wants to see it for him self. The expidition will begin on May 30th and will end on June 9th it will last for 11 days, and i am wondering if there is anyone on this board is going to be part of the expidition, and if so, what do you expect to find when you go there? Jennifer Mueller
 
Mar 3, 1998
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There are some members of this board who have been interviewed for the National Geographic programme that will air just as the expedition ends.

I expect that Dr. Ballard's expedition will be more political than historically significant. My read of his intentions is that he will document the deterioration -- which might be forensically useful -- but he will also use the event as a platform to call for a halt to continued visits to the wreck by anyone other than himself or someone who has his approval.

I have never supported tourist dives or needless damage to the wreck in a careless search for treasure. However, a lot of priceless information has come from artefact extraction and interior exploration by responsible parties, like RMSTI and Jim Cameron. Say what you will about either, but neither have intentionally damaged the wreck during the course of their pursuits and they have provided a glimpse of the ship and into the lives of those who sailed in her that would otherwise have been lost to history.

We are on the verge of learning so much more about the wreck and the secrets that it still holds. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the information gleaned from Cameron's 2001 expedition, and the possibilities for follow-on exploration that were only hinted at. In addition, the exploration of Britannic is maturing to the point where we have a chance to take advantage of a growing synergy of information between the two wrecks to virtually re-construct the two sisters. I would hope that Ballard would not call to an end to such efforts, or disrupt them by attempting to take them over under his own cognizance.

There is careless and destructive activity around the wreck that worries me. Certainly, that must be stopped. However, there are also responsible parties who have developed -- and are continuing to develop -- both the resources and technology to properly explore the wreck and analyse uncovered evidence. Ballard hasn't concerned himself with Titanic for decades now...why insert himself so publically now? I am very wary of his motives. For the first time as a Titanic enthusiast, I am anticipating a major wreck expedition not with excitement, but rather with great trepidation.

Parks
 

Jon Hollis

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Jan 23, 2004
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Well said Parks. Many of us had lots of respect for Ballard years ago but many have lost such respect over the years because of his egomania and for better words hiding in the background as others did the work out there. Perhaps now some will see that the posts I have put out before regarding his actions might agree in part. True lots of damage has been done out there but as you say not by deliberation but by accident or too much activity too close to the wreck stirring up the ruticles and such. But go back to 1985 when Ballards own team complained about him allowing Argo to bounce off the wreck more than once. They wanted to fly higher due to surface waves but he insisted on going as low as possible. I saw Argo after it came up with paint and rust from Titanic still on it. So like you I can see no reason for him to get his nose back in it unless as you say it is strictly political or more egomania. Perhaps he intends to glue a title of ownership as first finder to it. Like I said at the beginning of this post, lots of us admired and respected him then but as time went by that faded for many including some of his old staff. Just a quick mention of Lusitania and Mikes statement about how it is all collapsed when now and he doubted anyone could have got inside. I was talking about the Oceaneering 20/20 expeditions that were over 20 years ago and it WAS NOT collapsed then and the DID get in. Ballard said he did not see any hole in her from any explosion. Well his track record for seeing holes ain't too good. Remember he missed the big one on Titanics starboard side. Anyway this should be interesting. Oh, who is taking him down there. Is the U.S. Navy going to foot the bill and will W.H.O.I let him use Alvin??? Will the French Ifremer invite him to use Nautille??? If he goes with the Russians will his U.S. Navy associates applaud that????
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Interesting article in this month's National Geographic on Ballard's latest expeditions in the Black Sea, including a glimpse of his "Argus/Hercules" system.

I suspect that for Ballard, fundraising won't be a problem.

Jim
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I work on URI campus- Ballard's alma mater, and it was a media circus Friday morning when his announcement was made at the press conference on campus. It was set to coincide with the opening of his Titanic Exhibit in Mystic. CT at his Institute for Undersea Exploration which I plan to check out tomorrow for inclusion in the TIS convention stops for May 1. The 18 foot Titanic model which was wrecked last fall on the trip aboard the semi is the centerpiece. The local papers have been jammed with Ballard news- go to http://www.newlondonday.com then type in Titanic in the upper left hand box to see the many articles which have appeared over the past week.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>For the first time as a Titanic enthusiast, I am anticipating a major wreck expedition not with excitement, but rather with great trepidation.<<

Can I join this club? Mind you I have no personal animus towards Dr. Ballard. (Hell, I don't even know him nor have I ever exchanged notes with him.) Were it not for his work, it's not likely we would be discussing what to do about or to the wreckage were it not for his finding the ship in the first place. However, with all the politiking around that's been going on, I can't help but veiw this with some skepticism concerning his motives in returning to a ship which...to my understanding...he's on record as having said he was done with.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now...shucks, I'll even buy the book...but my opinion will be subject to change based on what happens.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I won't be buying his book or anything else he writes, since I don't expect him to address a few things he has refused to let himself be accountable for years now (like with regard to his 1985 Congressional testimony and his peculiar assertions about "crows nest telephones") and only expect him to regurgitate the same old things he's said over and over again in all of his previous books.

The idea that he wants to use this expedition as the occasion to force no one but him to dive on the wreck from here on only shows that having run out of other famous ships to find and get his name in the headlines he now feels the need after nearly 20 years to go back to the site of what made him famous in the first place to boost his ego.
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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This is dreadful news; what's he going to do, stand guard down there with a gun and keep others away?

Is he going to actually make some sort of legal claim here, or it it all going to be his usual holier-than-thou, hypocritical rubbish?

The walking ego no doubt has his National Geographic TV show and major book deal (Complete with extensive ghost writing again, no doubt) already in place, and yet the finished projects will be as unsatisfying as his other recent expeditions.

Frankly, I think the man just wants 'his' favourite toy back, and that's all there is to it.
 

Jon Hollis

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Jan 23, 2004
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Hey Mike Bull Good posts..
I repeat the question Who is taking him down OR OUT there??? Is the U.S. Navy going to foot the bill and will W.H.O.I let him use Alvin??? Will the French Ifremer invite him to use Nautille??? If he goes with the Russians will his U.S. Navy associates applaud that???? Remember when he made the statement about the French removing HIS plaque and saying they probably put it in one of the toilets. Real Pro Ain't He
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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Well, it says he's going on the NOAA research ship 'Ronald H. Brown', which means no Nadir so no Nautile, no Keldysh so no Mirs etc etc. And I think I read somewhere that Alvin has been de-rated from such depths and can't go back to the Titanic now anyway?

It really sounds, for the moment at least, that it will be all ROV, controlled from the surface; so I don't thinkthat we're likely to get another interior-fest like the Cameron trip.

Maybe Bob will get us a nice shot of the bow railings, that would make a nice change.

Re. the plaques, his bow plaque is still there, and his stern one has very obviously just fallen off; if we can see/work that out, he should be able to!

Just how sour can grapes be, anyhow?
 
Jan 29, 2001
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In all his likeness Dr. Ballard would not want to stray too far from the limelight. In his often contradictory manner, Dr. Ballard suggested that regular visits by deep submersibles is somehow hastening TITANIC's deterioratiion. So what does he do? Plans a deep submersible visit to the wreck!

Afterall who opened this pandora box? Who was swathed in all of this World recogognition? Who capatalized on *our* endless yearning of information in regards to this TITANIC passion?
Who too took a "Long Last Look at Titanic" in '86 and subsequently petitioned for an "off limits" declaration?

But Dr. Ballard there was so much more we wanted to see and know...our yearning is timeless (BTW, I just love the image of the bunker hatch cover featured in GOA...only wish it could have been larger).

Maybe Dr. Ballard can write a second epilogue to "Discovery of the Titanic"..Damage done to the Titanic by salvagers. If only Ballard had kept that snagged piece of rigging attached to ARGO (SEE; NG Dec. '85) If only...if only...

Really Dr. Ballard what difference does it make?

The sea hath spoken at 2:20 a.m. on the fifthteenth of April nineteen hundred and twelve...and even in this modern age of technology...we can never change that...never.

As an aside...take a look at those recently (NG Explorer last Saturday) expressed feelings from the direct descendants of the HUNLEY. Now the folks partaking in the salvage and conservation went as far as, as some of you would say...rob two graves!! In fact they exhumed a grave in order to obtain DNA so as to have conclusive evidence of one of HUNLEY's crew. And not only that, they offered forensic facial likeness of the entire crew! Just imagine the impact it had on the living descendants of today...I can not tell you what it did for me.

BTW, have they found a cure for goosebumps ;-)

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Jan 29, 2001
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ADDENDUM:

Would somebody please bring the mail home.

It's just sitting there waiting. Is'nt it ironic that the seabed left a 30' ovate breech as a point of entry?

I really don't think the "pink shag carpet" (So dubbed by the '96 scientists) would mind being disturbed. There is plenty of room at the wrecksite for all marine species. Regardless of class. :)

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Apr 11, 2001
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It's a small world after all. While working at the Lizzie Borden Museum this past weekend, one of my guests, when we changed subject from hatchet murder to Titanic, said he worked for the Massachusetts boatbuilding company- O'Connell and something(?) and they had just finished building a new research vessel which is to be christened soon and named after a man who died in that freak accident in the Bermuda yacht race a few years ago- something like "Tioga"- I was too stunned to take it in- of course the expedition boat is for- drumroll- Bob Ballard. I will try to get more info.
 
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Feb 14, 2011
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I do admire Dr Ballard's past achievements, and his sparking a love for the sea in the hearts of thousands of young people..
But I think his opposition to artifact recovery has always been a case of sour grapes..
He testified before congress he favored artifact recovery, but when another group beat him to the punch, he changed his song...
Perhaps he saw that as the french getting revenge for him prematurly releasing the photographs...
So if Dr Ballard cant dive on Titanic and/or recover artifacts, then nobody else can either...

Plus, the good Doctor is hardly humble, and does indeed give me the impression he feels 'only he' is worthy to dive Titanic.

The Cameron dive has proved there is much that still needs to be explored inside the wreck, and that will involve manned dives.

And perhps im in a minority on this one, but I totally favor the 'tourist dives'. Id wager to say 99% of Titanic buffs are in a line of work that would never afford a chance to dive on the titanic.
The 'tourist dive' route is the only option for most- And if the flight plan over the wreck is done with due caution, Im totally for it.
Chances are thats how I'll make my dive, though I need to save up the $35,000.

There has been past damage on the wreck due to submersible dives, but I dont think that has caused the explosion in growth of the iron eating bacteria.
Some attribute that to temperature changes..

And lastly, there is no avoiding the fact Titanic will contunue to crumble and deteriorate- Thats what shipwrecks do, and before her decks give way, I do hope more of her interior is filmed, and items are recovered for exhibition, in particular, items from the marconiroom area...
regards


Tarn Stephanos
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Question for the rivet-heads here:

If Ballard were to re-do the photo mosaic of the bow section that he originally did in '86, how much value would that updated mosaic be?

Jim
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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Wow, you guys don't like the man at all - may I ask, hasn't he done a lot of work (including the discovery of the wreck) that is worthwhile?
 
May 8, 2001
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Here is my #1 main concern in hearing this. If he succeeds in stopping all ventures to the ship, (or stir the pot) how quickly will others in "special interest groups" be able to mosey into court armed with this ground breaking precedence, and stop others, no matter what their purpose may be, either scientific, historic, or pleasure, whenever they want, in other ocean wreck sites?
I just don't have a good feeling about this.
 

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