Iceberg as life raft


Jason D. Tiller

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Aug 20, 2000
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Hi Sam,

"Under just reflected starlight there would not be much color to see in the first place."

That's true, as the stars do not reflect a lot of light. I was thinking from the point of view, that perhaps the berg had been under water for sometime and therefore was a lot harder to see.

Interesting accounts from QM Olliver, QM Rowe and Lookouts Fleet and Lee, I had not seen those before, so thanks for posting them. Also that's interesting about how the berg would have been seen from the ship, now you've got me looking at this in a different light.
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Best regards,

Jason
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Feb 24, 2004
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G'day, Inger!

>>I also wonder about the mysterious darkened boat or ship that Gardiner used to bolster his theory. One survivor purportedly saw it pass close to the lifeboats, a dark shape that he assumed was a blacked out boat. It would make rather more sense if it was an iceberg.

Yes, that's most curious. I've come across a number of comments from people to the effect "she passed right by us", only to find they were actually referring to the ship with the light in the distance. Where in Gardiner is that? I haven't the stomach to shlog through the entire thing again, but I'm curious to see if this is just possibly something different.

I've noticed lately I've been paying considerably more attention to the "ice eclipse" phenomenon than I used to.

Best wishes, ducks!

Roy
 

Inger Sheil

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Roy! You're not going to make me go and dig out Gardiner, are you?
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Not sure I even still have that volume...it was the second switch theory book, I seem to recall. Will see if I can find it for you, but it's possible you're correct and what gives an impression of closeness means quite a few nautical miles (again, relying on dodgy memory, I seem to recall that this account suggested it was a sailing boat or something along those lines, and it was dark and silent...I could be quite off in that recollection, though). Gardiner's approach to sources is so problematical it's necessary to review everyone he cites in their entirety and their original context - his claims about Boat 14 rescuing passengers from both Collapsible A and a 'raft' are a case in point.

'Ducks' is right at the moment, I'm afraid - it's a drizzly old Sydney week. 'Good weather for ducks', as my Nana would have observed.

Thanks for your posts too, Samuel and Jason - I'm reading with interest, even when I don't have much to contribute.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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G'day, Inger!

>>Roy! You're not going to make me go and dig out Gardiner, are you?

Naww, we've been friends too long of a time for me to ask a cruel thing like that of you! '-)

Anyway, I think I might have located the reference. Now, could you please hand me some soap, hot water and a towel??

Roy
 

Inger Sheil

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Ah yes - I can imagine feeling the need to scrub off some of the mud when you've had to dive into those murky waters...!

Cheers -

Inger
 

Lynn Jones

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Aug 20, 2008
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I always wondered if they could have maneuvered the ship back to the iceberg or to any iceberg before taking on too much water and somehow used the iceberg to save passengers. Could the flotation capacity of the iceberg have been used?
I see the question is well covered and deemed not too feasible. But there were not a lot of options.
I suppose by the time they got turned, they would be 1/4 mile past the iceberg. If the lifeboats had all been tied together, they would have been capable of saving many more people. All hindsight 98 years too late.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>But there were not a lot of options.<<

I'm afraid the iceberg wasn't one of them. Even if they could have found it in the dark, it was a mountainous bit of work and not really useful for beaching.

>>If the lifeboats had all been tied together, they would have been capable of saving many more people.<<

Surprisingly as it may seem, this just isn't the case. Oar powered lifeboats aren't the most handy craft in the world, but singly at least, they can manuever and be taken from point A to point B. Tied up in a massive raft, all they can do is drift with the current. They are incapable of going back to pick up swimmers and that's what they would have needed to be able to do.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Good picture Russell! The complete idea is "silly"! Aside that the people were not able to "climb" or "hang on" an iceberg and survive on it, the ship would have rammed the iceberg by trying to go alongside.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hey Jason and Russell,

I think it's real a upended berg but the photo was doctored on it brightness and color. Plus the shadows where taken out.
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May 27, 2007
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quote:

Isn't that a theory, that the berg that the Titanic struck was recently upended?

Hi Jeremy,

Yep. I remember that theory from as far back as '93 when Titanic: Death Of A Dream and Titanic: The Legend Lives On was shown on A&E.​
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Isn't that a theory, that the berg that the Titanic struck was recently upended?<<

It's been kicked around in one form or another since 1912. The problem is that we don't know if the testimony to the effect was honest or a piece of misdirection.
 

Laurel

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Jul 7, 2000
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Please excuse the odd title, but this crossed my mine as I was reading some alternate collision theories and their suspected survivability rate. Theoretically, could the iceberg itself have been used as a sort of giant raft, i.e. the passengers just sit on it and wait for rescue? It would alleviate the lifeboat shortage and underfilled lifeboat problem, at least to an extent. I assume blankets and linens could be taken and laid out on the iceberg to add some insulation, although the first class would probably never agree to the idea of sitting on a giant lump of ice in the Atlantic. Despite the fact that this is completely unrealistic because most would not agree to it, if they were willing to wait on the iceberg would it have been possible to do so without also contracting hypothermia from the cold of the ice and air, and could the iceberg have even been sat on? I'm not sure how jagged or flat it was, or how an iceberg of that size would be generally shaped.

If this could have happened, I think it would be best to have children and the elderly or sick on lifeboats, and able bodies on the ice, or have mixed groups in lifeboats and on ice and then switch after a time if possible to keep the cold of the ice from causing any extreme harm. Ideally class separation would not be a problem, although in reality it most likely would. Maybe the classes could be separated with certain lifeboats for classes, at least with designated "third class" lifeboats and mixed "first and second class" boats?

I believe the Titanic had actually left the iceberg behind a bit, but considering that some of the lifeboats rowed towards distant lights and made fairly good time in rowing, could they have possibly ferried people to and from the iceberg? I'm sure this would have taken time, but could it have been done? If Titanic had stopped right when it hit the iceberg this would probably be a much more effcient theory, but I think anything that might give a slightly better survival rate is better than the 1,517 deaths that took place due to underfilled boats and a lack of sufficent boats to begin with.
 
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J Sheehan

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Personally, I wouldn't sit on an iceberg that might be highly unstable enough without any additional top weight on it...not to mention its sheer cliff like walls.

In that situation, I'll be honest, I'd rather take my chances in the water.
 
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May 3, 2005
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I think it would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to get on an iceberg in the first place.
Ice is rather slippery.
Are there any instances of people getting on an iceberg ?
 

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