MIRS Nautile's ballast & Bismarck

Jan 29, 2001
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Hello:

Wow it's quite the challenge to maintain membership in *just two* discussion forums in relation to Titanic.

First, the MIRS are the sole creation of Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch...his $50,000,000 dream coming of relization. His Academic Keldysh expeditions are dependant on scientists & oceanographers (recent study of the Haakon-Mosby Mud Volcano of the Arctic Sea) and of course the
entrepreneur types (The Titanic tours & Paul Tidwell's attempt at recovering the gold bullion
from the Japanese I-52, lost in WWII at a depth of 17'190') Sagalevitch's dream is without help from the Russian Gov't. Perhaps lending to the fact the MIR submersibles are importantly maintained.

The French, IFREMER submersible Nautile is fitted with external *lead-shot* ballast tanks (BTW, her batteries, if a precarious predicament arose, are also jettisonable.) True, during the '96 expedtion to Titanic, sand bags were fitted to Nautile's struts, enhancing her abyssal descent. But, in no way are these the ones featured in "Submersible activity" - the photos contributed by Andrew Rodgers. It is important to understand, Nautile is *dropped* well-clear of the wrecksite, and aided by her on-board sonar and additional guidance topside...directed to the wrecksite. However, the bags are no doubt, remanants of the endeavor to recover artifacts and additional filming (Retrieval baskets & Edison Light Towers).

As for touring the Bismarck, I find it goulhish. We know what happened to her...an onslaught of nearly 3,000 British shells, sufficient enough to kill her!! Her rudder took a hit, thereby dooming her. Is there furthur study to be had with the field of German Soldier boots? I find it demeaning to those *lost boys*.

I would think, and hope that the German Gov't has final say over Bismarck's remains.

The TITANIC wreck is a direct act of mankind's fallability, it is important to bring home the *silent witness'* from the event...continue to tour them Word-Wide. Permanently marking mankinds thoughts with the sorrow that the artifacts represent...in hopes of preventing furthur pitiful loss of this sort.

The BISMARK represents mankinds hatred for one another...let her lost souls, recognized tangibly in 1989, rest in the silent dark peace of the perpetual abyss...off the coast of Brest France.

Michael A. Cundiff
Carson City, NV
USA
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Don't worry Mike, you'll manage somehow. I'm not really surprised that the Russian government isn't funding the Mir or anything to do with it as they have some very severe financial difficulties which won't go away any time soon. (A nice sized chunk of their navy is rusting away at the peirs, for want of funding, including nuclear submarines.)

The sailors on the Academic Keldysh are probably counting their blessings that they have any work at all.

Interesting comments on the Bismark. Have other expeditions been down there besides Ballard's? I agree that she should be left alone.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello Michael:

This coming April '01 should prove interesting for the Russian Gov't. For they have amended an agenda to salvage the KURSK, and the remaining crew still entomed in her stucture. (I am certain this has much to do with the 20 *nukes* still on-board) I am willing to bet that the MIR 1 and MIR II submersibles will somehow play a part...even if the Russian military should find the combined 10,000 watt lighting of the twin MIR submersibles to their benefit.

Dr. Ballard's 1989 expedition remains the only
visit (From a considerable reach...:) to Battleship Bismarck. I understand it were his intentions to pay an *up-close* homage, perhaps by way of ALVIN, but a second visit was never to transpire. "Sink the Bismark" and in a sorrowful manner, avenge the H.M.S. Hood...the heart and soul of opposing nation's culminated loss...the cost of WAR!

(Pgs. 628-629 of the Nov. 89 National Geographic periodical conveys precisely, even for the average reader, the outcome of a battle on the high seas...the morning of 27 May 1941.) So let her remains go left alone...

WE needed to find TITANIC, for her story engulfed far too much mystique. Primarily the actual foundering...from Lightoller's vantage point to the young Thayer boy's account. My how broad they ranged!! And is'nt it so ironic that a 16 year-olds telling, in time, denounced that of a seasoned sailor? So many queries left unanswered, even as we speak today.

A three pinnacled white monstor inflicted such a substantial blow...even be it only the size of a modern refrigerator....the repercussions are everlasting!!

Regards,

Michael Cundiff
Carson City, NV
USA
 
Dec 2, 2000
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With 20 nukes on board a sub which is clearly reachable, that sounds like a good incentive to at least go down and clean up that mess befor some less savory types do the job. This would be true even if only one weapon was aboard. The Project 949A (NATO code name OSCAR II) could carry 24 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19) cruise missiles which were dual capable weapons.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
A

Andrew Rogers

Guest
G'day Michael and Michael!
A little more info on the Mirs for you.
The original concept was Anatoly's but a company in Finland named Rauma-Repola Oy. were also involved in the design. In 1985, R-R (for short)began construction. Both subs were certified in Dec '87.
The Finnish company built the Mirs at the request of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, with Anatoly as the big boss. At that time the Institute was a Russian Gov't concern. At some stage in the 90's the Gov't funding was withdrawn and the Keldysh had to go it alone. I'm not sure what is happening with the Institute now but Anatoly did tell me about how difficult it is to keep head above water (so to speak).
It was encouraging to see that no expense is spared in the maintenance of the subs!
So now it is a case of keeping busy or lose everything.
I must say I was very surprised to see the Russians involved in the last RMST salvage expedition.
Michael C. I don't now much about Nautile at all and I think the title on the pictures I sent to Phil is a little misleading. I suppose it should read "Evidence of human activity"
Some weeks before I sent the pics I posted some info on thread named "GMA" under the "General Questions" heading. You might have to go to the keyword search to find it.
It was quite clear to me that the ballast bags and attached chains were from the big light tower episode.
As for the descent to the wreck site, it is a bit of a hit and miss exercise. The prevailing currents are difficult to judge from the surface, so during a 2 1/2 hour descent the sub can "land" up to 1km from the original surface co-ordinates. I imagine the crew would try and get as close to the wreck as possible rather than use up valuable battery power driving hundreds of meters to the hulk.
The place is not over run with junk from the salvage dives but it is a little sad to see anything like that at all.

The Bismarck. Well, I can see your point about the difference between the B and the T. If I ever had the chance to go to the bottom again I would much sooner go to the Titanic!
But I can't see the goulishness in a visit to the Bismarck. I guess it is more a trip to see an amazing ship from an equally amazing (and no less horrible) part of history.
On the 25th April every year all us Aussies and Kiwis share in the memory of Anzac Day, a day (in the 1stWW) when thousands of our men were needlessly slaughtered by the Turks on the shores of the Dardanelles in Turkey. To this day Aussies, Kiwi's and Turks gather together on that beach to remember the lives of the lost.
I see the two as kind of similar. A respectful look at something so interesting is pretty harmless.
Gathering boots, helmets or personal items and bringing them to the surface, well, to me that's crossing a different line.
"The Bismarck represents mans hatred for one another..". If we still hated each other, them maybe, but I don't think so.

Bye for now,
Andrew
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Andrew, and thanks for the information. I can't say as I'm the least bit surprised by the Russians continued involvement with RMST Inc. Hell, it's money in the bank and they need it. So long as the contract is available, they'll be there.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello Andrew:

Thank you for your input Sir. Also, thank you for sharing in part, a dream I have yet to realize...only if I could muster an extra 35K :)
(Any chance, perhaps with Mr. Hinds permission of contributing more wreck photos? Do you have any recognizable shots of TITANIC's ravaged stern?

I would like to share some words from Mrs.
Sagalevitch. Before a dive Natalya pushes her way to the railing that overlooks the launch pad (MIRS)..."This is my place, I've been standing here every time he goes down". She does'nt smile when Anatoly disappears down the hatch with a quick thumbs up. For the Russians, the Tidwell expedition means survival. "For eight years we've been hanging by a thread," she says, "with no support from the government, at the end of the food chain." (October '99 NG article "Last dive of I-52".) BTW, there were some hard feelings between Sagalevitch and Tidwell over money on that particular endeavor...:-(

Perhaps now you can understand why the Academic Keldysh/MIRS honored the contract of RMSTI for the 2000 expedition to Titanic.

It is important to apportion equal respect to all of the TITANIC expedition participants...many of the Frenchmen, particulary co-expedition leader P.H. Nargelolet were deeply touched when visiting the wreck (He shared the saddness, of his first look at the stern). I enjoyed overseas correspondence (snail-mail) with Mr. Nargeolet. He is genuinely a warm and humble man. He was also so kind in honoring my request...a signed photo of himself with G. Tulloch, visiting with Walter Lord during that time of the premiere Titanic exhibit in TN.

I would surmize, that owing to his termination as board member with RMSTI, some hard feelings may have been shed, lending lost business interests with IFREMER. However, Nargeolet heads up AQUA+ of France...the submersibles' JULES and JIM are at the firms disposal (Remember that awesom BRITANNIC propellor shot they brought us in '96, while testing the Mathias Eoscan image system....enroute to Titanic?)

Of course my feelings on the BISMARCK tours are certainly mine alone. I just think that the MIR's high intensity lighting will only rekindle the horrors of that awful time in 1941. Sure she was a marvel, I just adore that head-on bow shot in Ballard's book. The width of her beam, the heighth of her conning tower, and those awesom 16" guns leading the way. BISMARCKS's armor was 12" in her vital areas! It's no wonder it took nearly 3,000 rounds to kill her.

...and that combined loss of life, with just the two battlewagons...HOOD & BISMARCK...nearly 5,000.

...my GOD!

Best regards,

Michael Cundiff
Carson City, NV
U.S.A.
 
A

Andrew Rogers

Guest
G'day The Michael's,

Michael S, You're right, it's not surprising to see the Russians involved in the salvage expedition. I was a little surprised but I guess if it is "sink or swim" then I'm glad they swam so they could sink (quite literally) another day!

Michael C, I have a few good pics and a good amount of video of the wreck. I am hoping to save most of the photos to be used for another purpose. I am getting around to taking stills from my video so I might be able to use some of these sometime soon.
Regarding the stern; We landed about 1 min from the stern and I was so excited for the first hour or so that I didn't get a lot of it on film. I have some special video of the port prop. Will try and send something off to Phil inthe next couple of weeks.
Natalya is a lovely lady and a kind of backbone to the whole operation of the Keldysh/Mirs. She doesn't show it but I think the dives must be stressful for her, especially at depths like the I-52 !!
Bye for now
Andrew
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello Andrew:

It is interesting your mention of the port propellor...mind if I ask by what avenue of approach did the MIR take, enabling a video recording? I realize with the overhanging poop deck, an approach aft of the rudder is a precarious endeavor. Dr. Ballard and Alvin pilot Dudley Foster (Martin Bowen also) attempted to film the props by means of
such an approach...only to be negated, and subsequently Ballard reported that the props were deeply imbedded in the sea bottom. I was left intrigued with Nautile's 1987 video of the port propellor (First aired with "Return to the Titanic" Live from Paris, France). In turn I wrote to Ballard c/o WHOI, in hopes of receiving an explation. Dr. Ballard replied with a warm letter, and asserting "We only explored one side of the stern, as luck would have it the French explored the other where the prop was exposed". Believe it or not, George Tulloch furthur enhanced my intrigue with a letter in writing stating that only one prop was exposed on the wreck. Come to learn...after a ten-year serious quest (Writing is magic...:)...both port and starboard wing props are exposed.

As an aside to your excitement in seeing the stern wreck of TITANIC...while filming the IMAX "Titanica" Mr. Emory Kristof (Nat'l Geo. contract photographer) only viewed TITANIC from the MIR 1 acrylic viewports a total of 13 minutes (over a number of dives) just to say he saw TITANIC. His *keen eye* was focused on the video/moniter screens inside the MIRS's nickle sphere....shooting the very expensive film.

In closing...of the countless TITANIC wreck photos and film I have seen, there has been only a *single* photo released of the rudder. As seen in "Discovery of the Titanic", taken while Alvin was nudging under the after stern...in hopes of piercing the darkness...revealing a bronze maganese screw. Any clue why only the one?

Michael Cundiff
 
Jan 29, 2001
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ADDENDUM: Andrew, BTW I thought I would mention this...I also wrote a letter to Emory Kristof, in regards to the Ballard letter (Propellor content)
asking for a print of the propellor, and offering to cover all costs incurred. To my surprise and excitement, he forwarded an 11 x 14 print of the starboard wing prop (With his compliments) It is the familiar photo of a MIR in-tight to the prop (To convey the scale) and the skid trail left by the other, having reversed in order to film.

For some reason, I am always left spellbound with images of shipwreck propellors. Have you ever had a chance to see photos of the Japanese Battleship YAMATO props? I was taken aback with the latest images of BRITANNIC propellors.

Michael C.
 
A

Andrew Rogers

Guest
Hi Michael,
When we squeezed under the overhanging stern at about 45 degrees then straightened up to get a good look. The port prop is about 60% exposed with most of two blades visible. It's funny when I think back to the dive because I have no recollection at all of the rudder or even thinking of trying to see it (or the starboard prop). I think I was so wrapped and overawed by the whole thing that I didn't even slow down enough to think clearly!
The Mirs have a much lower profile than the Nautile or Alvin so I think all the best photos and video of the props will come from the Russian dives. It is a tight squeeze and Anatoly (for one) refuses to go under. Our pilot, Genya Chernaev, took only a little bit of sweet talking to take us under the fantail.
When I edited the video I had to cut out all the verbal expressions of excitement so that I could show the footage to school groups!

That was nice of Emory Kristof.His photos are fantastic.
The Imax footage of the same scene is great too.
The skid trail in the foreground of that pic must be from an earlier attempt to film because when the sub reversed it would stir up so much silty mud that it would take a long time to clear.

No, I'm yet to see the prop pics of both Yamato and Britannic. Where can I find them.

Andrew.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello Andrew:

The photos of YAMATO were, for a time available on the RMSTI web-page, as Tulloch and Nargeolet (Heading up AQUA+ of France) participated in the endeavor to recover artifacts from YAMATO...for the benefit of the Maritime Museum at Kure.

The "Discovery Channel" still operates a page with a quick-time movie of Jules and Jim filming BRITANNIC's prop (Where they also tested the EOSCAN imaging system) en-route to TITANIC.
However... http://www.discovery.com/area/science/titanic/titanic1.4html

...is a *hit and miss* chance, there is a back-up means of accessing the aforementioned movie. Access your YAHOO search engine, insert: Jules Jim Britannic
That should you ferry you there..."NYET problem"

As for the confidence of *your* sub pilot Victor C.

...no one's been left on the bottom yet.

_( )_
. .
'
~

...more power to the Russian Cowboys!

Michael Cundiff
Nevada, USA
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Remco:

Without a doubt, GUE's '99 Expedition to BRITANNIC produced the most dramatic images of the wreck to date. Coupled with the ambient light,
the advanced photographic/lighting equipment culminated with spectacular images!

I am anticipating the findings of the firm/teams
structural data gathering.

Michael Cundiff
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Jan 6, 2001
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The '99 expedition surely produced some stunning pictures!
The expedition from '98 also had some great ones, I especially like the ones that show the tip of the bow and more of the forecastle.

Uhm, I don't get the last sentence
sad.gif


Now, let's take a look at the Britannic prop footage, it sounds good!

Regards,
Remco