National Geographic the best of 2004


Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Since we in the UK are still waiting for Ballard's diatribe in the latest NatGeo, I saw an NG special - "The best of 2004", and yes a few of Ballard's 2004 images are in there - the bow mosaic, shoes, floor tiles...and a photo of the captain's bath where he places the blame on the collapse of the outside wall entirely upon visitors to the wreck. Never did it occur to him that it might have been due to natural erosion!

Paul
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Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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That'll be the self same wall that was peeling outwards when the ship was first found, then?

That man makes my blood boil.
 

Dan Cherry

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If everything I've heard and observed can be counted upon as fact, I truly don't understand why Ballard is contributing most of the degradation of the wreck over the past 19 years entirely to human-caused damage. I wouldn't imagine the trunk vents have been landed upon by subs, but almost the entire top shell plating over the past 19 years have crumbled to nothing. I believe most of what we are witnessing in "damage" is merely the process of 90-plus years of salt water doing its thing to metal.

Another thing I don't understand is the re-assertion that the bell was "stripped" from the mast. The 1985 exploration pictures show that the bell was never ON the mast - only the bracket. He or his spokespeople keep making that claim, but constant re-iteration won't make it so.

In all fairness, was it not determined that one expedition DID in fact pull a little at the wall to offer a better view of the captain's tub? True or no, the bulkhead WAS all but lying flat on the deck when first filmed in 1985, and the bridge wing bulkheads, bent or leaning 19 years ago, are all flat now, too.

Bottom line: salt water, thin top deck metal and 92 years of time don't mix very well... it happens.
 

Mark Draper

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Nov 9, 2004
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I read in the most recent book by Hass and Eaton, that the starboard wall to Smith's room was ripped off by Cameron during his 1995 dives for the movie.

From what I saw from the NG Return to Titanic tv special, the port side is now in the same state, crumbled to the deck. I agree, some of the damage is just nature doing it's job. Ballard also said all the yellow smudges are from sub landings. I don't agree with that. Maybe some were made by fish that accidentally stirred up the silt, exposing the yellowish rust underneath.

I am curious though, the 2004 mosaic shows the fan motor that used to sit on the starboard side of the aft trunk vent appears to have been moved of it's base. I mentioned that to Roy Mengot, and he told me to do that, something big would have to have hit the motor to move it that far. If you look at the 985 mosaic, you can clearly see the motor has been moved. That or it was an error in assembling the mosaic.

Did a sub hit the motor or is it human error in making the mosaic?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I read in the most recent book by Hass and Eaton, that the starboard wall to Smith's room was ripped off by Cameron during his 1995 dives for the movie.<<

I'd be curious to see what they have to support that. While this might be the consequence of nature and a few bumps, the submersibles used by Cameron & Company didn't have much of anything to go tearing down bulkheads with. From what I've seen...and I may be missing something...Jim Cameron has treated the wreck with the greatest of respect. The same can't always be said of some of the other parties that have been nosing around down there.
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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I agree with Michael's last post entirely, though I would add that obviously, with the difficulties of navigating down there, accidents do happen, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if EVERY sub/camera sled/whatever that has ever been down there has accidentally bumped into something that it shouldn't have.

And of course, t'was Ballard who smacked into the the wreck first...

If nothing else, I'd love to see him confronted once and for all, on the record, with this bell accusation of his.
 

Paul Lee

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I have always thought that placing the blame on the Cameorn movie visits was sour grapes on the parts of E&H for not being approached to help woth the making of the film.

Paul
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Jamie Bryant

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Aug 30, 2003
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When does the December issue reach UK subscribers?

I've always thought Ballard as being slightly 'sour'. I think that he thinks it's his ship, as he tends to give the impression of the 'finders keepers' mentality. He also regrets not filing for ownership, but I do understand his frustrations. He put in a hell of a lot of work to find that ship, and for what? (from his point of view) I still can't believe they took his plaques. Although the worst offenders were that couple who were married on her bow, why don't they get divorced at Ground Zero (i'm sure Dan Lieberskin has plenty of slurry to bury them in)
 

Mike Bull

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'He put in a hell of a lot of work to find that ship, and for what? (from his point of view) I still can't believe they took his plaques.'

Well, you could argue that the French part of the team had actually done much of the work for Ballard by covering so much of the search area, to rule out where the Titanic wasn't.

And there is no proof at all that his stern plaque was removed by anybody- most likely, it's dropped off to the sea floor. Take a look at the footage on the extras disc of the GOTA DVD of Cameron on the Keldysh, handling his own plaque; those things are HEAVY. Now imagine that weight falling from the stern...
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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For Mark and Paul,

Please quote the source where you claim Eaton and Haas alleged it was Cameron who pulled down Captain Smith's cabin wall. I seem to recall they stated the wall may have been pulled down by the Russians during the IMAX expedition. The evidence they used for this belief was markings that may have been left by manipulator arms. At no time has Cameron been associated with this to my knowledge. I saw a second important piece of evidence in a recent expedition. It was a broken propeller cowling from one of the MIRs retrieved in 1996. The Russians were at the site for the IMAX and the Cameron dives. RMST used the Nautile exclusively at that point.

Please do site the reference for me where E&H specifically mention Cameron.

Thanks,

Bill
 

Mike Bull

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A piece of broken Mir prop cowling found on the wreck doesn't prove anything other than it's darn dangerous down there, and accidents do happen.
 
May 9, 2001
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Mark,

I have the new NG magazine and I too noticed that the fan motor has mysteriously shifted places. In fact, it seems to have been turned almost 180 degrees, and moved aft and toward port. I'm going to break out my Ballard book, "Discovery of Titanic" and compare the larger pictures to double check this.

But is the motor has truly moved that much, then it would have taken a tremendous force to do so. A sub collision of that magnitude surely would have done damage to the sub. Perhaps it was dislodged by a snagged tow cable or some type of wiring that became entangled around it? Fresh images of that area of the wreck in high detail would likely reveal the cause.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Yuri, long time no see!
wink.gif


I'll have to check a copy as soon as I get it to see what you're talking about. You may be right about a large amount of force being required to move the beast. Or it could have been that the mountings themselves had corroded away to the point of being useless. Either way, something like that would leave some evidence in the sediment that's settled down over the years. Did you notice any places where it looked like it had been scraped away?
 
May 9, 2001
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Hello Michael,

I've been lurking, but this recent article stoked my boiler.

Well, I've been pouring over every book I own looking for pictures of the aft starboard vents and machinery behind funnel #1. So far what I've come up with is still just a speculative guess at best, but it does seem to me that its one possible explanation for the displacement of the vent motor.
Here it is:

Comparing the 1985 Ballard/Angus photo montage with the new one in Dec. N.G; I find 5 clues.
1. The aft Starboard vent motor and its housing have clearly been displaced behind funnel 1.
It was originally located flush against the larger aft facing ventilation screens. Now it has shifted aft and toward the centerline of the ship by several feet. It also appears to have been turned almost 180 degrees around, or even fliped upside down, but this may just be an illusion as the thing is really just a rusty mess now and hardly resembles its correct form in the new montage photo.
2. There is a cable draped over the motor in 1985. This cable runs port and connects to a coupling of sorts located just ahead of the officer's lavatory skylight. It also runs starboard, and forward of the motor directly across the roof of the officers' smoke room and then drops down to the starboard boat deck near the starboard hatch from the officers quarters. Then it continues directly toward the base of the forward davit of lifeboat station 1.
Now in the new montage, this cable is no longer found running across the top of the officers' quarters, but may be present on the boat deck as before, now coming out from under the collapsed wall of the officers'/captain's quarters.
3. There is observed in the new montage, a new tear/hole in the roof over the officer's smoke room, just along the starboard edge of the roof. (Right near where the cable once dropped down along the wall to the boat deck)
4. The starboard wall of the captain's quarters has collapsed completely. Tearing from the roof all the way back to near the entrance hatch leading into the officers' qtrs.
5. The cable from 1985 is still observed in its original location as it runs port from the displaced motor, and still connects to a coupling forward the skylight.

So what do these clues tell me? First, that I really don't have enough conclusive evidence to prove what I'm about to suggest. But here goes nothing.

If, when the starboard wall of the captain's quarters finally let go, it did so in a sudden and forceful event, then it may be that the cable draped over the fan motor became snagged by the falling wall. The force traveled up the cable and drew the cable taught across the motor. In an instant the cable was then slicing through the rusted base of the motor, and the old thin vent sheeting, when it finally snapped. A portion of the cable then recoiled to impact the now severed motor housing and sent it tumbling aft to its current location. The tear along the edge of the ceiling over the officers' smoke room would fit the pattern of a cable being snapped taught across it.
What sticks out in my theory as a mystery is how the cable coupling fore of the skylight is not moved. Unless it wasn't joined to the cable that ran to starboard in the first place, but with my pictures, I just can't tell with any certainty.

The article points out that there is a submersible's salvage net located near or on the displace fan motor. I think I can see it in the new montage, but can't be certain. A net tangled in the motor might indicate the motor was dislodged by a sub trying to free a caught net.

Or, it could be none of the above. But one thing is for certain, that motor has mysteriously moved. And big heavy things like that don't move laterally without help from an outside force.

Yuri
 

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