Recent dive reports


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Apr 27, 2005
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I follow the "Andrea Doria's" wreckage reports pretty closely. I have not seen a recent dive report on the wreckage. I know about the portside promenade having collapsed, taking Gimbel's hole with it. On the "Deepsea Detectives" show, Ken Marschall used a computer image to illustrate the state of the wreckage since his previous painting of the decayed wreck. Does anyone know if his updated image is online? Has anyone seen or read an updated diver's report? Have any readers been out to the "Doria" since last year?
 

Daniel Cox

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Apr 5, 2004
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Would be interesting to see an updated picture/rendering of her current status.I know it was bad enough that she sank , but if she had sank and sat upright on the bottom i feel she would of lasted longer.Laying on her side has sped up the deterioration as the structure was never ment to support the weight of the wreck on a 90 degree angle.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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No doubt the immense weight of her stern and bow, simply hanging in the ocean, plus the torrents of waters slamming onto her with each tide or temperature change, has weakened her steel. Today, she is literally tearing like a paper bag at both ends. As she tears, the portside steel is unsupported through it's length, and thus, it falls into the wreck. Looking at Ballard's "Lusitania" book, you get a good idea of what to expect in the "Andrea Doria" in the near future. The single difference is, of course, that "Lusitania" was riveted, and "Doria" welded. As the steel falls inward, anything caught in it's path will be buried and crushed, torn from it's anchoring in the decks. I am thinking particularly of the cocktail tables in the lounge and the 50's modern iron railings on her staircase. China and glassware will be shattered and buried. Luggage, cargo, walls and wires will actually tear free and fall. I fear the "Andrea Doria" will be lost moreso than now. Her huge engines will hang for the longest time, then let go. This is the diving season on the "Andrea Doria", so I am hoping for some kind of report from a credible diver.
 
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Wayne Keen

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It has always been a dangerous dive, I can't imagine the shifting of the wreck has made it any safer.

Wayne
 

Daniel Cox

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"This is the diving season on the "Andrea Doria", so I am hoping for some kind of report from a credible diver"

Please keep us up to date if you hear anything , ive always been a big fan of the ship and the wreck.Gary Gentile's "Dive to an Era " book is a excellent read , if you havent already done so
happy.gif
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Wow, thanks for the pointer, Kyle.

Interesting in that we now have THREE paintings by Ken, all from the same POV. The day after she sank, sometime in the 90s, and now.
 
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The original image of the "Doria" as she appeared the morning after, was originally in Life Magazine, right after the loss. Marschall has patterned his two paintings after that same perspective. It provide continuity.
Note in the paintings, the starboard side and bridge wing is wrinkled and crushed from grinding into the seabed during the final plunge.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From the article;
quote:

The wreck is ever-changing, and presents new options for future explorations.
No kidding! New options for getting dead if you don't know what you're doing...or even if you do! That latest rendering shows that the hull itself is starting to collapse.​
 

Daniel Cox

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Apr 5, 2004
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Wow thanks Kyle! , when i saw that updated picture my heart skipped a few beats.I had no idea on what to expect, and to see how much she has changed since Kens painting was amazing.
The picture is a great capture of her ever changing look.The toll on the bottom is now taking there effects on her lines.......she is one sad looking wreck now.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

Guest
Hi Michael,

I agree with you.
I'm not that sort of diver, but it's my understanding (through articles and documentaries) that even under the best of conditions the Andrea Doria was an extremely dangerous dive.
Even when she was freshly on the bottom!
Now, with the wreck in this advanced state of decay and collapse, it's incredible that anyone would be promoting her as a dive site.

I guess the Andrea Doria is to divers what Mount Everest is to climbers. You know when getting into it that you may become a statistic.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I guess the Andrea Doria is to divers what Mount Everest is to climbers. <<

Interestingly enough, the Mt. Everest of Shipwrecks is exactly what the diving community calls her, and for good reason. She's described as being one of the noisiest shipwrecks on the bottom and what that points to is a lot of things straining and eventually giving up the ghost within the structure of the ship. I wouldn't mind going down for a look see as a diver, but knowing what I know, I sure as hell wouldn't want to go inside.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Understand, the "Doria" was the first post-war ship to be made with lightweight fiber based materials as part of her construction. The day after she sank, Gimbel and Fox went down to her on straight air, which was dangerous enough alone. They entered as far as the Promenade Deck, but went no further, and there they recovered a suitcase and some small items, such as shoes discarded by fleeing passengers. Gimbel noted that through the portholes and windows, they could see drapes and furniture floating and weaving through passenger cabins. Within days, the remaining air was squeezed out of these fabrics and they hung or fell to the cabin walls. The ceilings and wall partitions failed first. Waterlogged, they turned to mush and bacteria and algaes immediatly digested the material. Exposed electrical cables drooped and waited for anything to snag. Gimbel reported that he brushed the white paint of her super-structure and a whiter surface was revealed, owing to the algae and slime which immediatly claimed the ship.
Trawlers began to snag the ship with their nets, cutting and abandoning them in place. For years, the nets continued to catch fish, snagging them by the gills while sharks devoured the easy prey. For a long time, one could see fish skeletons hanging in the drifting nets. Within that time, up to around 1960,serious entrepreneurs proposed hundreds of "fool-proof" ways of raising the wreck and returning her to service! This included foam, ping-pong balls, and even a mini-sub made of concrete! Fortunately, none of these idea bore fruit. The "Doria" was intact enough for a small cadre of divers, mostly ex-Navy. And of course, Peter Gimbel.
When heliox and tri-mix became available along with proper training, the "Andrea Doria" became a life goal within reach for hundreds of sport divers. This is when the astounding number of deaths started to rise. 270' down in the Gulf Stream of the open Atlantic, is a treacherous dive for anyone, and many who elected to go out had hidden health issues, developed oxygen poisoning, or simply didn't use good judgement. Experts know the wreck, respect it, and use judicious thinking when they go out to her. For others, it was treated like a "smash and grab". Dumb.
The tides yank the "Andrea Doria". Corrosion eats at her steel while gravity tugs her downward. Her holed starboard side as wiggled into the sand and filled her with muck. Add to that the rain of falling debris and rust, and you have the recipe for a death trap. Still, cabinets of china lay open for those risking to navigate her cavernous interiors, digging through wreckage and gunk to retrieve a plate, a spoon, a glass. And so it goes. Artifacts are available from the pro's on EBay. I have a small saucer in my living room, gift of a pro-diver who helped to put me touch with my life goal of meeting the "Andrea Doria". I'll never dive to her, much as I crave that experience. I know her pretty well, having listened to the sinking live over the radio, back in 1956. For the rest of my life, that saucer and the pictures and reports of others fill that life goal of touching the ship.
 
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A nice little side story is how Peter Gimbel located the wreck right after the sinking. He hired a private boat piloted by a man named Winnie Ellis. He gave the approximate location and the boat headed out - entirely guided by Ellis's ded-reckoning and a compass. Gimbel later said that he soon found out they had enough fuel to get to the location, and maybe enough to get back! When he checked the radio, Ellis informed him that it was broken and hadn't worked for awhile. That didn't put off Ellis, Gimbel or Fox. They continued out towards where their Captain figured the "Andrea Doria" lay. Now right after the sinking, the Coast Guard tug "Hornbeam" anchored a yellow 50 gallon drum over the wreckage and cleaned up the area, using the overturned portside lifeboats, torn away in the sinking as target practice. The yellow drum disappeared overnight, either sinking or having been torn away. Bubbles continued to stream upwards from the "Andrea Doria" as fabrics, luggage, and air pockets squeezed out and filled with sea water. At the time he figured, Winnie Ellis told the divers, they should be there. Looking over the side of their little boat, the men saw a single floating cocktail olive in the oily slick, which told them, this was where the "Andrea Doria" reposed. Gimbel reluctantly geared up in disbelief and went over the side. To his amazement, the "Andrea Doria" was directly beneath him.
Returning with the film, Winnie Ellis's chartered boat ran out of fuel about a mile short of Long Island. Gimbel put the exposed film in a waterproof bag, inside his wetsuit, and swam the distance to shore, catching a ride into New York where he presented the images to Life Magazine.

Gimbel told this story while speaking at the University of Maine, about a year before the safe opening debuted on television. We had a very pleasant private discussion afterwards in the faculty lounge. He (and his wife, Elga Andersen) were very nice company and quite genial.
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
"He (and his wife, Elga Andersen) were very nice company and quite genial."

They came across as completely fascinating and charming in documentaries. It pleases me no end to hear they really were that way.

You bring up a fascinating point about the many places that air hides.

I love these stories!

Wayne
 

Kyle Hauser

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Sep 26, 2005
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*No kidding! New options for getting dead if you don't know what you're doing...or even if you do! That latest rendering shows that the hull itself is starting to collapse.*

Then why isint the Britannics hull colapsing
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Then why isint the Britannics hull colapsing<<

Because it's better protected. She lies in water just shallow enough so that sea life such as barnacles and corals can take hold on the wreck and cover it up in a nice protective shell. There are also other variables at work such as temperature, local ecology, degree of exposure, salinity and the chemistry of the site where the wreck lies.

That doesn't mean that poking around or inside the Britannic can't lead to a case of rigor mortis if one does something foolish. It can. Wreck diving is dangerous even in the best of conditions and it's made all the more hazardous the deeper you go.
 
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