Rob Ballard's 1985 wreck footage?


Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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<<I have to say that I dont really consider Titanic a grave site as much as I consider her the site of a disaster. When the Arizona was sunk and most of her crew died that didnt stop the US Navy from stripping everything useful off of her even though 90% of her crew died. Like wise we see airliners that crash are cleaned up and bodies recovered.>>

My first post on this forum! I was reading Pelligrino's new book "Farewell Titanic", and he writes about finding a skull in the wreckage of the Grand Staircase reception area, so doesn't that make it a grave site? And then there's the tureen with a finger bone and gold ring.

And then there's Ballard's unforgettable footage in Return to Titanic of the women's shoes, indicating she was lying on her side, with a little girl's shoes and hair comb resting beside her. Even though the bodies are long gone, IMHO it's still a grave site.

As for the Arizona, car accidents, plane wrecks etc, these are not salvage operations. Indeed, the Arizona Memorial is one of the greatest memorials in the world. Not salvage.

With all the experts on here, I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot about what I've said in these comments and misunderstood (and I look forward to it!)

Kind regards,
Pete Poston

You will find out as I did from others on here that a lot of what Pelligrino writes in his books is all conjecture and most of the time is just what he believes with no facts or evidence to back him up. If a skull was found in the grand staircase reception area we would have heard bout it. To this date no skulls or remains have been positively identified other than bones of a lamb which was remains of a meal.

The Arizona, car accidents, plane wrecks, etc are salvage operations. You salvage the wreckage for one of two reasons, one reason would be to find out what happened and why, the second reason would be to remove the wreckage out of an area. When it comes to car wrecks, the hulks are taken to junkyards where parts are stripped off and resold. Wreckage of planes are sent out to scrap yards and shreaded for scrap iron and sold. The Arizona had all useful military items stripped from her and recycled on other warships. The Arizona was and still is a tomb of 90% of her crew that died when she sank, but that didnt stop their tomb from being touched and stripped of all useful parts. That is the point I am making is that some view a grave site as the location where a person`s remains has been laid to rest. I would put forth the view point that the dead of Titanic were never offically laid to rest, it is no different than a car wreck or a plane crash. A car wreck or plane crash that takes many lives does not instantly become a gravesite.
 
U

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Trying to protect his honey hole, with nobility claims

Just watched his Save The Titanic National Geographic show.

Noticed right off the bat, his name comes before Titanic in the title.

He admits if they had taken one artifact from the site, they could have legally claimed it for all time and prevented others from salvaging. I can only imagine he felt he would be able to stop any salvaging by his sheer awesomeness.

He doesn't even like people visiting the wreck to site see, yet him and JC have done it many times. I might be wrong, but I believe JC landed on the wreck himself! Yet Ballard claims it's unscrupulous people's doings. Doing unconscionable damage.

They focus on the profiting off the wreck, yet I believe you could literally lift the entire wreck, auction every single piece off and still not make as much money off it as he and James Cameron have.

The whole thing will be a pile of dust shortly. Whether people go down and look at it or not, he knows this, very well. I believe what he's most worried about is other people will make documentaries, distribute photo's and such. Which is how those two have literally made BILLIONS off the wreck.

His entire dialogue reminded me of another guy I knew growing up who claimed he alone was the noble keeper of sacred Onondaga Indian archeology sites. The guy was outed by the Onondaga as a big phony who was secretly selling stuff on the black market. He also went around claiming he was trying to protect the sites from pilferers. I'll never forget when, as a kid, he came to my school with his found Bear mask and claimed it was worth $50000 back around 1976, and how 20 years later I saw him deny he'd ever owned it when the Onondaga wanted it back.
 
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Nicolas Noxon

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Good question. I produced and wrote "Secrets Of The Titanic" the National Geographic documentary which covered Ballard's discovery of the wreck in 1985 and his return in 1986 with submersibles to explore the wreck. It was quite an adventure and it so happened that I was one of the first people to see the footage (videotape) after it came up from the submarine "Alvin". Very few people know that the footage shot from Alvin and "Jason Jr", its remote control vehicle, is public domain! The US Navy paid for the expediition in order to teat equipment developed for it at the Wood Holes Oceanraphic Insitute and it owns the footage that resulted. So far as I know it went into vaults at the Institute and was never seen again--the raw footage. There is a tremendous amount of it (assuming it has not deteriorated or been thrown away). Alvin had several video cameras pointing in different directions and they ran pretty much all the time when the sub was on or near the wreck. Nationasl; Geographic would probably have a lot of the footage but not all of it. They do have a reputation for never throuowing anything away but God knows if they could find it.
 
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RHeld

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He doesn't even like people visiting the wreck to site see, yet him and JC have done it many times. I might be wrong, but I believe JC landed on the wreck himself! Yet Ballard claims it's unscrupulous people's doings. Doing unconscionable damage.

Ballard called out the 1995 Cameron expedition for the damage it did to the bow section of the wreck. To wit: yanking down the wall of E.J. Smith's quarters to get a better shot; yanking off the Marconi Room skylight for a better shot; and trying to descend into the Grand Staircase, which wrecked a prop on one of the Mir's. Incredibly. P.H. Nargolet insisted Ballard was wrong about this when he wrote his rejoinder to Ballard several years ago. But it was the 1996 RMS Titanic Inc. expedition that discovered the damage, one which Nargolet himself participated in. He knew it was true.

And since slamming personalities is open-season on this thread: James Cameron was a real jerk to damage the Titanic during the making of his chick/disaster flick. Showed how much he really cared about the history of the Titanic. Getting great footage was apparently all that mattered to that supreme egotist.
 

Rusty_S

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Ballard called out the 1995 Cameron expedition for the damage it did to the bow section of the wreck. To wit: yanking down the wall of E.J. Smith's quarters to get a better shot; yanking off the Marconi Room skylight for a better shot; and trying to descend into the Grand Staircase, which wrecked a prop on one of the Mir's. Incredibly. P.H. Nargolet insisted Ballard was wrong about this when he wrote his rejoinder to Ballard several years ago. But it was the 1996 RMS Titanic Inc. expedition that discovered the damage, one which Nargolet himself participated in. He knew it was true.

And since slamming personalities is open-season on this thread: James Cameron was a real jerk to damage the Titanic during the making of his chick/disaster flick. Showed how much he really cared about the history of the Titanic. Getting great footage was apparently all that mattered to that supreme egotist.

Lets not forget that Ballard caused damage to the wreck of Titanic as well. He slammed his equipment into the side of Titanic on atleast one occassion. He also landed Alvin on the roof of the officers quarter which is right where the marconi room skylights are located at. It is a moot point as just about every expedition that went to Titanic has had some kind of mishap that in some way or form did damage to Titanic. The difference I think is that if Cameron physically had the wall of the officers quarters pulled down and out then that is intentional and he should be fined heavily for his direct intentional action. Otherwise its just accidents that happened during exploration.
 

Rusty_S

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Good question. I produced and wrote "Secrets Of The Titanic" the National Geographic documentary which covered Ballard's discovery of the wreck in 1985 and his return in 1986 with submersibles to explore the wreck. It was quite an adventure and it so happened that I was one of the first people to see the footage (videotape) after it came up from the submarine "Alvin". Very few people know that the footage shot from Alvin and "Jason Jr", its remote control vehicle, is public domain! The US Navy paid for the expediition in order to teat equipment developed for it at the Wood Holes Oceanraphic Insitute and it owns the footage that resulted. So far as I know it went into vaults at the Institute and was never seen again--the raw footage. There is a tremendous amount of it (assuming it has not deteriorated or been thrown away). Alvin had several video cameras pointing in different directions and they ran pretty much all the time when the sub was on or near the wreck. Nationasl; Geographic would probably have a lot of the footage but not all of it. They do have a reputation for never throuowing anything away but God knows if they could find it.

If its public domain as you say then why is it so hard for people to get access to the footage? I remember Roy`s old webpage for when he was building his wreck model said that he was lucky enough to have access to archives that many do not have access to in the public.

All I know is Ive been trying for many years to obtain raw footage and images from the wreck site dating back to the 1985/86 expedition and I have had zero luck. I cant even get a response from WHOI as to if they ever plan on releasing a high resolution high quality version of the 2010 wreck site mapping that was done.
 

Adam Went

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It would be nearly impossible to explore the wreck thoroughly without risking, and sometimes creating, a degree of damage. The shape the ship is in, combined with the challenges of exploration and lighting at that depth of the ocean, means that there are traps and difficulties everywhere. I don't think explorers set out with a deliberate disregard for the safety and maintenance of what's left of the Titanic, but in order to do through and interesting explorations and analysis - which I think we all would want - sometimes accidents happen. The wreck itself is decaying in any case, and no explorer would be silly enough to risk losing or damaging multi-million dollar exploration equipment for nothing.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
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>>I don't think explorers set out with a deliberate disregard for the safety and maintenance of what's left of the Titanic<<

They don't.

>>, but in order to do through and interesting explorations and analysis - which I think we all would want - sometimes accidents happen.<<

Quite right, they do.

I don't think a lot of people understand just how dynamic an environment the ocean is. It's not pristine or still even down as deep as the ship is. Currents are a problem and there isn't an expedition anywhere which hasn't had issues with them. It's also dark, the kind of equipment you need restricts your field of vision severely, and your poking around the remains of over 40,000 tons of twisted and torn metal, glass, wood and wire rigging. This is an extremely dangerous place to be nosing around and the wonder of it all is that after almost 30 years that there hasn't been a fatal accident.
 

Adam Went

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Hi Michael,

Exactly. This is not shallow water or some training exercise or scuba diving expedition. This is very, very deep water with unpredictable currents and tons of pressure. You're dealing with a wreck that's a century old and can throw up surprises at every turn, especially when exploring the interior of the wreck. There are many things that can and do happen down there which are basically out of the control of the equipment operators.

People will complain about the damage it causes to the wreck but it must be recognised that without the occasional incident like that, we would never have got to see the close up photographs and videos of both the interior and exterior of the wreck. We wouldn't have films like "Ghosts Of The Abyss".

It's the old risk - reward factor. I agree that it's very good fortune that there hasn't been more serious accidents at the wreck site since it was discovered.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Cam Houseman

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Hi Im just wondering if there is footage in existance from the first dive to the Titanic wreck? would be fascinating veiwing!
Hi! Don't know if you come around here anymore, but oh well.

You can find a lot of the 1985/1986 footage in the earliest Titanic documentaries, such as "The Nightmare and the Dream," which was produced in '86. Its really good. you get a fly over of the prow to at least the First Funnel Uptake. you can see the '86 footage of Argo flying over the ruins of the Third Class General Room and Smoking Room, and the Poop Deck.
 

Cam Houseman

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You will find out as I did from others on here that a lot of what Pelligrino writes in his books is all conjecture and most of the time is just what he believes with no facts or evidence to back him up. If a skull was found in the grand staircase reception area we would have heard bout it. To this date no skulls or remains have been positively identified other than bones of a lamb which was remains of a meal.

The Arizona, car accidents, plane wrecks, etc are salvage operations. You salvage the wreckage for one of two reasons, one reason would be to find out what happened and why, the second reason would be to remove the wreckage out of an area. When it comes to car wrecks, the hulks are taken to junkyards where parts are stripped off and resold. Wreckage of planes are sent out to scrap yards and shreaded for scrap iron and sold. The Arizona had all useful military items stripped from her and recycled on other warships. The Arizona was and still is a tomb of 90% of her crew that died when she sank, but that didnt stop their tomb from being touched and stripped of all useful parts. That is the point I am making is that some view a grave site as the location where a person`s remains has been laid to rest. I would put forth the view point that the dead of Titanic were never offically laid to rest, it is no different than a car wreck or a plane crash. A car wreck or plane crash that takes many lives does not instantly become a gravesite.
Yet the skull was spotted with Ken and Don in the room, but they haven't said, "he lied" about that.

It'd be nice to see HD footage of when he first came into the Wrecksite, Ballard I mean.
 

Keith H

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The only footage I can think of is somewhere on U tube about when Titanic was first discovered , it is also interesting how the quality of images has improved over the years with new technology as the original footage is a bit grainy by modern standards.
 
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