The Crows Nest

Paul Lee

How, and why did the Crows Nest collapse?

I have heard from various sources that it either collapsed because of metal fatigue (Charles Haas told me that only one of the supporting rods at the base of the nest was in existence in 1985/6 and it was on the point of rusting through) or due to inept salvage activities (people saying that it fell apart as the nest's telephone was retrieved, or by the Nautile banging into it).

One person, now deceased, had a quote from George Tullocj saying that the collapse of the nest was a "tragic accident".

What happened to the nest?
Mr. Lee:

As I too have certain knowledge of the aforementioned, are you willing to disclose to the forum, the name of the deceased person?

There are several *theroies* that exist of what actually happened to the nest. As we have here a continued embattled...anti/pro slavage debate, there are no *certain* facts broughtforth to date
which can *factually* conclude the account.

In my possesion I have documented video and personal on-hand testament to the destruction, but since 1987 we have debated this matter and I have like many here also, chosen to put that matter behind us.

Michael A. Cundiff
Well, his initials were E.S.P. I got publicly flamed by this delightful character on the newsgroups 6 years ago.

The only reason I asking is because I am curious. I'd like to hear your evidence, as its something thats been niggling away for years!

Best wishes


Excuse me PAUL. Metal fatigue is also an avenue which I have chosen. Bearing in mind and as recorded by leaders in the fields of their particular disciplines, TITANIC is losing 200 lbs. of steel per day. And as Mr. Haas reported in '96 when he searched in vain to photograph TITANIC's 18" portside bow letter remnants (Recalling that they were evident in the '87 "live" Return to the TITANIC video recording - Joslyn).

I therefore believe that after the Sep. '85 expedition aned prior to the FRENCH (Ifremer) visit in '87 the crow's nest was ultimately claimed by the hostile abyss' 6K LBS. P.S.I. presssure, coupled with the intermittent current.

BTW...for a more in-depth account of the revealing of TITANIC's portside bow letters see Jennifer Carter's "TITANIC Adventure".

Thankx asgain!

Michael A. Cundiff
One thing that can be stated categorically. Robert Ballard's declaration in the revised edition of his book that the crows nest was destroyed as a result of retrieving the telephone is a flat out falsehood. The only recovered telephone was the stern docking bridge phone and all one has to do is look at the photos from Ballard's own 1985 and 1986 dives to realize no telephone was ever still in the crow's nest.

The departed E.S.P was also famous for boasting about "video footage" of the supposed destruction at the hands of Nautile in the Doug Llewelyan 1988 special, but after it was pointed out that no footage existed, the tactic was then shifted to one of claiming that different markets of the country saw an "extended" version that had the footage but that my market (which was New York) didn't see it. E.S.P. refused to provide video captures or a copy of the footage after repeated requests and E.S.P. was thus exposed once again as the liar E.S.P. always was (the real joke is the strange support this person always received in certain forums)
On a similar note, I often find people who argue that the crows nest collapsed because of the effort to retrieve the bell. When I point out that the bell was found in the debris field and even had a mud line in, the critics go silent.

Best wishes

With regards to Michael's theory, the only flaws evident are that (a) the current is at best 3 to 4 knots, and (b) since the crow's nest is hollow, the 6K psi is irrelevant. Otherwise, we wouldn't see bottles, china, etc. recovered. External pressure equals internal, and all that. These are obviously far more delicate than the crow's nest construction.

As to Eric's account, I need to do some digging. However, I'm 95% sure that I came across photos of the telephone in question (complete with box enclosure)as well as the "after" pic of where it was once mounted but is now absent. The only problem is that I have over 300 volumes. My first inclination is that it was in the Discovery Channel hardcover artifact book, but I'll check. About 150 of my volumes are off the shelf and packed in totes for the school presentations I've been doing this season, since we have an artifact exhibit here until April.

Best to All,
Actually, a current of even 1 knot would put a lot of force on a thing the size of the crow's nest. I once had occasion to go under my yacht in a current of no more than a knot and, without a safety line, I'd have gone madly off down-current. If the current reaches 3 or 4 knots, the nest could easily be taken off.
I used the 4 knot figure as an absolute maximum. We now have 17 years experience and at least 4 dive groups who have assessed conditions. Ballard, however, usually described "a gentle current of one-half to one-and-a-half knots at the site.

Odd though isn't it, how the crows nest was attached to the foremast for 73 years and within 3 years of the wreck being found, it has collapsed.

By the way, I recall reading that on the first 1985 Ballard expedition, Argo, or maybe Angus was towed over the wreck and hit something at the height of C deck or above. Is this true?

Back to my original request; if anyone has any evidence, pro-or-con that the crows nest collapsed due to the 1987 expedition, please let me know!
>>Odd though isn't it, how the crows nest was attached to the foremast for 73 years and within 3 years of the wreck being found, it has collapsed.<< really. I suppose an accident of some kind might have hastened things a bit, but absent even the possibility of human intervention, I think it would have fallen off anyway. Nature is doing it's thing in "eating" the wreck. There's nothing especially mysterious about it. It was really only a matter of time.
I taped the 1987 show hosted by Telly Savalas and in looking at that video, there is a brief sequence of the Nautile tracking up the mast. The crows nest was still, sort of, attached. My tape is of poor quality from age and wear, but it looks like the crows nest had "split?" in two and flattened, or the front rounded body had fallen away, leaving the aft portions of the crows nest still partially attached. The mast appeared to be visible its entire length. Whatever the case may be, the crows nest looked nothing like it did just the year previous, in this 1987 video. Whether it was by human hands, or nature, as Michael points out, the Titanic may have appeared to be 'remarkably' preserved in 1986-85, but in reality, and even moreso now, the ship was merely an egg-shell of its former self. The metal is being consumed by the ocean. I've heard estimates that 20-25% of the 1 inch thick steel plates have already been consumed, which would account for why the ship's decks and deck houses, with its 1/4 inch thick metal walls and decks, are now full of holes or just plain gone. Salt water and metal and 91+ years just don't mix when it comes to preservation...
Mr. Tuttle:

Thank you for the enlightment.

As for the recovered telephone. In my collection I do have both the before and after *color* photos which were provided by none other than Matthew Tulloch. The phone in question was retrieved from the scatterfield and is in a remarkable state of preservation.

Unfortunately I am without digital or scanning abilities.


Michael A. Cundiff

Mr. Tuttle,

In addition to your external pressure equals internal and all that...:), I have a post in-hand from 4-26-98 of the [email protected] (Mark Taylor) days,
Matt Tulloch was explaining the presence of intact lightbulds about the interior of the wreck...hence having filled with water they have become a solid and appear to be intact lightbulbs. Same as your aforemention!

Thanks again...gotta run...I was called in to work a half day on this my day off...:-(