You can buy a house for what this trip costs.
The sinking of the Titanic was the biggest news story of 1912 and continues to make news today. But, this tragic shipwreck made of metal won’t be on the ocean floor forever. The shipwreck lies off the coast of Newfoundland at a depth of 12,5000 feet below the water’s surface. To even get to this point in the ocean requires very special equipment. But, for a price you can see the remains of this monstrously large ship from a unique submersible.
Ocean explorers searched for the ship for many decades before finding it in 1985. Since then various expeditions have taken photographers, divers, and Titanic enthusiasts (or Titaniacs) to see the decaying ship.
OceanGate is one of the companies currently offering tours of the wreckage for a price of $250,000. The cost of fuel and maintaining and renting vessels is so high that even at that once-in-a-lifetime price the company says they aren’t making a profit on their Titanic tours. But, they hope to in the future.
Dark tourism is a market that’s been growing for decades. Traveling to where a tragedy occurred for some can become a lifelong goal, fueled by a consuming fascination with a particular event in history. Considering the continued success of the 1997 film Titanic it seems safe to say that most of us have at least a fleeting interest in the “unsinkable” ship, though some have more interest than others.
Reporting for CBS David Pogue took an 8-day journey with the CEO of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, and went down into the ocean twice in their one-of-a-kind, 5-person submersible, Titan. The small vessel is about the size of a minivan inside and the technology was designed with input from the University of Washington and NASA scientists. However, some aspects of the Titan are a lot more homegrown, as it’s controlled with a video game controller. But, the expeditions have garnered a lot of interest and people from all over the world take their chances at seeing the hulking shipwreck.
It’s a chance because the weather dictates whether the Titan can go into the water or not. Large waves caused by storms can make it unsafe to use the Titan. Even once in the water and on the ocean floor technical issues can prevent the vessel from actually reaching the shipwreck. Customers who can’t be taken to the shipwreck once they get out to open waters are given the opportunity to try again on future expeditions.
For those who make it to the wreckage the barnacle-covered ship is still recognizable…for now. Bacteria are eating away at the ship and someday it will be gone. Rush says in an interview that, “At some point there will be no Titanic. It will be eaten by the bacteria. It’ll be an artificial reef that doesn’t look like the Titanic.” This makes it all the more poignant for customers to see it now, while they still can.
Watch the entire process of getting out to sea and taking the Titan plunge in the video below.