OceanGate’s Cyclops 2 submersible is shown in this undated handout image. Are you a risk-taking adventurer with $130,000 to spare? The first manned survey of the rusting RMS Titanic in 13 years will depart in June from St. John’s, N.L. and they’re still taking applications. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-OceanGate **MANDATORY CREDIT**

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

Are you a risk-taking adventurer with $130,000 to spare?

The first manned survey of the rusting RMS Titanic in 13 years will depart in June from St. John’s, N.L. — and they’re still taking applications.

“It’s not for somebody who’s frail but it’s not as strenuous as, say, climbing a major mountain or going on a one-week bike trip through the Alps which some of our participants have done,” said expedition leader Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Inc., a private company based in Everett, Wash.

Far more people have explored space than have seen the Titanic, resting about 4,000 metres deep in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland.

Thanks to a scheduling change, three of 54 previously sold-out spots are now available for submersible dives this summer as part of a six-week mission to assess what’s left of the fabled wreck.

Their $130,000 seats — US$105,129 — were priced at the inflation-adjusted cost of a first-class ticket for Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage, and help fund the company’s research. Each participant gets flown out for seven days on the chartered research vessel and at least one dive to the wreck site on a five-person sub lasting six to nine hours.

“We have some folks who are mountain climbers, we have others who’ve been to the South Pole,” said Rush.

“One guy, I think he snowshoed to the North Pole. It’s a varied group but I think the unifying characteristic is they’re adventurous.”

Ages range from 23 to 75.

“He convinced us he’s healthy,” Rush said of the eldest “mission specialist” who will help fund the endeavour while assisting with research and photography. It won’t be a pleasure cruise.

“Quite a few of our participants are in their 50s and 60s,” Rush said. They hail from all over the world, including several Americans, Australians, Brits and others from various parts of Asia and across the globe. They must go through training to escape a helicopter in water and be able to climb a six-metre steel ladder.

There are 18 spots left for a similar expedition in 2019, with others planned in subsequent years. Rush said cutting-edge high resolution imaging and underwater laser scanners will help create a highly detailed 3D virtual model to better track Titanic’s decay.

A big question is the pace at which “rusticles” are devouring its remains.

OceanGate provides manned submersibles for industry, research and exploration but has built a novel sub specifically for the Titanic dives.

Dubbed the Cyclops 2, the sub features a carbon-fibre and titanium hull to drastically lighten its weight.

Tests start Monday in Puget Sound near Seattle, before heading to the Bahamas for deeper dives in April.

“The first trial down to 4,000 metres will just be me,” said Rush, 55. “It should be interesting.

“Certainly your heart gets moving but it’s a very steady process. It’s not as though we go straight to 4,000 metres.”

Repeated trips to gradually greater depths will take about a week, he figures.

Rush laughed when asked what happens if someone needs a bathroom.

“There’s actually something called a low-residue diet they use for the space program,” he explained. “Inside, the humidity’s very high so you don’t have a need to drink water. As long as your system’s empty you’re OK.”

Still, the sub will be equipped with a portable toilet with a little screen for “semi-privacy,” Rush said: “That’s mostly so people don’t worry about it as much.”

The Cyclops 2 is expected to reach St. John’s in May, and anticipation is already building.

Rush said there are plans for presentations at Memorial University of Newfoundland, a public show and tell and maybe even some “shallow dunks” in the St. John’s harbour.

Ron Collier of SubC Imaging, based in Clarenville, N.L., said the company will supply the sub with its latest ultra-high resolution cameras for video and still photos.

“The capabilities that are available today are really staggering compared to what they would have been 10 or 12 years ago,” he said in an interview.

Footage will be gathered carefully so as not to disturb what is considered a grave site, Collier said.

More than 1,500 people died when the so-called unsinkable ship went down after striking an iceberg April 15, 1912, about 600 kilometres off Newfoundland’s southeast tip.

Rush said he hopes the expedition will be the first of many others in the largely unknown deep sea.

“Our hope is it opens people’s awareness of all the amazing things underwater to be researched and explored.”

Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nearby wildfire closes Idaho Peak

The popular hiking spot is off limits to the public

Granite Pointe’s GM honoured among world’s top golf teachers

David Belling has been included on a top-100 list

VIDEO: Nelson Leafs prepare for new season with training camp

Forty-seven players hit the ice last weekend

Former mayor to advise would-be West Kootenay politicians

Christina Benty will lead a candidate workshop on Aug. 27 in Castlegar

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

VIDEO: Monday Roundup: Aug. 13, 2018

The Nelson Star’s weekly news roundup

Court hearing on Humboldt Broncos fundraising to test Saskatchewan law

The money has yet to be distributed because Saskatchewan has legislation known as the Informal Public Appeals Act

Fredericton police release scene of shooting spree, but ‘damage’ remains

Residents of a Fredericton apartment complex may not be able to return home just yet

Bus crash in Ecuador kills 23 people, injures 14

The bus hit another vehicle in an area known as dead man’s curve on Tuesday

Trump lashes out at Omarosa, calls her ‘that dog’

Manigault Newman continues promoting her White House tell-all and releasing secret audio recordings

UPDATE: Bridge collapses in Genoa, Italy killing at least 20

Five more people are injured and in serious condition

Man plows truck into Houses of Parliament in London

UK police treat Parliament crash as terrorism, man arrested

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Most Read