Due to situations beyond our control, we regret that this trip has been canceled.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Expect On Your Dive
The following information is provided to you as a basic guideline for your upcoming dive to the Titanic. If you find you have additional questions not covered in this section, feel free to contact your agent.
How do I get in and out of the MIR?
You will board/disembark the MIR I or MIR II submersible on the support vessel, where they are stored in special hangars. There is a ladder system from the deck to the entrance hatch of the submersible and all entry and egress to and from the submersible will be made using that system. There will be no entry or egress while the submersible is in the water, as the hatch remains sealed to prevent flooding of the interior. Climbing up and down the ladder to and from the MIR requires care and there will be trained personnel to assist you. Particular care is needed when exiting after the dive, as you may be a little stiff and tired. The crew is there to help you, but you need to carefully watch your step.
The entrance hatch is approximately two feet (60 centimeters) in diameter and the inside of the submersible is relatively compact. There are no official limitations as to a participant's size, but we suggest that if your height exceeds 6 feet 8 inches (2 meters) and/or your weight exceeds 280 pounds (126 kilos), please advise us so that we can determine if there are any serious impediments to your participation.
Once inside the submersible, it is imperative that you get yourself as comfortable as possible and that you avoid touching or manipulating any of the control systems or instruments.
Prior to your dive, you will be taken individually into the interior of the MIR and given an orientation tour for your upcoming experience.
What is it like inside the MIR? / What do I bring?
The habitation sphere (pressure hull) of the MIR submersible is 6 feet 10 inches (2.1 meters) in diameter and is specifically designed to carry three people - in our case one expert pilot and two participants/observers. Inside the sphere it is "one atmosphere," just like a room in your home. Around the inside of the sphere are many controls, instruments, and electrical circuits. At the forward end of the sphere are three viewports, each providing a forward and a partial peripheral viewing arc. There are two couches/mattresses for the two participants/observers who can lay along these with their faces close to the viewing portholes (you can also sit or stand up to stretch and relax). The pilot sits or kneels at a central control console and guides the submersible using the main central porthole. There is no vision directly to the sides or the aft end of the submersible.
As we dive, the temperature goes from somewhat hot and humid at the start, dropping to a constant temperature of 50°-57° F during much of the descent, during our time at Titanic, and during the majority of the ascent. Please note, while this temperature does not seem to be too cold, the inside shell of the MIR is cold and moist due to condensation. Therefore, you want to make sure you dress warmly. It is recommended that you dress in comfortable, loose fitting clothes (tight jeans, for instance, are not recommended). You will need to wear your clothing in layers, allowing you to add or subtract layers to adjust to temperature variations. We suggest two pairs of warm socks; warm water-resistant booties; light thermal full-length underwear; a warm comfortable pair of sweat or fleece pants; a thick warm sweater, pullover, or fleece jacket; a woolen cap; and a light pair of gloves. In addition, we will provide everyone with a pair of special NOMEX overalls (suit) which is a fire-resistant garment. Your clothing will be inspected before the dive to make sure that you are adequately prepared. For the dive, we will provide you with a packed lunch and drink (not too much of either to avoid added bathroom needs). A hearty "welcome back" meal will await you at the end of the dive.
In addition, we recommend that you bring a camera and/or compact video camera, tissue, a notebook and pen to record your observations, and a small tape recorder to record your impressions. Be aware that the following items are not allowed on the submersibles: anything made from a petroleum base (lip sticks, lip balm, Vaseline, some lubricants, etc.), matches, and lighters or other combustible materials. Please note that there is absolutely no smoking in the submersibles.
Exactly how does the "bathroom" procedure work in the MIR?
Because of the size and design of all deep diving submersibles, there are no installed/fixed bathroom facilities. Because our dives are scheduled to last from 8½ to 10 hours (maximum), we will be providing temporary portable "man/womanhour - extender bottles" which allow you to deal with "non-serious" matters. These bottles are designed to be conveniently used in relatively confined spaces such as light aircraft, helicopters, tents in inclement conditions, etc. There will be an ample supply of them on board. We will also provide some sort of "privacy curtain" although it has been recognized that privacy has its limitations in a submersible.
As for "serious" matters, it is largely a case of "mind over matter" but a suitable device will be carried for absolute emergencies. In order to better control the need for the bathroom facilities, we will be recommending an eating plan that minimizes the amount of food and drink that you should consume for about 12 to 18 hours prior to your dive. You should also know your general needs and reactions and plan accordingly.
How does the dive operation begin?
You will be advised of your planned dive time well in advance so you can prepare and also go into your pre-dive eating and drinking regimen. However, you must understand that the actual dive time depends on weather and sea conditions and the mechanical readiness of the submersibles (occasional maintenance needs may mean postponement of dives and must be accepted as necessary). You should adopt a flexible approach to the dive schedule and be prepared to accept postponements, even though you may have built up your excitement and expectation level prior to a planned dive time. The decision when to dive is solely in the hands of the expedition leader, Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch, and the captain of the support vessel. Their decision is final and absolute. Any such decisions will be made based on many years of experience and will be predicated upon the general safety of the operation.
About an hour prior to dive time, you and your dive partner (either chosen by you or assigned to you) will be called to a final briefing and equipment inspection. When the final order to prepare to dive is given, you will be escorted to the ladder for entry into the submersible on the deck of the support vessel. Once you, your partner, and the pilot (who will speak English) are settled in and comfortable, the hatch will be sealed and the submersible lowered by the ship's crane into the ocean.
The surface test team will inspect the outside of the MIR and then release it from the crane, after which a launch will tow the craft to its dive point (a little offset from Titanic so that you don't land directly on top of it). This towing process can take a little time, and if the ocean surface is choppy, you will experience some rolling of the submersible.
For some people this can induce some temporary motion sickness (it will quickly disappear once the dive starts and you descend below the surface). As a precaution, we advise those prone to motion sickness to use tablets (taken in advance) or behind-the-ear patches to help relieve symptoms. It is best to consult your physician for their recommendation prior to your trip.
Once the pilot has checked all systems, he will slowly start to pump ballast water into the tanks, and the MIR will begin to descend. The descent rate will be approximately 100 feet per minute. The water color turns from light green, through the spectrums of blue, and in a short time to black as ambient light disappears at around 700 to 800 feet (200 to 230 meters), assuming, of course, that it is a daytime dive. It is worth noting, however, that we are not restricted to daytime dives, and there will certainly be nighttime dives made, especially if weather and sea conditions are favorable. As our dive does not rely on ambient sunlight underwater, day and night dives are of equal quality.
The total descent time to Titanic is about 2½ hours. During that time, you may relax, enjoy the music, watch the pilot manipulating the MIR, and/or scan the ocean depths for bioluminescent creatures. From time to time the pilot will turn on the submersible's powerful external lighting system to look for other marine creatures. All work inside the MIR is done by faint red lights (similar to a photographic studio) to preserve the pilot's night vision. The pilot is in constant voice communication with the support vessel to assist his navigation. As you near the Titanic wreck site, excitement will build.
Will both MIR submersibles dive together at the same time?
The dive plan for the MIRs will vary according to circumstances and prevailing conditions. As a general plan, we would usually dive the two submersibles closely together, remembering that the lifting of the two vessels into the water needs to be done one after the other. This means that the dive schedule for each may be slightly staggered by an hour or so. It is not required to do it in this manner; each submersible is designed to be fully autonomous. From time to time, logistical considerations such as battery charging time, need for servicing, weather/sea conditions, or other contributing factors may mean single submersible dive patterns. It is preferable to have both vessels down at the same general time as they are then able to photograph each other at the wreck site; however, we cannot guarantee that this will always be possible.
What is the size of the three MIR viewing windows?
The center viewport is approximately eight inches (200 millimeters) in diameter and the two smaller viewports, one on each side of the center window, are approximately five inches (120 millimeters) in diameter. As you will be able to get right up against the viewports, you will have good views ahead and somewhat to the sides. The view through the side ports is slightly obstructed as you do have some equipment on booms in front of the submersible.