Friday, March 23, 2012

Down with the Old Canoe

I'll be posting at greater length about the sinking of Titanic next week, mainly because of the release of this.  But this weekend also sees the first screening on UK TV of Julian Fellowes' Floating Downton Abbey dramatic take on the sinking. The next few weeks will see a plethora of documentaries and books to coincide with the centenary of its sinking - God there are some opprtunistic hacks out there - so I don't propose to dwell on it for too long, but yesterday I came across some remarkable and rather spooky pictures of the ship on the ocean floor.

The photos are high resolution and are taken with sonar imaging, which explains their quality. But they also have a haunting, ethereal nature. The one above is of the bow.

This one of the starboard side shows how the the ship buckled as the bow hit the ocean floor. Though not as spectacularly as the stern.

This one reminds me of an airport scan or an x-ray. Which in many ways it is. That tangled mass of mangled metal was once the stern. Though making out what might have been what is impossible. 'If you're going to interpret this stuff, you gotta love Picasso,' one expert is quoted as saying.

Yet in among that wreck are these two engines, coated in 'rusticles' - the stalactite-like bacteria which is slowly eating the ship.

More, as I said, next week. More photos like these will be featured in next month's National Geographic.

Photo credit: RMS TITANIC, INC

Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.


Dan - Friday


  1. I can't wait to read UNSINKABLE - and now I found out I don't have to.
    Originally, Dan, I tried following the link you embedded. But it brought me to the Amazon UK site - and those of us unlucky enough not to live there can't make purchases.
    So I tried and was delighted to discover that it's there - as a Kindle book.
    So I just ordered it.
    And here's the link to copy and paste into your browsers for those of you who own an eReader and don't live in the UK:

  2. Thanks very much Leighton. There should also be some physical copies available via, or so my publisher says.

  3. What photographs! The engines look like costumed dancers out of some ancient Asian culture. I cannot wait to read UNSINKABLE. Congratulations, Dan.