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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

On the agenda for Committee of the Whole tonight

Reserves and Surplus Policy and three land use applications

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

Oak Bay skaters bound for BC Games in Kamloops

Saanich resident aims for second gold

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

Oak Bay skaters bound for BC Games in Kamloops

Saanich resident aims for second gold

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Victoria City rower medals at indoor world championships

Carl Schoch takes 2,000-metre sprint bronze in veteran category

Saanich Braves earn top awards heading into playoffs

MVP, Coach of Year lead Braves against Kerry Park Islanders starting Tuesday

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Most Read