Top News

Titanic adventure


None

Hovering over the Titanic wreck, Larry Daley immediately realized he was at a massive grave.

“It’s eerie,” the St. John’s entrepreneur says.

The Titanic struck an iceberg off Newfoundland 99 years ago tonight. It sank within hours, taking 1,500 lives with it. There were 700 survivors.

On June 25, 2003, Daley dove in a small Russian sub to see the wreck, which lies 13,000 feet below the ocean surface about 450 miles from Newfoundland.

“At neutral buoyancy, we almost pitched down on it,” says the president of Corporate Concierge Services.

He and the two others in the sub — a Russian scientist and a guy who worked for film producer James Cameron — spent four hours at the wreckage, floating over decks and features like the grand staircase.

They shot numerous photos and a lot of video.

Daley notes there were memorial plaques laid there by other expeditions, and there are personal effects scattered over the ocean floor.

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was on its maiden voyage when it sank, having left Southampton, England April 10, 1912.

Dubbed “practically unsinkable” in newspapers of the day, the luxury liner and mail carrier struck the huge berg four days later, around 11:40 p.m.

It was gone by 2:20 a.m. the next morning. Its ill-fated voyage has intrigued people ever since.

Daley is one of them. His interest dates to his childhood, when he first heard about the Titanic’s connections to Newfoundland. Not only was Cape Race the closest point of land to where it hit the berg, the wireless station there relayed the sinking ship’s SOS.

Daley’s interest was also heightened by a family connection.

“We had a distant relative in Nova Scotia who was actually there as a candy-striper, a nurse helper, when they brought in the bodies (to Halifax). I knew a little bit of history of that.”

Daley, who used to operate a red double-decker bus tour in St. John’s, began working the Titanic into his tours after the popularity of director James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie.

Recognizing the public interest and the business opportunity, he started assembling a Titanic exhibit that was originally set up on Water Street, but has been located at the Johnson Geo Centre since 2004.

His work on the display established some connections and led to his involvement with expeditions to the Titanic out of St. John’s harbour. Daley says he’s worked as a logistics specialist on “pretty well” all trips to the wreck since 1998. That includes work on documentaries such as “Ghosts of the Abyss,” which Cameron directed in 2003.

The last expedition took place last year, when a group of scientists remapped the wreck. They did a map of the debris field, Daley notes, and the grid measured something like three miles by five.

He expects there’ll be more Titanic treks in the next few years, and figures the 99th anniversary of the sinking is significant, especially with all the advances in marine technology since the ship went down.

He also says the Titanic’s legacy lives on around the world, especially in Newfoundland, with its direct connections as well as its icebergs and link to wireless communication.

Daley lectures school kids and says they know the story as well as the older generations.

“It’s still fresh,” he says. “(People) are still talking about it.”

So fresh, in fact, Daley believes the Titanic continues to hold a lot of tourism potential for the province.

And he’s got some initiatives afloat that back that belief. It’s been almost eight years since he journeyed to the bottom, but his enthusiasm remains unquestionably buoyant.

This morning, he’ll be part of a local tourism announcement regarding an initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking next year.

In the next couple of weeks, he expects to discuss 2012 plans for his exhibit with Cameron, who Daley refers to him as “Jim” throughout the interview.

And he’s pitched an idea for a unique Titanic souvenir to the panel of CBC TV’s “Dragons Den.” (He won’t still divulge the outcome, even though he made the pitch almost a year ago.)

But nothing that comes out of any those efforts will likely compare to his Titanic journey, which he says was a gift from the Russians involved with the 2003 expedition.

“It’s an amazing experience,” he says.

 

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Twitter: bartlett_steve

Hovering over the Titanic wreck, Larry Daley immediately realized he was at a massive grave.

“It’s eerie,” the St. John’s entrepreneur says.

The Titanic struck an iceberg off Newfoundland 99 years ago tonight. It sank within hours, taking 1,500 lives with it. There were 700 survivors.

On June 25, 2003, Daley dove in a small Russian sub to see the wreck, which lies 13,000 feet below the ocean surface about 450 miles from Newfoundland.

“At neutral buoyancy, we almost pitched down on it,” says the president of Corporate Concierge Services.

He and the two others in the sub — a Russian scientist and a guy who worked for film producer James Cameron — spent four hours at the wreckage, floating over decks and features like the grand staircase.

They shot numerous photos and a lot of video.

Daley notes there were memorial plaques laid there by other expeditions, and there are personal effects scattered over the ocean floor.

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was on its maiden voyage when it sank, having left Southampton, England April 10, 1912.

Dubbed “practically unsinkable” in newspapers of the day, the luxury liner and mail carrier struck the huge berg four days later, around 11:40 p.m.

It was gone by 2:20 a.m. the next morning. Its ill-fated voyage has intrigued people ever since.

Daley is one of them. His interest dates to his childhood, when he first heard about the Titanic’s connections to Newfoundland. Not only was Cape Race the closest point of land to where it hit the berg, the wireless station there relayed the sinking ship’s SOS.

Daley’s interest was also heightened by a family connection.

“We had a distant relative in Nova Scotia who was actually there as a candy-striper, a nurse helper, when they brought in the bodies (to Halifax). I knew a little bit of history of that.”

Daley, who used to operate a red double-decker bus tour in St. John’s, began working the Titanic into his tours after the popularity of director James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie.

Recognizing the public interest and the business opportunity, he started assembling a Titanic exhibit that was originally set up on Water Street, but has been located at the Johnson Geo Centre since 2004.

His work on the display established some connections and led to his involvement with expeditions to the Titanic out of St. John’s harbour. Daley says he’s worked as a logistics specialist on “pretty well” all trips to the wreck since 1998. That includes work on documentaries such as “Ghosts of the Abyss,” which Cameron directed in 2003.

The last expedition took place last year, when a group of scientists remapped the wreck. They did a map of the debris field, Daley notes, and the grid measured something like three miles by five.

He expects there’ll be more Titanic treks in the next few years, and figures the 99th anniversary of the sinking is significant, especially with all the advances in marine technology since the ship went down.

He also says the Titanic’s legacy lives on around the world, especially in Newfoundland, with its direct connections as well as its icebergs and link to wireless communication.

Daley lectures school kids and says they know the story as well as the older generations.

“It’s still fresh,” he says. “(People) are still talking about it.”

So fresh, in fact, Daley believes the Titanic continues to hold a lot of tourism potential for the province.

And he’s got some initiatives afloat that back that belief. It’s been almost eight years since he journeyed to the bottom, but his enthusiasm remains unquestionably buoyant.

This morning, he’ll be part of a local tourism announcement regarding an initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking next year.

In the next couple of weeks, he expects to discuss 2012 plans for his exhibit with Cameron, who Daley refers to him as “Jim” throughout the interview.

And he’s pitched an idea for a unique Titanic souvenir to the panel of CBC TV’s “Dragons Den.” (He won’t still divulge the outcome, even though he made the pitch almost a year ago.)

But nothing that comes out of any those efforts will likely compare to his Titanic journey, which he says was a gift from the Russians involved with the 2003 expedition.

“It’s an amazing experience,” he says.

 

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Twitter: bartlett_steve

Recent Stories