September 2007:

Richie Stevenson of Deep Blue Tech, UK reports a successful return expedition the the RMS Carpathia, 200 miles east of the coast of Ireland. 

BBC news link.

The RMS Carpathia is famous as being the Titanic rescue ship, with 705 people from the Titanic rescued.  6 years late in 1918, the Carpathia was torpedoed by the U-55, and sank in over 500 feet/155 meters of water.

In 1999 the author and maritime history enthusiast Clive Cussler discovered the location of the wreck.  

Dives were conducted with Submerge Scooters including the 200 watt HMI Death Ray lights, and the deepest dives to date on the new N-19 SALTWATER scooter to 155 meters/ 500+ feet.

RMS Carpatia deep wreck dive team

Report from Rich Stevenson:

Well after 6 years of trying we managed to get back to Carpathia and finish off what we started! The Carpathia lies 200 miles West of the Scillies and 175 miles South of Baltimore and was famous due to assisting the survivors off the Titanic.

The trip lasted just over 2 weeks and we managed 6 dives to a max depth of 156m with bottom times 28 minutes max and in water times of between 5-6 hours.

Conditions were near perfect with a lazy swell and slight Northerly Wind and the vis was stunning with ambient light on the wreck. The artefact recovery alongside Comex / Titanic inc was successful but we can't discuss too much yet as the first exibition is next February in London, but is was an amazing experience to have ROV's working on the Carpathia next to you in 150m!

Filming was a complete disaster though, we imploded every camera we had beyond 130m so the only footage we got was with a 3CCD single fixed focus camera. Both HD cameras let go in a big way with a loud bang and 2 very unhappy owners, but all the Silent Sub scooters held together as did all the units too. We also destroyed Halcyon and OMS lights without any hassle either, and they are supposed to be rated to 150m! Quite a few contents gauges let go too on the CCRs as well but with no catastrophic gas loss.

The dives were uneventful, no DCS but a couple of tired and cold divers every now and again as you would expect after such long dives. We did use the recompression chamber once for one guy but that was on a much shallower wreck as he surfaced feeling not too good. Having the pot onboard really made a difference, I could not imagine what would have happened if we'd had an incident on site without one, but still glad we didn't have to need it on Carpathia.

The wreck itself is starting to collapse in on itself quite a lot now. On the dive I made in 2001 we never really explored much beyond the bow area but this time I managed to get 2 scooter laps around the wreck to get a real impression of how she is and at 600' long there is a lot of wreckage to see.
At the bow she is very flat now with just the winches standing off the sea bed. As you move aft the midships gets higher and more intact, nearly 10m off the sea bed and the stern is perfectly intact with a list to Port but is very obvious and easy to navigate around. The stern is the shallowest part at 143m and the deepest anyone got was 156m so she is still standing high.

The artefacts were everywhere, as you can imagine, in particular large numbers of China plates and portholes. All the telegraphs were there too and Comex did a smart job of picking up the obvious bits with us divers cleaning up the trickier areas, in particular some of the plates that were inside the wreck itself.

There's some bollocks written about my mouthpiece coming off and me swallowing loads of water, as usual the facts never get in the way of a good story and what really happened was the zip tie came loose and the front loop popped off at depth. It was fixed very simply by putting it back in my mouth again, so no dramas and certainly no swallowed water!

So in all we're very happy to be back and very happy with the expedition and the boat 'Ocean Dancer', if some smart person could find a way of reducing the deco we'd all be happy to go back again but until then she can lie undisturbed!

The team from this years trip were:

Ric Waring, Inspiration Classic
Jeff Cornish, Inspiration Classic
Carl Spencer, Boris
Helmuth Biekel, Inspiration Vision
Edo Pavia. Inspiration Vision
Andrea Bottelini, Inspiration Vision
Mark Elliot (not Ellyat!) Inspiration Vison
Tim Cashman, Inspiration Vision
Duncan Coates, Inspiration Vision
Rich Stevenson, Meg

All the units were standard, ie non bastardised rigs that worked perfectly and most folk did the entire dives on the loop. The lads with the Vision / Temp Stik saw some interesting results at depth with the temp stik showing heat right at the end of the can which was worrying, but fortunately no break through and as the divers got shallower the cans became more efficient. I certainly think the Temp Stik is a fantastic tool and the effects of depth on canistor performance are certainly worth noting!

Deco schedules were mainly VPM-B on square profile. The VR3's worked almost to the same schedule until the last few stops where they became very conservative, but still a great tool to have onboard. Bailout was 2-3 ally 80's carrieed by each diver that gave gas to get us to 80m where we had staged gas on the line and shallow support to meet us. For divers that couldn't get back to the shot we had a chase RIB in the water with drop gas down to 80m, fortunately nobody used any of the bail out gas as every dive went without incident

Hope the report was of some interest, cheers

rich stevenson


RMS Carpathia


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