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Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Ground Up: Diving the Titanic in Newfoundland

She hit an iceberg and sank, in one of the most epic tragedies of all time. Nearly 100 years later tales of the RMS Titanic remains legendary. Perhaps the work of James Cameron and Leo Di Caprio can be credited for bringing the story of this ill-fated trip to mainstream popular culture. Or perhaps, even without a multi-billion dollar blockbuster our morbid human curiosities would still keep us entranced by this sunken piece of history.

Many people still associate England, where Titanic disembarked, with the ocean cruise that ended the lives of over 1500 passengers. What is, in many ways, much more intriguing is the place where many of the victims and the ship itself, are laid to rest. For those that are so inclined to investigate that history, they needn’t look any further than the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Almost 400 miles off the coast of Mistaken Point, NL lies what remains of the RMS Titanic. Over 2 miles under the sea, she rests, broken in half and surrounded by debris. The discovery of the Titanic in its final resting place was made fairly recently, in 1985, by Dr. Robert Ballard. The doctor was working with the US Navy to locate sunken nuclear subs-as well as the famous wreckage of the Titanic. While the legal battle continues for official ownership of the ship’s artifacts, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia offer a great deal of insight into the final hours and aftermath of the infamous voyage.

Land Tours

In Halifax, there is no shortage of history for those fascinated by the fate of the Titanic and its passengers. At the Maritime Museum in Halifax, the Titanic Exhibit displays several iconic artifacts rescued from the disaster and now preserved for future generations. Also, in Halifax 150 passengers of the Titanic, who never reached the New York harbor, are spending eternity dispersed amongst 3 Cemeteries in this coastal city. While some of the departed are resting in the Baron De Hirsch and Mt Olivet grave yards, the largest contingent is in the Fairview cemetery. There lies the bodies of passengers of all classes, firemen, crew members, a violinist from the orchestra and, perhaps saddest of all, several unidentified men and women.

On the Sea

Frommer's Newfoundland and LabradorFor those that are not contented simply to visit memorials of the watery Titanic disaster on land, Newfoundland offers unique opportunities to become more closely acquainted with the sea that consumed the mighty ship. Each spring ships depart from northern Newfoundland bound for “Iceberg Alley”. In this special stretch of ocean waters one can witness first hand the grandeur and majesty of icebergs like the one that caused the Titanic to sink. Witnesses can capture photographs and even pieces of the icebergs to bring home a unique piece of history. Reasonably priced, at less than $60 a person, these adventures are accessible to any Titanic history buff.

Of course, if you are seeking the ultimate aquatic archaeological adventure, nothing can top the opportunity to visit the Titanic first hand. This 11-day trip of a lifetime costs $40,000 USD per person, just slightly less than the median annual salary in the US. But for those that can afford the exclusive price tag, the chance to bear witness in person to the physical remains of the Titanic, to experience this breathtaking sight in the manner the ocean claimed it, is priceless. The dive itself occurs in a tiny Russian research vessel that can carry a maximum capacity of 16 passengers 12,000 feet into the deep. The Titanic’s grave has only recently been opened to the public, and as the legalities of ownership and monitoring of this site continue to be sorted out in court, the chance to visit the famed vessel, may be limited.

For those obsessed with the story of the Titanic, the best place to visit is the lower eastern coast of Canada. Here the dark and compelling story of the life and death of the RMS Titanic unfolds before you both on land and at sea. Since this is not an inexpensive vacation, save money on a hotel by booking with Expedia.

Author Bio

Guest Article By Leslie from the Canadian Pardons. Leslie has spent several years as a writer and a traveler, with a particular love for the vast and under-rated beauty of Canada.

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Monday Ground Up: Archived Photography of the White Star Line and Her Ships

The White Star Line was a British shipping company most famous for its ill fated flag ship the RMS Titanic and World War I sister ship, Britannic.

The White Star Line was originally founded in Liverpool in 1845 by John Pilkington and Henry Wilson. The company's initial focus was on the Australian gold mine trade. Read More About Archived Photography of the White Star Line and Her Ships

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