What’s on your bucket list? Perhaps a glimpse of the Northern Lights? A trek across the Sahara? Or how about going on an eight-day voyage to see the Titanic up close?
Those who want to cross off the latter are in luck. Tour company, OceanGate Expeditions, is offering a chance to go on a private dive to the ill-fated passenger liner.
The sunken ship, which sits 2.4 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean, was carrying an estimated 2,208 people when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southhampton to New York in 1912. More than 1,500 people lost their lives.
OceanGate president Stockton Rush is hoping to make dives to the wreck more common by using his privately-owned five-person submarine.
The expeditions, which will see nine guests set off on an eight-day trip from Canada’s Newfoundland, won’t be cheap.
Each of the “mission specialists” (used to describe the guests) will be expected to pay $125,000 (£96,368) for the trip which includes a six to eight-hour dive in the submarine to see the wreckage. Only three guests will join the driver in the submarine at any one time.
Rush, who is planning to host the trips from May to September annually, says that 36 people have already booked in for the first six expeditions.
Half of these people have also signed up for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic expeditions into space (a cool $250,000 per ticket) and a couple have climbed Mount Everest.
If successful, these guests will be the first people to see the wreck in 15 years.
During the dives, the passengers will be regarded as “citizen scientists” and will be expected to help with a technical survey of the wreck and debris field, which stretches 25 square nautical miles.
To apply for the trip and be considered as a “citizen scientist”, each potential passenger will need to complete an in-depth application including details on how likely it is they could suffer from seasickness and claustrophobia.
If they clear this stage, then a video interview will be required, followed by training for the role.
This won’t be the first time Rush has attempted to reach the Titanic. Bloomberg reports that Rush, who has an aerospace engineering degree, has planned two prior expeditions, which were both cast aside - one in 2018 due to a lightning storm in the Bahamas that affected the submarine’s electrical system and the other in 2019 because of issues with a vendor.
But Ocean Expeditions has completed deep sea expeditions in the Bahamas, Seattle and the Hudson Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean.
Once at the site, Rush told Bloomberg that they will do a “general scroll through the field to see what’s there”.
He added: “The amount of time we are going to spend out will allow us to find things that others have missed.
“All the bones are gone. There are no bodies down there. There are boots and shoes and clothes that show where people were 100 years ago, and that is very somber.”
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He said the group will also be able to examine some of the 300 sea creatures, including deep-diving sharks, which could be down there.
“I am going to have eight days on the boat to drill into everybody all the amazing things that are there to see,” Rush added.
“If we can show you can make a profit by taking people and doing good at the same time, then we can get thousands of people doing this.”