Expedition Titanic: Troubles on the Surface

 As if the expedition more than 12,000 feet below the surface isn’t challenging enough, the dream team of Expedition Titanic must contend with Hurricane Earl on the surface. On the Waitt Institute blog it’s described as “The Waiting” as most of the scientists returned home for a week. Perhaps for some it’s “The Disappointment”. The blog post below gives an insider’s view of dashed expectations and keeping morale afloat.

The Waiting

1 September, 2010

The Jean Charcot rests comfortably back in her berth while the crew readies for the next leg. The Jean Charcot rests comfortably back in her berth while the crew readies for the next leg. 

By Michael Dessner

Having your expedition cut short by weather is not a lot of fun. Aspirations that have been building for years are funneled into planning over months and months to pull all the necessary personnel and pieces of equipment together and the little details are astronomical in number. When it all comes together, it’s like a soufflé. Get the temperature wrong, add just a little bit too much of this or that, heck, look at it too hard and the thing will fall flat. When ya get it up and running the very last thing you want to do is shut it down for a week, no matter the reason. So many things can go wrong at that point. What if one of your key guys (and we have a few) has a scheduling conflict that cannot be avoided? The ship has a schedule and shoving everything back a couple weeks isn’t always a viable option. And then there’s the cost. 30 people flying home or spending a week in hotels? It ain’t hard to imagine the fiscal impact. I would say that Chris Davino, the president of RMS Titanic, has taken it in stride and with exceptional professionalism and aplomb. He has experience with water based operations from his early fishing days so he totally gets it and never once frowned at the reality of 2 hurricanes barreling down directly onto his meticulously planned project, but everything has a bottom line and his can’t help but be affected. Still, he didn’t miss a beat or hesitate. “Damn good job, do what ya gotta do and be back in a week” pretty well sums up his response to us regarding the situation. And that will happen with this mission, nobody wants to leave and watch it on TV. With few exceptions, everybody had to fight and scratch for a berth on the Jean Charcot; nobody is voluntarily giving one up, come hell or high water (which might fairly well describe your average hurricane).

To read the entire blog post: http://wid.waittinstitute.org/the-waiting

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