The Titanic Was Only 2 1/2 Miles Away

On the road… again!

Afghanistan to Zambia

Chronicles of a Footloose Forester

By Dick Pellek

 

The Titanic Was Only 2 ½ Miles Away

 

Who would say such a thing, unless they were on the ocean, in a ship?  After all, the Titanic still lies silently at a depth of 12,500 feet on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, some 375 nautical miles southeast of the coast of Labrador and 1,000 miles due east of Boston, Massachusetts. The answer would be, among others, one Paul Pellek, crewmember of a ship repairing transatlantic cable across the Atlantic Ocean.

Paul Pellek spent some 5 years, off-and-on, laying and repairing underwater cable in the Atlantic Ocean between New York and Europe, during his 32 year career with AT & T; so he would know.  Why?

When the crew of the AT&T cable ship Long Lines stopped to wave hello and chat on the high seas with the crew of the research vessel Knorr, little did Paul know that the very next day it would be announced to the world that the Knorr had just located the Titanic.  Paul Pellek was on site where history was being made.

 

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Paul Pellek was there when the Titanic was located on the ocean floor

Many people know that the Titanic went down in the North Atlantic on 15 April 1912; and others recall that the famous explorer Dr. Robert D. Ballard discovered its location on the bottom some 70 years later.  Not so many people know that Paul Pellek was there when the research vessel Knorr confirmed the identity of the Titanic on 31 August 1985.  Let Paul tell you in his own words about that historic event; an important part of his legacy and one he will never forget.

 

Since early March (1985) the CS (cable ship) Long Lines has been at sea repairing TAT 6 (transatlantic telephone).

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The AT & T cable ship Long Lines

Today, our job was completed. It was August 31st, 1985.  We were steaming back to Saint Johns, Newfoundland.  In the distance we spotted a small vessel. On the vast ocean anything was interesting, so the crew brought us up alongside for a closer look. We got close enough to read the vessel’s name and home port.  She was the RV (research vessel) Knorr from Woods Hole, Mass.   A strange place name I thought. Little did I know, but in a day’s time it would be famous.  After a quick hello we continued our journey. We had one more day till our cruise ended.

With the harbor now in sight a tug came to greet us. Just as it did there was an announcement over the ships loud speaker. It was a radio broadcast that was being broadcast worldwide. The research vessel Knorr had found the Titanic.  

 

The geographic coordinates were later revealed by the explorer Bob Ballard who located the Titanic in 1985.  He kept those coordinates somewhat secret until he cleared up the legal ramifications of his find; but now you too, can re-locate the stern section of the Titanic at N 41°43′35″and W 49°56′54″. Since the ship broke apart after hitting an iceberg at 11:40PM on the night of 15 April 1912, its bow section was discovered some miles away, at N 41°43′57″and W 49°56′49″.

 

 

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Knorr, the research vessel that discovered where the Titanic was

 

The research vessel Knorr is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Woods Hole Oceanigraphic Institute for the ocean research community.  Knorr is best known as the ship that supported a team of WHOI and French researchers in 1985 as they discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic.   The Titanic was only 2 ½ miles from where Paul Pellek was standing on the deck of CS Long Lines.  That is to say, the Titanic was over two miles straight down.

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