April 10, 2012
In the icy deep, more than 12,500 feet beneath the surface, a steel wall emerges, alien and foreboding, from the North Atlantic seabed.
Don Lynch peers through a porthole in a small submersible, as bulbous as a whale and built to endure the extreme cold and intense pressure at such depths. The other occupants in the craft include filmmaker James Cameron.
“We pulled up to the side of it and Jim was like, ‘There’s the Titanic for you,’” Lynch recalled in a recent interview. “In the movies, you always come up to the bow and the prow’s sticking up and rising above you, but it was just this flat wall out in front of us.”
Lynch, a historian considered among the foremost Titanic experts on the planet, descended to the wreck in August and September 2001. The noted author also served as a consultant on Cameron’s 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.
April 10, 2012
A century after disaster, Titanic still captivates
Long before “Titanic” the film — and long before every member of my generation and I thronged to the multiplex for repeated screenings — at age 6, I discovered a book in my school library about the disaster.
Captivated, I sought out everything I could about the doomed ocean liner — a morbid fascination for a first-grader, for sure. Other disasters piqued my interest — Hindenburg, Lusitania, et al — but only the Titanic remained a full-blown obsession.
I leafed through oceanographer Robert Ballard’s “The Discovery of the Titanic” so often the spine started to disintegrate. I used more care to handle the National Geographic issue about the discovery — December 1985, pilfered from my grandparents’ meticulously curated collection.
In Don Lynch, a pre-eminent Titanic historian based in Los Angeles, I found a kindred spirit.