I was over in Brooklyn the other day, pricing bridges, when I came across a full-page ad in the New York Post.
It was an offer from a gentleman named George Tulloch who is president of RMS Titanic Inc., and the ad was billed as "a special invitation to New York area residents."
That doesn't mean Mr. Tulloch won't take money from the rest of you, I assume, but that is what the ad said. Several banks of headlines (there were also six columns of small type in the advertisement) said what it was all about:
"Announcing the Titanic Expedition Cruise," the head began, and went on to say, "You can witness history when for the first and only time a section of Titanic is raised and the wreck is fully illuminated." The final headline, a bit confusing, said, "Will depart from and return to New York City."
What Mr. Tulloch promises is truly mind-boggling. As he himself admits, "Words cannot describe the emotions. It is like meeting Napoleon or being the first to come upon the great pyramids of Egypt. I can testify to you that when the major section of Titanic breaks the surface for the first time and when you see the wreck fully lit for for the first time, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget."
According to his ad, Mr. Tulloch's company, "by federal court order, is the official legal guardian of the Titanic wreck and no one else is permitted to dive to the wreck site and take any items at all." But he, George Tulloch, has been down there. His colleagues in this extraordinary venture are French, and they have what he says is the only deep-sea submersible capable of reaching the Titanic at its depth of two and a half miles ("where there is no light and pressures are so great you could not even explode a bomb there").
"I have been in the (sub) Nautile and personally viewed Titanic on the ocean floor and I have also been there as artifacts have been brought to the surface."
His plan is to sail out of New York Aug. 23 aboard "SS Island Breeze" to the dive site (21/2 days away) and be there on station as, on Aug. 26, an attempt is made to bring up a 25-ton section of the ship (including six portholes and "even the White Star Line trademark gold pinstripe").
While waiting for the wreckage to emerge, they won't just be lolling about aboard SS Island Breeze, I can tell you.
"There will be expert lecturers on board, and many authentic artifacts will be on display throughout the ship. Other nostalgic events will occur on the cruise including music played from copies of music sheets played by the band aboard Titanic. You will also be on board with and socialize with many of the who's who of the world. This event will receive worldwide media coverage."
And for those of us who are landbound, we can also buy a ticket to the Sept. 1 "Private showing and reception" in New York. The sale of tickets to join the cruise has been, as you might expect, torrid. But thoughtful Mr. Tulloch has reserved this final block for New Yorkers.
When I called the 1-800 number for price and other details, a very nice young lady declined to give those, but said they would send me a package in the mail. I sure hope it gets here soon. I am something of a whack job when it comes to nostalgic adventures like this and I'd hate to be shut out.
Although, I suppose if I'm too late, I can still get one of those stars that you purchase and they'll name after you.
If you send enough money.