Bismarck Expeditions

James Cameron's Expedition: Bismarck May - June 2002

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Expedition Diary
At the Wrecksite

Tuesday 28. May 2002:

I got out of bed at 08:45.

Our first dive was planned to take place at 10:30 in the morning.

I prepared the last material for the dives.

The dive was cancelled due to bad weather. Also there was a problem with one of the cameras.

It was decided to try the day after as the weather forecast predicted that the weather would be better. Less windy and more calm sea.

I prepared photos of the Bismarck. Some film recordings of the wreck would be based on these photos meaning that parts of the wreck would be filmed from the same angle as seen on the photos.

I went to bed at 02:00 in the morning.

Wednesday 29. May 2002:

I got out of bed at 05:45.

Production meeting at 07:00.

The first dive took place. Mir 1 went in the water at 10:30 and Mir 2 at 11:00.

Photo: The Keldysh's two Zodiacs (fast speed boats) and the pilot boat Koresh ready to assist Mir 1 for its first descent to the wreck of the Bismarck.
Photo: The Mir 1 submersible was launched by a crane on the Keldysh while the pilot boat Koresh observed. The line between the submersible and the pilot boat was used to drag the submersible away from the Keldysh to avoid a collision.
Photo: Mir 1 is now in the water and the pilot boat Koresh and the two Zodiac's assist the submersible. Notice the guy on top of the submersible releasing the line to the pilot boat.
Photo: Mir 1 is filling its ballast tanks in order to dive to the wreck of the Bismarck. The pilot boat and the Zodiacs observe and are ready to assist in case of any problems.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Anatoly Sagaleditch, James Cameron, Vince Pace.

Photo: Mir 2 on the Keldysh waiting for its first dive on this expedition. The Russian crew are making the final preparations on the submersible.
Photo: Final preparations before launching the submersible Mir 2. Group photos of the divers were made and the occasion filmed.
Photo: Mike Cameron (brother of James Cameron) enters the Mir 2 on its first dive to the Bismarck.
Photo: One of the Zodiacs (fast speed boats) are launched to assist Mir 2 for its first descent to the Bismarck.
Photo: Mir 2 filling its ballast tanks to descend to the wreck of the Bismarck while the pilot boat and the Zodiac observe.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, Mike Cameron, Tomas Schmid.

Shortly after a rogue swell rolled the ship sharply to port, sending people and equipment flying. A heavy illustration board toppled over, demolishing our wreck site model of the Bismarck. The model was used to plan the dives and filming of the wreck.

Photo: Our wreck model of the Bismarck. Notice the small models of the Mir submersibles at the port bow of the Bismarck model. The model of the Bismarck was used to plan the dives at the wreck site.

I spent a long time on rebuilding the wreck model of the Bismarck.

At 20:45 Mir 1 was back on the Keldysh and at 21:45 was Mir 2 back. There had been a technical problem with the ROV hangar door on the submersible meaning that the ROV couldn't be launched. Also they had a problem with the battery capacity for the submersible because of all the light that was used to illuminate the wreck.

Photo: Mir 1 being taken out of the water and brought back on Keldysh.
Photo: Mir 1 back on Keldysh after its return from dive 1.
Photo: A view inside Mir 2's hangar. In the background Mir 1 can be seen.
Photo: Mir 2 taken back on the deck of the Keldysh after having completed its first dive.
Photo: Mir 2 is now back on the deck of the Keldysh. A part of Mir 1 can be seen in the foreground.

I went to bed at 00:30 in the morning.

Thursday 30. May 2002:

I got out of bed at 06:00.

The day was spent on solving technical problems on the dive equipment.

We also spent time watching the new film recordings of the wreck.

I went to bed at 11:30 at night.

Friday 31. May 2002:

I got out of bed at 06:00.

Dive 2 took place. Mir 1 dived at 10:15 and Mir 2 at 11:00.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, James Cameron, Vince Pace.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Victor Nescheta, Mike Cameron, Lori Johnston.

Technical problems with the ROV Elwood during the dive.

Mir 2 returned to the Keldysh at 22:00 and and Mir 1 was back at 22:30.

I went to bed at 01:30 in the morning.

Saturday 1. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 07:00.

Dive 3 took place. Mir 1 dived at 13:15 and Mir 2 at 13:45.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Victor Nescheta, James Cameron, Vince Pace.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, Mike Cameron, Holger Herwig.

Both ROV's failed to work during the dive.

I spent the day watching film recordings from dive 1.

So far this was the best day we had with the weather, sunshine and very calm seas.

Mir 2 returned to the Keldysh at 01:15 and and Mir 1 was back at 01:45.

I went to bed at 04:45 in the morning.

Sunday 2. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 09:30.

I spent the day looking at film recordings of the wreck and grabbing recordings that were going to be used to make a 3D model of the Bismarck.

I went to bed at 03:30 in the morning.

Monday 3. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 06:00.

Dive 4 took place. Mir 1 dived at 10:30 and Mir 2 at 10:45.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Anatoly Sagaleditch, James Cameron, Bill Wisher.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, Vince Pace, Andrew Wight.

I spent the day watching film recordings from dive 1 and 2.

Another excellent day with the weather, sunshine and very calm seas

Mir 2 returned to the Keldysh at 01:15 and and Mir 1 was back at 01:45.

I went to bed at 01:00 in the morning.

Tuesday 4. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 06:30.

Dive 5 took place. Mir 1 dived at 12:30 and Mir 2 at 13:20.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, James Cameron, Vince Pace.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Victor Nescheta, Lewis Abernathy, John Asmussen.

I spent all day diving to the Bismarck.

Mir 2 returned to the Keldysh at 02:20 and and Mir 1 was back at 04:00.

I went to bed at 06:00 in the morning.

Wednesday 5. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 12:30.

I spent the day watching some film recordings from the wreck and relaxing.

I went to bed at 02:00 in the morning.

Thursday 6. June 2002:

I got out of bed at 06:30.

Dive 6 took place. It was our last dive. Mir 1 dived at 14:30 and Mir 2 at 14:45.

On Mir 1 was: Pilot Genya Cherniaev, James Cameron, Vince Pace.

On Mir 2 was: Pilot Victor Nescheta, Ronald Allum, Michael Weiss.

On this expedition a memorial plate was placed on the wreck near the bridge by Mir 2.

A ceremony was held simultaneously on the wreck and in the Keldysh Nav Com Center. Bismarck survivors Karl Kuhn and Walter Weintz solemnly listened as German Michael Weiss read the words engraved on the plaque in German. After a moment of silence, James Cameron read them in English.

Memorial Plate Text in English
Memorial Plate Text in German
IN MEMORY OF
THE THOUSANDS
OF YOUNG MEN
WHO DIED HERE
AND THE
THOUSANDS WHO
DIED OPPOSING
THIS MIGHTY SHIP.
THIS WRECK IS
THEIR MONUMENT
AND A MONUMENT
TO THE MADNESS
OF WAR.
ZUM GEDENKEN DEN
TAUSENDEN VON
JUNGEN MÄNNERN
DIE HIER STARBEN
UND DEN
TAUSENDEN, DIE IM
KAMPF GEGEN
DIESES MÄCHTIGE
SCHIFF STARBEN.
DIESES WRACK IST
IHR MONUMENT,
UND EIN MONUMENT
GEGEN DEN
WAHNSINN DES
KRIEGES.

I spent the day watching some film recordings from dives 3, 4 and 5.

Mir 2 returned to the Keldysh at 02:20 and and Mir 1 was back at 04:00.

I went to bed at 05:00 in the morning.



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