National Geographic : 1986 Dec
ith its block still in place, a lifeboat davit extends from the port side on the boat deck (right). The first lifeboat was lowered at 12:45 a.m. on April 15, 1912, one hour after the ship was struck. Even then, some passengers doubted they were in danger. When the crew ordered them into lifeboats, they instead remained in the warmth of the ship's enclosed decks. In the debris field Alvin's mechanical arm reaches for the handle of the assistant purser's safe (below), one of four aboard ship. The handle turned, but the door would not open. A steward testified that shortly before the sinking he saw other crew members emptying the safe. Moments later he heard the door clang shut. The pedestal that held the ship's wheel sits like a forlorn metallic seahorse (left). Bronze construction saved it from the corrosion that afflicts the ship's iron-based structures. A corner of. J.'s garage protrudes from Alvin, at lower surface. The ocean floor is right, as it sits outside what was once the wheelhouse, the walls long ago devoured by wood borers. It was near this station that the officer of the watch heard the warning from the crow's nest "Iceberg right ahead!" His attempt at evasive action was futile, and the ship's starboard side struck the berg. The port-side bow gets close scrutiny (overleaf) by Jason Jr., its tether payed out from Alvin 12,500 feet below the littered with fingers of rust sloughed off from the ship. The Woods Hole team did not find the 300-foot-long gash that has long been held to be Titanic's undoing. Rather, Ballard observed a hole on the starboard side, along with several plates that had been bent inward, springing the rivets. Any additional damage suffered by the bow, whether caused by the iceberg or by impact with the bottom, lies hidden from view in the mud.