Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On This Day In 1981...

...deep sea divers recovered a safe from the wreck of the SS Andrea Doria, which sank in 1965 after a collision with another ship.

The expedition was financed by one Peter Gimbel, who planned to open the safe on a live TV broadcast. Unfortunately the safe turned out not to contain any shiny, photogenic jewelry, but it was stuffed with travellers checks and various Italian, Canadian, and US bank notes, which Gimbel fixed up and sold as souvenirs.  Most of the notes obviously aren't in the best of shape, but they make pretty neat-looking decorations all the same.

Side note: I think shipwrecks are woefully underused as creepy settings in movies and books. Imagine diving down, down, down into the murky, silent waters and suddenly seeing this gutted, corpse-like monstrosity right under you:

Oh, and did I mention that according to Wikipedia, divers call the Andrea Doria a "noisy" wreck, because it sank in just the right place that the currents are slowly tearing it apart and constantly scraping metal on metal? The article doesn't go into detail about what that sounds like, but in my imagination it sounds like the forsaken otherworldly wailing of a million tortured souls imprisoned in the cold embrace of Davey Jones' locker. Oh, and sixteen divers have died exploring the thing, so it's probably legit haunted.

Don't get me wrong--I'd totally finance an expedition like that if I had the means. Salvaged stuff is pretty cool to look at, as long as it's in a museum on good ol' dry land. If I had to go down there myself, though? I'd have to really, really, really want whatever was in that safe.   

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