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Clive Cussler's Ocean Exploration

Updated on October 4, 2014

Spotlighting Some of Clive Cussler's Most Interesting Deep Water Discoveries

Most of Bestselling Author Clive Cussler's novels are centered around deep water mysteries. His real life experiences as an ocean explorer give him plenty of juicy material to work with! As part of a 30 lens series on deep water exploration, it seems neglectful not to include something on the man whose effort and talent keep us intrigued in what lies beneath the waters of the world.

Cussler has been on too many expeditions to showcase them all in one lens, so I have chosen a couple of my favorites to share, as well as other tidbits here and there about the man and his deep water expeditions.

While Carpathia and Hunley get most of the spotlight, be sure to check out some of the external links for more complete information on his ocean quests.

Photo by /Stef_

Carpathia Postcard
Carpathia Postcard

Cussler's Team Discovers the Carpathia Wreckage

She was probably most famous for rescuing victims of the sinking Titanic, yet she was a powerful and beautiful ship in her own right.

Using side-scan sonar and remote operating vehicles, and by combing every inch of the area where she was believed to have gone down, Cussler's NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) found her wreckage in 2000, 120 miles west of Fastnet, Ireland.

The Carpathia was shot down by a German U-Boat in 1918 during the first World War, while serving her country transporting U.S. troops to Europe.

Clive Cussler on Discovering the Carpathia

"We have footage of the RMS Carpathia in her watery grave at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Ireland. It humbles me. My goal was to preserve maritime history. We have been succeeding beyond my wildest dreams. I did not think this would happen in my lifetime,''

Carpathia rescues some passengers of the doomed Titanic - New York Times

NY Times on the Titanic Rescue
NY Times on the Titanic Rescue

The Carpathia Returns with Titanic Survivors - Actual Footage from the event

Carpathia passengers - On Deck Photo


Enjoying the Ship - no worries here!

The Sea Hunters Episode - About the Discovery of the Carpathia

Have you Read any of Cussler's Books?

Have you Read any of Cussler's Books?
Have you Read any of Cussler's Books?

Cussler on his first Diving Expedition

"I read about Jacques Cousteau, so my friend and I sent away to France for a tank and regulator,"

It was one of the first scuba rigs ever manufactured...

we just donned our gear, ran into the water and figured it out on our own"

Some of Cussler's Novels - With a Twist from Real Life

Art imitating Life.... imitating.....History?

The Chase
The Chase

April 1950: The rusting hulk of a steam locomotive rises from the deep waters of a Montana lake. Inside is all that remains of three men who died forty-four years before. But it is not the engine or its grisly contents that interest the people watching nearby. It is what is about to come next . . .

drawing of the Hunley on pier
drawing of the Hunley on pier

H.L. Hunley

The South's Secret Weapon

The Hunley, a Confederate Submarine, was the first sub ever to sink a ship. She was placed in service during the civil war, and is often referred to as the "South's Secret Weapon". She successfully charged and sank Union blockader USS Housatonic during the night, but her victory was short lived. Soon after, she and her entire crew disappeared February 17, 1864, The mystery of what happened to the Hunley remained so for the next 131 years.

While her dark and cold tomb remained lost, she was not forgotten. P.T.Barnum offered $100,000 to anyone who could find the Hunley, so he could display it in his museum. That was in 1879. In the years since she still remained a public mystery and seemed to call out in her need to be remembered.

Searching for the Hunley was the first major project for Cussler and NUMA. After 15 years of frustration and not giving up, they found wreckage by towing a magnetometer, criss-crossing in a grid patter. In investigating a large magnetic anomaly, they determined it was the Hunley once they uncovered her hatch. The vessel was buried in three feet of silt outside of Charleston harbour.

Full Scale Model built for Charleston Hunley Museum before her discovery

Full Scale Model built for Charleston Hunley Museum before her discovery
Full Scale Model built for Charleston Hunley Museum before her discovery


"Dedicated to preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey, and conservation of shipwreck artifacts"

The Hunley Recovered

Hunley Recovered
Hunley Recovered

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley, suspended from a crane during her recovery from Charleston Harbor, 8 August 2000.

Drawing of the Hunley

Hunley drawing
Hunley drawing

As she might have looked while in service under water.

Do you like to read about ocean adventures? - Let us know what's on your mind!

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    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 3 years ago from western pennsylvania

      He is one of my favorites. I don't think that I have missed reading any of his books.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      I loved his books.

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 3 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Thanks so much Nell. I applaud him for his dedication...

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi, this was fascinating to read as I am a great clive cussler fan! I have read quite a few of his books and did know that he was an ocean explorer but never read about who or what he discovered! this is making me want to get back into his books again! interesting stuff! thanks, and voted up and shared! nell