The empty, lonely stretch of ocean where Titanic sank


We are finally arriving at the lonely, empty stretch of ocean directly above the wreck of RMS Titanic. We've sailed for two days eastwards from Nova Scotia at 13 knots and seen not a single ship.

The ocean is a little rougher than 100 years ago, the sky cloudier. Survivors of 'Titanic' spoke of a super-naturally calm sea that night - smooth as glass, they called it. They described a sky so clear you could see a thousand stars.

You cannot be at this spot without wishing there had been a little more wind on April 14 1912. Then there would have been a swell. If sea conditions had been just a little different that night perhaps Frederick Fleet would have seen waves breaking at the foot of the iceberg. Shivering in the crow's nest of 'Titanic', the young lookout might have given the Bridge a few more precious seconds to react.

I think that's why 'Titanic' is such a mesmerizing story to this day. It is that agonizing combination of fateful events that doomed the ship. The sea conditions, the ship's speed and course, the silence from the nearby ship Californian...if only one of these had been different the 'Titanic' would have docked in New York and a great maritime disaster would have been averted.

Rehearsal for Titanic memorial service

On board our cruise ship are a small number of descendants of those who died aboard 'Titanic'. The ceremony tonight will be emotional for them. There will be prayers and a period of reflection. At 2.20am Atlantic time a band will play the very hymn that the Titanic musicians never finished as the ship sank.

Everyone on board our vessel will look down at the ocean and imagine the scene of a century ago. We will reflect on those epic, tragic events: the magnificence of the maiden voyage, the fateful collision, the launching of lifeboats, the increasingly desperate radio messages, the terrible loss of life.

And everyone of us onboard - believers, agnostics and atheists alike - will say a prayer for those 1,500 souls lost at this spot 100 years ago.