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Mother Nature holds sway over Titanic expedition

By Kerry Sanders, NBC News

ST JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND -- Blame Mother Nature.

An iceberg sank the Titanic. And now, a hurricane has chased the Titanic expedition back to shore.

The captain of the research vessel Jean Charcot informed team leaders days ago that he was uncomfortable with Hurricane Danielle’s track.

And his decision to return to port was smart as the seas are now kicking up at the site in the North Atlantic, and are expected to become 40-foot swells when the brunt of the storm hits.

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The return to port does provide the teams opportunity to re-group.

The main power supply onboard the ship failed in the final hours of work, and the ship's onboard power system is not well integrated. This vessel was built in France and was once used by Jacques Cousteau. However, the power system in France is different that that of the United States, so you can’t just plug in this high-tech equipment without all sorts of complicated conversions.

The team also is using the time to consider where to look next.

The mapping equipment returned some stunning results. The The Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) nicknamed “Ginger” and “Mary Ann" used sonar to map a 5-by-3 mile area. It’s long been believed the wreckage sat in a 6-square mile area, but now these new maps reveal more wreckage that’s never been studied, photographed or documented.

When the team returns, in about a week, they want to see what is there, in 3D and HD.

Love at sea
The one thing the Titanic historians onboard say is unlikely: finding the necklace. If you saw the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "Titanic," you remember the "Heart of the Ocean" jewel.

Sadly, the experts say that’s simply a Hollywood creation.

But then again, you never know what can happen on an expedition like this.

Case in point: MaryAnn Keith and Evan Kovaks are both researchers who met five years ago while floating at sea on a mission to the Titanic.

This morning, they gathered on the bow with the captain and were married. So perhaps that is the "Heart of the Ocean" -- their love for each other.

Meantime, NBC News editor Vince Genova somehow found a few minutes of downtime to put together a mini-movie of the last 7 days. Click below to view.

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