Just off the southwest coast of Britain, 100 meters below sea level, lies a First World War merchant ship holding an extremely rare and valuable cargo.
Codenamed “Mercury,” the ship has laid on the seabed undisturbed for over a century, according to luxury adventure tourism company Cookson Adventures. Torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1918, Mercury was making her way to the U.K. from Bordeaux, carrying a precious cargo of Champagne, brandy, fine wine, and Benedictine.
The ship’s location was only discovered recently, and a team of divers has just completed an initial exploration of part of the vessel. According to Cornwall Live, the dive revealed “hundreds of intact bottles of vintage alcohol including Champagne, wine, and brandy.”
Though they’ve spent more than a century underwater, wine experts believe the darkness and constant cool temperatures will have helped preserve the cargo, and the wine should be drinkable upon its return to the surface.
Cookson Adventures is partnering with a team of marine scientists and wine experts to salvage the historical artifacts, and they’re allowing (paying) members of the public to join them for the adventure.
The next stage of the expedition will see submarines and remotely-operated underwater vehicles dive to the seabed to complete a further survey of the area and recover a few bottles.
Following that, an “exclusive seven-day marine expedition,” which is open to members of the public, will include a weeklong stay in a private mansion and culminate in the salvage operation. The expedition will also include meals cooked by a private chef, as well as helicopter transfers to and from the salvage vessel.
Cookson Adventures hasn’t disclosed how much this is all going to cost, but private chefs and helicopter rides don’t come cheap. On the other hand, century-old Champagne…