Gayle Garner Roski’s life is made up of one thrilling adventure after
another -- some more harrowing than others.
The Toluca Lake watercolor artist has gained inner strength, she
said, through personal trials -- battling cancer and running the L.A.
Marathon at 50 -- and confronted her fears through travel experiences
with her adventurous husband, Ed.
Her key to survival?
“By putting one foot in front of the other, you get where you want
to go,” she said.
The couple has explored the world from its lowest points on
deep-sea diving trips to its greatest heights, climbing Mount
Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas. They’ve also journeyed to the top of
the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea.
Nothing gained more envy from their friends than the birthday
present he gave her in August 2000, an underwater excursion to the
resting place of the legendary Titanic.
Their trip began in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, where they
joined 33 fellow passengers on a voyage called Operation Titanic
aboard the 400-foot Russian research vessel, Akademik Mstilav
Keldysk. The ship has two exploratory submersibles, Mir 1 and Mir 2,
able to descend 12,500 feet below the North Atlantic to the wreckage.
Packing her paint and brushes, she and Ed took the 10-hour ride
inside Mir 1 along with Capt. Anatoly Sagalevitch. Challenges they
met inside the vessel were its size -- it’s only 6 feet in diameter
-- only a bench for each passenger and no restrooms.
She kept her mind off possible danger, the close quarters and lack
of conveniences by gazing out one of three portholes and taking in
the undersea beauty. She found the most comfortable position was to
lie down on the bench while alternating between painting, sketching
and snapping pictures with her camera.
What surprised her most at viewing the Titanic was the way the
ship and surrounding sea plants picked up a cast of iridescent light.
Also fascinating, she said, were the fuchsia tube worms streaming up
from the wreckage.
One of her paintings is of a fish mesmerized by a blade from one
of the ship’s propellers. One blade, Roski said, measures 60 feet
Upon returning home, she coordinated a picture diary, complete
with paintings of the couple on the jetliner on the trip, scenes
taken from workers on the research vessel and Ed relaxing in their