Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Civil War era Sub Found

From Times Online (UK):
A British explorer has found an early submarine that he believes was the inspiration for Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s vessel in Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Colonel John Blashford-Snell discovered the half-submerged, cast-iron wreck off the coast of Panama while searching for ancient ruins.

She was built in 1864 by a visionary craftsman, Julius Kroehl, for the Union forces during the American Civil War. But the boat, called Explorer, was never used in the conflict and was subsequently taken to Panama where she was used to harvest pearls.
I just love stories like this...

The Explorer had one of those reversible airlocks like Verne's Nautilus which is how they were able to go pearl hunting.
The submarine, which measures 36ft by 10ft, was lying in under 10ft of water off Isla San Telmo, an island in an archipelago known as The Pearl Islands, since being abandoned after three years in the pearl industry. Her crew all died from what was described then as a “fever”, but what was more likely to have been the bends after they regularly submerged to about 100ft to work.