British explorer Colonel John Blashford Snell, in charge of Dorset Scientific Exploration Society


It was discovered by the British explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell –in charge of the Dorset Scientific Exploration Society while his expedition was tracing some wrecks in the nearby area of San Telmo Island in the Pacific.

This is a wonderful discovery, and we might risk to say it’s double jeopardy, for once it seems to be the submarine inspiration that lead Jules Verne to his most fantastic novel “Twenty thousand leagues under the sea” published in 1870. At the same time this submarine itself is an outstanding museum like discovery. According to the information provided by the experts on location, this submarine was conceived early in 1864 by the brilliant mind of Julius Kroehl. This mastermind of design and engineering built this submarine, christened “Explorer” as the Union’s forces during the American Civil war key weapon. However the Explorer was never used in the conflict and was subsequently taken to Panama where it was used to harvest pearls

This discovery has raised a couple of eyebrows world wide, among Verne’s fans, antiquarians, scientists and all sort of collectors, treasure hunters, and regular people. The key question is why the comparison and statement that it was the French novelist’s inspiration source. A couple of insight facts come to confirm, or at least direct our analysis.

First of all we have two prominent experts –such as Cnl Blashford-Snell and Wyn Davis, maritime history expert- that agree to say that it’s very likely that Verne might have had known and or seen the Explorer, that was built six years before he published his famous novel. Specially if we take in consideration the fact that technological discoveries back then were socialized much more rapidly than in these modern days.

But also, the look-alike features of the two submarines are amazing, specially regarding the submarine technology. The lock-out system based on a reversible air-lock is an outstanding coincidence in both cases. This is a very specific system that allows the crew to leave the vessel into the sea-bed and then return to the submarine, without it being flooded. Like Explorer, Nautilus was also used to gather items from the seabed.

The 36ft by 10ft submarine was found lying less than 10ft of water off Isla San Telmo, an island in an archipelago known as The Pearl Islands in the Panama coastline.

June, 2005. Martinez, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bob Frassinetti.



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