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Day 333 of 365 Things To Do in Panama

Day 333 of 365 Things To Do in Panama. Discover the Wreck of Sub Marine Explorer!


Almost 16 years ago an archaeologist and diver, Jim Delgado, found something incredible. He was on ship passing the San Telmo Island in Pearl Archipelago, Panama when he saw something near the island and investigated.

For the past 146 years, a mysterious submarine wreck has ‘surfaced’ at low tide every day. The locals were aware but thought it was from WWII. The discovery turned out to be the Sub Marine Explorer which was built between 1863 and 1866 for the Pacific Pearl Company.

Unfortunately, experimental dives with the Sub Marine Explorer in the Bay of Panama ended in September 1867 when Kroehl, the manufacturer, died of "fever". The craft languished on the beach until 1869, when a new engineer and crew took it to the Pearl Islands to harvest oyster shells and pearls. The 1869 dives, with known depths and dive profiles that would have inevitably led to decompression sickness, resulted in the entire crew succumbing to what was described as "fever". Because of this, the craft was laid up in a cove on the shores of the island of San Telmo in the Pearl Islands.

The Sub Marine Explorer is the subject of two documentary films; the first was an episode of the "Sea Hunters" that aired on National Geographic International Television in 2004, and the second, by Der Spiegel, which aired in Europe and in the US on the Smithsonian channel in 2010.

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