I always like stories which bring some relatively recent, but almost completely forgotten, historical information back into the light. While it may not always be the "best" situation for everyone, sometimes, like in this story, dredging up the past, thanks to nicely coordinated coincidence, is simply another stroke of brilliant color restored to the landscape of our species' portrait.

See if you can figure out why I've entitle this post "Fever" before the article explains it. It's kinda sad, but really
cool, and I betchya can.

Happy Humpday!

The Secret of the Pearl Islands
By Sven Röbel

For the past 137 years, a mysterious wreck has emerged at low tide each day on a beach off the coast of Panama. Researchers now know that it's the presumed lost "Sub Marine Explorer," one of the world's first submarines and a vessel that would ultimately kill its German inventor.

The tower was the first thing Jim Delgado saw. Inch by inch, it emerged from the deep-green surf of the Pacific Ocean -- an encrusted piece of black metal covered with barnacles, rust and seaweed, a ghostly apparition slowly rising from the sea.

Delgado was sitting on the roots of an ancient palmetto tree, staring at the water as if transfixed. Aside from the hermit crabs digging in the sand at his feet and the brown pelicans screeching in the treetops, Delgado was alone -- the only human being on this godforsaken island known as San Telmo, somewhere southeast of Panama City.

Low tide came slowly and sluggishly, eventually exposing the mysterious rust-eaten wreck a fisherman had described to Delgado. The man believed it was a Japanese submarine that had been on a mission to attack ships near the Panama Canal during World War II, only to fall prey to the treacherous waters of the Pearl Archipelago.

But the more the tide retreated, the more Delgado -- director of the renowned Vancouver Maritime Museum -- was convinced that the fisherman's story couldn't possibly be true. This thing appearing before his eyes had to be older, much older.

The design reminded the scientist of an "iron cigar," and he instinctively thought of the "Nautilus," that legendary underwater vessel author Jules Verne described in his novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Delgado had devoured the book as a young boy.

But could something like this be possible? Delgado was mesmerized. Years ago, working as a marine archaeologist, he had recovered the wreck of the "General Harrison," a ship from the days of the California gold rush, from San Francisco Bay. He was also involved in the raising of the "H.L. Hunley" from the harbor entrance at Charleston, South Carolina -- the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship, during the American Civil War in 1864.

And now, on this isolated beach on a tropical island -- during his vacation, no less -- he had apparently happened upon the most spectacular find of his career.


  1. Thanks for noticing the story - you really got the message. Working on the sub and bringing more of Julius Kroehl and his submarine to light has been a small attempt to not let "big history" sweep over individuals like Julius.

    Jim Delgado


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