||Exploring the harbor of
Barcelona, we were amazed to stumble across this
large wooded submarine, a reconstruction of the
Ictineo II. On returning home and doing a little
research, I was even more amazed to learn about
the history of this legendary vehicle.
Europe Destination Guide (TravelNow)
photo - The Ictineo II, reconstruction.
|If you read the
plaque next to the Ictineo II,
the Spanish script will tell you
that the submarine was originally
constructed in 1862 from the
plans of Narcis Monturiol I
Estarriol (1819 -1886), and that
the original Ictineo II actually
navigated the waters in the Port
of Barcelona. What the bronze
plaque fails to mention is that the
Ictineo II was the first vehicle
of its time to submerge and
navigate below the surface of the
sea, the first real
first attempt at a submarine was
called the Ictineo.
on a smaller scale than the
Ictineo II, the Ictineo
underwent a successful launch and
testing in 1859 but then
was smashed by a freighter as it
was sitting at the dock.
Eventually, Monturiol was able to
arrange funding for a second,
larger Ictineo. When
completed, Ictineo II was a two-walled
submarine, outfitted with a steam-driven engine able to operate
under water. The Ictineo
One was operated by man power. An
interior view of the Ictineo II
can be seen in this scale
model (midway down the page).
on the above photo to see a larger
version of this photograph of the Ictineo
II. This replica of Ictineo
II was built in 1992, its outer hull
constructed out of wood, like the
original submarine built in 1862 by
Narcus Monturiol i Estarriol.
The life of Narcus
Monturiol i Estarriol is as
interesting as the submarine he
built. In his youth, he
was educated for the priesthood
but preferred the study of
medicine and science. Switching
to the study of law, at 16 he was
an advocate for worker rights and
a radical promoter of political
change. His associates were
imprisoned or exiled while he
somehow managed to avoid arrest.
In his 30s, Monturiol
assisted in the rescue of a
drowning coral diver, an event
that brought to his attention the
dangers of coral sea mining. Monturiol designed the Ictineo to
make the mining of sea coral safe
for the worker. In test
runs the Ictineo II was able to
dive as far as 90 feet below sea
level and spend as long as 7 ½ hours below water.
Tragically, debt forced the
scrapping of the Ictineo II before
it ever saved any lives.
Apparently, as a life saver, the
submarine was not commercially
viable, and Monturiol did not
conceive of marketing the
submarine as an instrument of war.
Visit the Sagrada Familia.