Deep-Sea Diving (continued)
At the present time the Williamson brothers are at work on an expedition to salvage the “Mereda", wrecked off the Virginian coast a few years ago, with a large quantity of silver ingots and jewellery. The majority of the great wrecks of history are to be found in water much shallower than the extreme length of the present tube, because shipwrecks nearly always occur near the shore. Among the many famous wrecks to be salvaged, apart from those lost during the war, there are the “John Grant” which went down in fourteen fathoms of water off Orkland Island, with a quarter of a million in gold on board; the “Lizard” sunk near Cornwall, with fourteen million pounds in gold; the “San Pedro" sunk off the Central American coast with a large cargo of gold and precious stones, valued at about thirty millions. And then there is that famous fleet of Spanish galleons sunk in Vigo Harbour, in which twenty million pounds in gold and silver were lost. Not one per cent of this and much other treasure has ever been recovered, and there are thus enough wrecks at a depth to which a man can descend at present to keep divers and treasure seekers busy for a hundred years to come.
The great feature of this invention is that the tube will allow the bottom of the sea to be surveyed where the depths are not too great, and for the diver to stay down there comfortably breathing good air. The adaptation of the apparatus to any moderate depth is merely a matter of engineering detail, which can be worked out without any difficulty. From one of the illustrations accompanying this chapter it will be seen that the apparatus includes a device enabling objects to be picked up from the ocean bed. Utilising this, how easy it would be, for example, to load sponges and pearls into lowered baskets, if you had the sponges and the pearls right before your eyes. And the same thing applies to bars of silver and chests of gold.