“Delfin II” was constructed by Antoni Dębski and built under the auspices of the Pomeranian Branch of the Society of Friends of Earth Science. The object, bought from a private owner, is now awaiting a detailed conservation process so that it can soon please the visitors’ eyes.
The non-self-propelled, dry-cockpit bathyscaph was designed for observation of trawls, nets, bottom and marine fish biology. “Delfin II” was operated on the research vessel r/v “Professor Siedlecki. In May 1974 he participated in the so-called African cruise under the scientific direction of dr. Zbigniew Ziembo. The research work was conducted on the shelf of northwest Africa, at the height of the Spanish Sahara. During the cruise, more than 100 successful “electrified” trawl hauls were made, including two observed from the underwater two-man towed vehicle “Dolphin II”.
In July of the same year, “Professor Siedlecki” held a Baltic cruiseDuring this time, the so-called line trawl trials were carried out in the Gotland Deep. The leader of the scientific team carrying out these trials was Professor Andrzej Ropelewski.
“Dolphin II” is a two-person gear observation vehicle. During operation the vehicle was towed. In the central part there is a superstructure with a hermetically sealed hatch. There is also a second hatch, provided for emergency lowering of the vehicle. On either side of the body are ballast tanks filled with compressed air, the supply of which was contained in two 50-litre cylinders at 150 at. Nine portholes directed forward, sideways, downwards and backwards allowed observation and taking photographic pictures – explains Wojciech Joński of the NMM’s Oceanography Department.
Appropriate vehicle positioning in the water was regulated by the length of the cable issued and the deflection of the vertical and horizontal rudders. The vehicle’s stability was ensured by large ballast fins in the shape of skids, fixed under the bottom of the body. They also served as the vehicle’s stand during transport or storage.
Now we have a lot of work ahead of us, as we realise that our vehicle currently has no display value. However, it is worth noting that at first glance, the vehicle’s corrosion is not extensive. The actual condition will be assessed after a thorough washing. The next stage will be a possible replacement of damaged sheet metal elements. We will also unscrew the portholes in order to thoroughly wash the windows. Further work will include sandblasting the metal elements and putting the vehicle together. We will choose the type of paint which will make it possible to exhibit the object in the future not only under the roof, but also outside. – says Irena Rodzik, head of the Museum Collections Conservation Department at the National Museum in Wrocław (NMM).
Conservation process of “Dolphin II” It may take several months to complete. Museum officials plan to present the vehicle in 2023, during an exhibition on underwater discoveries.
Task: “The purchase of the underwater vehicle “Delfin II” was financed from an earmarked subsidy for investment expenditure using the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the state budget. Co-financing: 95 000 PLN.
Photo: National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk
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