Carl Chun from Leipzig was fascinated by the possibilities within the deep sea.
In a speech to the German Association of Natural Scientists and Physicians on
24 September 1897, he campaigned for an expedition to explore the depths of the
sea. Not only did he manage to make his case, he inspired Kaiser Wilhelm II to
became convinced that scientific exploration and conquest of the oceans was
essential to achieve world supremacy against Britain. Thus, he allocated funds
towards the expedition. On 31 July 1898, less than a year after Chun's speech,
the steamship Valdivia was put to sea.
nine-month journey, the crew crossed the northern and southern Atlantic, the
Antarctic waters and the Indian Ocean. They explored the seabed, extensively
measuring the depths and temperatures of the ocean, and even discovered
numerous new species like the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)…
the scientific gains was simply enormous.
author Rudi Palla recounts the team's voyage in his new book, Valdivia – The History of the First German Deep-Sea
contains many original pictures and previously undisclosed documents, including
notebooks, journals and logbooks from the expedition. It gives readers a
glimpse of the lives of the crew as they dealt with the challenges of life on
board the ship and on land. A subtle undercurrent about marine pollution runs
throughout the book, with the scientists of the Valdivia expedition
having experienced the seas in a state that no longer exists today.
launch will take place this Thursday, 10 March 2016, at 7pm at the German
Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. Admission is 3 Euros per person, and free
for members of the German Oceanographic Museum. If you buy the book at the
launch, you can get it signed by the author.
The book by
Rudi Palla: Valdivia – The
History of the First German Deep-Sea Expedition, Verlag Galiani Berlin, ISBN
978-3-86971-124-9, 224 pages with photos and illustrations; hardcover; Price:
Euro 28,00 (D) | Euro 28,80 (A).