Mal-assombrado, 'Titanic brasileiro' desafia mergulhadores em Ilhabela

Desenho do Príncipe de Astúrias, que naufragou perto de Ilhabela Imagem: Blog do historiador Jeannis Platon

No dia 5 de março de 1916, um luxuoso transatlântico navegava pelo mar que banha o litoral norte de São Paulo. Com o nome Príncipe de Astúrias, a embarcação vinha da Espanha, tinha como destino final Buenos Aires e levava cerca de 600 pessoas registradas (entre passageiros e tripulantes).

Chovia muito, a visibilidade era péssima e, ao passar pela costa da hoje famosa Ilhabela, o navio se chocou com formações rochosas na área da Ponta da Pirabura, que danificaram seriamente sua estrutura. Não demorou para a tragédia acontecer: em poucos minutos, o Príncipe de Astúrias naufragou e levou à morte mais de 440 pessoas, o que rendeu ao transatlântico o apelido de “Titanic brasileiro”.

Hoje, mais de 100 anos depois, restos da embarcação ainda se encontram no fundo do mar de Ilhabela — e viraram um ponto de mergulho desafiador e cercado de lendas fantasmagóricas.

“Partes do naufrágio começam a aparecer por volta dos 24 metros de profundidade e vão até uns 50 metros de profundidade. É um local que tem muita correnteza, com condições marítimas que não são muito boas”, explica David Reynaldo Diaz, proprietário da escola e operadora de mergulho Mergulhaso, que realiza este tour subaquático em Ilhabela.

E, durante os mergulhos, é muito difícil ver os restos do transatlântico com clareza. Isso porque, além da água constantemente turva, a estrutura do navio (que tinha aproximadamente 150 metros de comprimento) se encontra em pedaços. Tanto seu formato original como seu pomposo interior (que era composto por confortáveis cabines, restaurante, biblioteca e sala de música) estão destruídos no fundo do mar. Entretanto, ainda é possível avistar, no local, itens que eram levados a bordo, como garrafas e pedaços de pratos.

Especula-se que, quando afundou, o navio carregava, além dos aproximadamente 600 passageiros e tripulantes registrados, centenas de imigrantes que estavam fugindo da Primeira Guerra Mundial na Europa e buscavam um novo lar na América do Sul. E estas pessoas eram transportadas, provavelmente, nos compartimentos inferiores da embarcação, em espaços com quase nenhuma possibilidade de fuga. Caso isso tenha acontecido, não seria absurdo supor que mais de 1.000 pessoas morreram na tragédia. E, para muita gente, a energia negativa deste desastre de proporções gigantescas ainda permanece ao redor do transatlântico submerso.

Mesmo com a pouca visibilidade, porém, muita gente faz questão de enfrentar os perigos do oceano para chegar perto de uma das mais lendárias histórias de naufrágio do Brasil.

Há relatos que afirmam que, na viagem em que naufragou, o Príncipe estava carregando enormes riquezas (uma das quantias estimadas é de 11 toneladas de ouro). Esta fortuna, porém, nunca foi oficialmente descoberta por ninguém (há uma teoria que diz que, pouco antes do acidente, o capitão teria mudado a rota da embarcação e descarregado sorrateiramente parte destes tesouros em um ponto do litoral norte de São Paulo). E, a bordo, o navio também trazia diversas estátuas de bronze, que seriam parte de um monumento na Argentina. 

O Príncipe de Astúrias tem uma história tão rica que já deu origem, inclusive, a livros. Uma das mais famosas destas obras é “Ilhabela – Príncipe de Astúrias – Um Mistério entre Dois Continentes”, de autoria de Jeannis Michail Platon, mergulhador e um dos maiores pesquisadores do desastre envolvendo o navio.

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