For Ludwig Salvator ships had been the perfect means of transportation and provided him a flexible accomodation. He could land at the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and pursue his countless studies in the interior of the country.
At the age of 22 Ludwig Salvator approached his mother, Grand Duchess Maria Antoinette, by letter with the following request:
That's what I would like above all to speak about with you as with Papá on the occasion of my planned stay in Gmunden: On my journeys during the past years - with the sky as a roof, with limbs stretched on the planks of some ship or in the sand of some uninhabited bay - I often thought whether it would be possible with the resources we have at our disposal ... to buy a comfortable means of locomotion, which, accordingly furnished, would serve my scientific needs and could offer the comfort of an own home. This vague thought, which I dreamed in some summer nights, took shape in the past year, when I thought, how useful it would be for me having a ship which could serve as means of transport and home during those months of the year, which I spend gladly for health reasons and for scientific purposes on the sea.
Equipped with his own capital and a loan from family and friends the young Archduke gave the order for the building of the steam and sailing yacht "Nixe" in 1870. The construction started on 12 th of July 1871 in the shipyard "Stabilimento tecnico" near Fiume (today's Rijeka). On 22 nd of August 1872 the launching took place. The actual test run and inauguration of the ship happened on 28 th of February 1873.
"She has a jib boom, a fore-mast, a main-mast and a mizzen-mast each with one gaff and a mizzen boom and a flying yard at the fore-mast. The middle depth with coal is 9'6''engl. The machine with 3 cylinders, surface condensation and preheaters in the smoke chamber of the boiler made by Robert Whitehead also in the Stabilimento tecnico, has a nominal force of 110 and an effective of 400 horse power. The consumption of coal in one hour full speed, on the average 10-11 knots, amounts to 12 hundredweights, in one hour half speed (on the average 7 - 8 knots) 8 - 9 hundredweights. The coal container takes on 100 tons of coal, the water reservoirs take on water for 20 days, and there is also a distilling plant."
Technical designer of the yacht was the German mechanical and shipbuilding engineer Otto Schlick from Hamburg . The three cylinder steam engine was a construction by the English engineer Robert Whitehead, who became world-famous because of the invention of the torpedo.The first commander of the Nixe was captain Alois "Luigi" Adalbert Randich from Rijeka. After Randich's marriage in the year 1883, Ludwig Salvator took the command himself and captained the ship up to the summer of the year 1893. In order to take some of the load off himself he then decided to engage the Majorcan captain Raffael Vich y Rosselló who during his first command on 5 th of July 1893 rammed the ship the reefs of Cap Caxine in front of the port entrance of Algiers. After this collision Ludwig Salvator and the entire crew saved themselves in dinghies to the Algerian coast. The "Nixe" sank because of a deep leak near the coal depot.
Already one year after the shipwreck Ludwig Salvator started negotiations with the Prince of Liechtenstein concerning the acquisition of the steam and sailing yacht "Hertha ", built 1877 in the North German City in Kiel. The ship had a similar construction as the Nixe, since it had been also designed by Otto Schlick .
"Hertha" was a three-master with a length of 52 meters and with largest width of 6,72 m. The depth of the hold between the upper edge of the upper decks and the keel amounted to 4 meters. The ton content was 164 registered tons. The draught with full coal provisions amounted to 11 in front and 10 WE astern.
The two-cylinder steam engine built by Schweffel and Howaldt in Kiel had an effective force of 500 HP and reached a speed of 11 knots with 5 at. pressure. The coal consumption amounted to 10 tons in 24 travel hours.
At Ludwig Salvator's request the Imperial Royal sea-authority in Trieste changed the name of the newly acquired ship to "Nixe".Ludwig Salvator could not comply with the requisition order of the Imperial Royal sea transport authority/Trieste which was issued at the beginning of the First World War regarding the handing over of the "Nixe" for the service in the navy, since the ship was in the harbour of Porto Pi in Mallorca . After the death of Ludwig Salvator "Nixe" passed into the possession of the family of Antonio Vives , Ludwig Salvators friend, secretary and sole heir. 1925 it was acquired by the two former officials Andrea Demetrio Lakatsa and Jean Lakatsa Billing who are now living on the Ionian island Ithaka. It was finally scrapped. The dinghy of the "Nixe II" was kept by Erwin Hubert, a collaborator of Ludwig Salvator.