Marla’s Mystery

Marla’s Mystery

A Rarely Visited But Surprisingly Good Wreck At Racha Yai

Some times the bad weather can work to your advantage, the large swell on the ocean prevented us from going to our preferred dive sites so a group of us decided to visit the deepest wreck at Racha Yai to see what we could find and we were pleasantly surprised.

Not That much of A Mystery

The wreck was sunk in 2000 by the former owner of a Phuket dive centre. He found the stripped down rusting hulk in a shipyard in Phuket Town. All of the potential environmentally dangerous parts had already been stripped off so this 34m x 7m hull was a perfect candidate for an artificial reef. Some new panels were welded on and she was gloriously resurrected above the waves only to be towed out to Racha Yai and sunk again – it can be a harsh world.

corals and fish on marlas mystery phuket

corals and fish on marlas mystery phuket

The wreck was named after Mike Stark’s daughter Marla (I’m guessing you had already worked out her name). The wreck sits in 32m of water just outside of bay 2 at Racha Yai, the top of the wreck is at around 26m so you won’t have a lot of bottom time.

Fish Magnet

Apart from a couple of concrete cubes it’s the only structure in the area and as a result attracts plenty of fish. The top of the wreck was blanketed with yellow and blue-lined snappers, robust, neon and rusty fusiliers were feeding on plankton above the wreck and occasionally streamed down in colourful trains to visit cleaning stations.

Unfortunately for these colourful little chaps, all of this activity has of course attracted predators who care not about dive site aesthetics and more about filling their belly. Small schools of large tuna circle above the wreck, a marauding pack of golden trevally hunt at the bow and some larger than usual brown marbled groupers hide underneath.

It’s a bit of a given with any large structure at Racha Yai that there will be a giant moray hiding somewhere and true to form a large fanged mouth was gaping out of the middle section.

Clean Water For Coral

In theory, coral growth shouldn’t be as prolific at depth as it is in shallow water but there’s more coral growth on one concrete cube next to Marla’s Mystery than on the entire 300+ collection in the shallow areas of the dive site. We know water quality isn’t great close to the island so we can only assume the water further out is cleaner and promotes healthy coral growth.

healthy coral at depth on artificial reef

healthy coral at depth on artificial reef

How To Dive

First and foremost you’ll need a captain who knows where it is, otherwise you’ll get 25 minutes of looking at sand and the occasional lost looking starfish. Fortunately our captain is one such fellow and knows exactly where to drop divers. There is also a barge captain out there somewhere with the exact coordinates, we know this because he managed to drop a concrete cube smack bang in the middle of the wreck…

Although it can be done on air as the first dive of the day, we highly recommend enriched air nitrox this will give you plenty of bottom time and enable you to swim slightly deeper for easier reference when you begin making your way back to the bay on a rough 320 degree heading. Spend about 20 minutes around the wreck and allow yourself at least 15 minutes to get back to the shallower areas. Divers with the wreck specialty will be able to swim through the very clean hull but watch out for the morays!

Solve The Mystery With Local Dive Thailand!

Posted in Amazing Local Dives on .

Popular Services

Phuket Diving Site Elephant Head Rock

Elephant Head Rock

Elephant Head Rock is a large rocky pinnacle that nestles between Similan Islands seven and eight. The strong current that runs between the two islands has washed the granite boulders on Elephant Head Rock smooth and created lots of really nice swim-throughs. Although strong currents are frequently prevalent the large size of the pinnacle ensures there is always a sheltered and safe area to dive and is often the first dive of the day to allo [...]

Find Out More
MV Giamani Liveaboard AT SImilan Island No. 8

MV Giamani

MV Giamani has the smallest guest list of any Thailand Liveaboard. Not a small boat by any means but with only 10 guests onboard you can expect a first class and personal service. As you can imagine finding space to relax between dives is no trouble at all, many guests enjoy the outside cushioned area to maybe read a book and take in the spectacular views of the surrounding Similan and Surin Island National Parks and the uninhabited islands o [...]

Find Out More

Daily Schedules

M/V Kepsub Schedule

Jobs @ Local Dive Thailand

Local Dive Thailand is one of Phuket's fatest growing & most vibrant scuba diving operations, we are always looking for quality staff to join us, so feel free to have a look at our jobs listing page.

Job Listings

Contact LDT

Local Guides, Local Knowledge, Local Experiences

Don't trust your diving to amateurs or freshly minted dive guides, dive with local experienced experts from Local Dive Thailand. Our Scuba Diving Phuket Tours will take you to see the rarest of the rare critters, you will be amazed by the macro life our guides can find, in the secret places only they know. To put it in perspective, if you were going to climb Mount Everest you would certainly hire a local sherpa to lead the way & keep you safe. Diving is similar because there is absolutely no substitute for local experience & local knowledge, Local Dive Thailand's guides are Phuket's Sherpa's of the Andaman Sea!

Learn More About Us

Scuba Diving Phuket, Phi Phi & Thailand

When talking about Scuba Diving in Phuket, you should believe the hype, many seasons we have had Whale Sharks grace us on our regular and easy to reach dive sites and on a good day you can add Sea Horses, Sea Moths, Snake Eels, Frog Fish & Octopus to what you can see on any given dive and so much more. If we are heading to Phi Phi Island for the day, you can possibly see Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Black Tip Reef Sharks, also don't forget the King Cruiser, 84 meters of beautiful wreck and the most amazing reef nursery for fish and nudibranch. Local Dive Thailand day trip tours to these locations are not to be missed when you are scuba diving Phuket, get in touch with us and book an 'awesome' day of diving.

Book Your Day Trip

Related News From Local Dive Thailand

See why we are Thailand's leading scuba diving Phuket tour provider, stay up to date & watch out for news & special liveaboard offers!

Seahorse-On-A-Phuket-Diving-Site The Archives

Thailand Suspends Export of Seahorses

CITES has announced the Thai governments decision to suspend the export of seahorses after not being able to meet the CITES obligations for the trade in seahorses, Thailand decided to stop issuing export permits earlier this year in lieu of obtaining a sustainable solution and protecting the wild population. It's a welcome move and hopefully a chance for one of diving's most loved animals to increase in numbers. Thailand is the worlds largest [...]

Read Full Story
avoiding seasickness Scuba Diving Health

How Do I Avoid Seasickness?

Fortunately throughout the Phuket diving high season we're blessed with generally flat seas but around the beginning of May we start to get a swell come in from the open ocean. Although for most this has little impact on your dive day, for those who get seasick it can be horrible but there are ways to avoid it. Not going to go too far into the science but essentially you're brain is being confused. With intentional movement (walking, r [...]

Read Full Story
Phuket Snorkelling With Local Dive Thailand Phuket Sights & Fun

Snorkelling Tours In Phuket

Snorkelling in Phuket can be a bit of a gamble but although Local Dive Thailand primarily looks after Phuket scuba divers we also offer a great service for non-divers and free divers. If we have snorkelers on the boat, usually they're accompanying a certified diver family member or friend, it's a great solution to keeping the whole group together rather than the diver going off for a trip alone. Generally a dedicated snorkelling tour in Ph [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps