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

Discover Scuba Divers at Racha Noi Phuket, Thailand

Discover Scuba Diving

Are you interested in Scuba Diving but never dived before? Or don't want to or don't have the time to do your PADI Open Water certification? then you have the option of doing what is called a Discover Scuba Dive, think of it like a Tandem Parachute jump, without the whole jumping out a perfectly good airplane dilemma. The way it works is one of our expert diving instructors will be you underwater guide, they will instruct you on basic ope [...]

Find Out More
Whale Shark at Shark Point Phuket Thailand

Similan Island Liveaboards

The Similan Islands are one of the world's top ten must see scuba diving destinations. Made up of nine Islands the Koh Similan National Marine Park has white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue warm water, famous worldwide for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Scuba diving around the Similan Islands aboard a liveaboard from Phuket, will have you entranced by the diverse amount of marine life; the dive sites are abundant with many different wo [...]

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!

phuket dive boat mv kepsub News & Updates

Shipyard Complete!

At least once every year our trusty Phuket dive boat MV Kepsub will be unceremoniously hauled out of the water and into the dry dock in Phuket Town for a 3 week overhaul. It's a nice break for our hard working boat crew and office staff but a bit of a nightmare for the owners. Well just about everything, the entire boat will be inspected for any problems and new features added. There's generally quite a few bodies clambering around bot [...]

Read Full Story
Phuket Wreck Diving Has Many Options Amazing Local Dives

Wreck Diving In Phuket

Phuket is not well known for wreck diving but we do have a few and some are very good. In one bay at Racha Yai we have 5! Ok, we're using the term wreck a little cheaply for a couple of them but they were boats and now they're on the ocean floor - so it's a wreck. Our premier Phuket wreck, it's the oldest of our recreational diving wrecks and very much worth a visit for all experienced divers. The bottom of the wreck is over 30m deep a [...]

Read Full Story
scuba diving is very safe Scuba Diving For Beginners

Is Scuba Diving Safe?

We're obviously biased but we think scuba diving is a very safe activity. Of course as with all adventure sports/hobbies there is an element of risk, but the hard facts support that accidents in scuba diving are firstly rare and mostly the fault of the diver and could have been easily avoided. So lets have a look at some of the common safety procedures that keep you safe. Unsurprisingly, running out of air is the main culprit in scuba [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps