Marlas Mystery – Mystery Solved

Marlas Mystery – Mystery Solved

Marlas 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. We were pleasantly surprised with what we found. Healthy coral and lots of fish.

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.

coral and fish on marlas mystery phuket

coral 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 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. We also occasionally get jenkins whip rays using the wreck for cover.

It’s a bit of a given with any large structure at Racha Yai that there will be a giant moray hiding somewhere. 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. So surprising to see 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!

Contact Us Now

By Justin Hartrey

I've been enjoying the incredible marine life in our oceans for over 25 years. 13 years ago I became a PADI professional, hoping to introduce as many people as possible to the incredible beauty of the seas.

Having been fortunate enough to dive all over south east and especially Thailand, I enjoy sharing my experience and passion on this blog.

Posted in Amazing Local Dives on .

Popular Services

Koh Haa At Sunset

Liveaboards To The Southern Andamans

Koh Ha, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang don't get as much as the limelight as the more famous Similan Islands but you have no less of a chance of encountering manta rays and whale sharks here than you do further north. You won't find many boats that sail this route but if you're fortunate enough to be here when one does then it's definitely worth a try. Phi Phi is also considered the southern andaman. During our green season from June to October a [...]

Find Out More
anemone reef phuket

Anemone Reef

It's immediately obvious how Anemone Reef got its name. This great Phuket diving site is carpeted with heteractis magnifica anemones. They do have a mild sting so make sure your buoyancy is correct before you leave the decent line. The dive will usually start at the mooring line. After leaving the mooring line you'll quickly descend to 18 - 24m depending on your certification level. Under the deeper ledges at the bottom of the reef you ma [...]

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!

enjoy beautiful locations with the thailand test and go News & Updates

Thailand Test And Go Returns!

Despite initial reservations, the Thailand Test and Go scheme was a massive boost for the Phuket diving industry. Even though the tourist arrivals were way below normal. A lack of diving options in south-east asia especially drew a large number of divers to Phuket. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines all still have heavy restrictions on international tourism. In comparison getting to Thailand and especially Phuket is relatively easy e [...]

Read Full Story
similan islands diving Amazing Local Dives

Similan Islands Scuba Diving Day Trip

The Similan Islands are a special place for scuba diving but a day trip from Phuket may leave you a little disappointed. There certainly are some exceptional dive sites around the Similan Islands but mostly day trips won't cover them from Phuket. There are certain times of year and days of the week when a trip can be very much worth so we'll cover that later. It's a long journey.. We'll use the most popular Phuket beach resort as our e [...]

Read Full Story
single use plastics banned in thai national parks News & Updates

Single Use Plastics Banned In Thai National Parks

From yesterday (06th April 2022) the Thai National Parks office has banned the use of single us plastics and styrofoam products in all National Parks. This includes marine parks so this may affect you on our Phi Phi day trip and Similan Island liveaboards. Although most of the plastics we find on the dive sites are not jettisoned from boats, it's still a welcome move. As a dive community, Phuket has long practised good environmental [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps