The highlight of our trip to Malta was diving the Mark One. I’d like to give you a background on the ship – launch date, history, nationality, circumstances in which she sank – but that’s all unknown. The Mark One is an unidentified shipwreck that was first dived by the Shadow Technical guys in 2015. They have completed four dives on her to date. She sits on the bottom in 120m of water with her deck coming up to 108m. Completely upright, the Mark One is nearly 150m long and has four large open cargo holds.
On the first dive we dropped down the shot to arrive on the stern of the ship. Blue water and great vis showed the wreck stretched out along the seafloor. The wreck has a lot of sponges and soft corals colonising the hull and she’s very intact. We swam from the stern to the bow and back again before heading for the surface via four hours of deco. As I headed back along the port side of the ship I looked down to see a dark patch in the side of the hull. Interesting, but no time to investigate. It wasn’t until the following day that I’d get a chance for a closer look.
On the second dive the shot dropped perfectly on the port side of the wreck. From this vantage point it was easy to see that the port side of the bow had caved in, leaving a large entry hole into the forward hold. You can just see the start of this collapse in the first photo above. Inside the hull were piles of barrels in different sizes, from 44 gallon drums to much smaller specimens. After a quick swim forward and out again, the other guys headed up and over the deck.
Having found myself on the port side and already halfway down the hull, I decided it was time to investigate the dark patch from yesterday. After descending to 118m it was clear that it wasn’t a patch, but a diver-sized hole in the hull. Sitting directly at mid-ships, a peek inside revealed a direct route into the engine room. I squeezed my way over a metal beam at a jaunty angle and moved very gently inside.
It’s obvious that noone has been in here since the ship went down. Piles of silt are sitting undisturbed on the floor. I eased my way through the railings and forward to the staircase to see what could be seen on the level above. With silt all around and a slightly obstructed pathway back to the exit combined with a depth of close to 120m, I wasn’t prepared to go much further. The stairs seemed like a good place to turn around. But then as I swung to the left, something caught my eye.
The bell with clapper still hanging in position looked very much like it was ready for service. With the engine room gauges flashing white faces in my torch light, I floated very still for a moment. Then common sense got the better of me and instead of silting out the engine room while trying to get closer I reached out to snap a few photos at arm’s length. Evidence secured, it was time to leave.
Back out into open ocean and up onto the deck above. I found my way into the top of the engine room through a large open panel and grabbed a shot of Craig coming back up the stairs several floors above where I had just been. After a quick look around I headed for the shot line, looking back from 90m to see the rest of the team gathering together to leave the wreck in the first photo above. A fantastic dive, with more secrets to discover.