The MV Trident holds a very special place in my life, I spent lots of time aboard, on tech liveaboards diving deep ship wrecks located in the Gulf of Thailand and have many memories attached to both my time onboard and underwater. It gave rise to the first few articles I had published and certainly fed my thirst for wrecks.
It was synonymous with Master Divers for many years and many here have fond memories of the time when Master Divers was its base. Its owner, Jamie Macleod, is arguably our scuba-diving-dad. He taught Elaine many courses throughout her career and taught and inspired Wilco and I technical training too.
The vessel plied the waters of the Gulf and a bit beyond locating wrecks that had long been lost and forgotten and played a big role in writing the history of wreck diving in this area. The atmosphere onboard when looking for a new wreck was great, the anticipation and just the slightest chance to dive where no else had was exciting. The most famous wreck she found was the USS Lagarto, a WWII submarine which lies fully intact on the ocean floor in 72m of warm clear water. I wasn’t onboard for that find but dived the sub quite a few times and wrote about her for The Undersea Journal, Diver UK, Scuba Diver Australasia and my photographs featured in Dives 100 Essential Wreck Dives. There are many more amazing wrecks out there that are rarely dived and the feeling of privilege with a side portion of smugness was always apparent.
She had certainly done her hard yards and in September of 2010, after being stripped and made safe, she was allowed to sink to become an artificial reef off the south end of Koh Tao. It seemed fitting that THE wreck hunter become a wreck herself. She sank quickly to the depths and rested on her side in about 35m of water. At this point she was the only wreck on Koh Tao in recreational depths preceding the HTMS Sattakut.
The depth was planned to offer a great training ground for entry level tech as well as the deeper dive on the Deep Dive course. She offers something different for the more experienced diver and always gives our gas blenders something different to mix the the usual 32% or 36% EANx too.
The last time I dived her was Jan 2011 so I was eager to see how she was doing and bring some pictures back too. She can be a bit more of a challenging dive, due to her depth but also due to her location in what can be quite a current-y area. We time our dives on her for the tides and have mostly hit it right. Today was no exception – just a mere whisper of current which picked up a little by the time the techies arrived at their deco.
Arriving at the bow the first thing I noticed was the logo was missing, completely gone from what you can see above. You can see the odd patches of blue paint but nothing more.
The ceiling in the captains cabin / wheelhouse has fallen in trapping the lines laid by previous divers. This is where I used to stand on my tiptoes straining to see the depth sounder as we slowly passed over an area where a wreck might be looking for anomalies on the bottom.
The saloon, which was mostly referred to as ‘the aircon room’, was a base for charging batteries, fixing kit and chilling infront of the TV after a hard days diving. It certainly was not for ‘wet people’ but often a place to hide ‘goodies’ that you didn’t want others to eat! The upper deck was lined with benches at the rear, a place to both watch and tease those on the deco station below and a general good vantage point, a great sunset spot and often the male changing area ; it being hidden behind the wetsuit rail ……being (usually) the only female on the boat certainly came with its challenges !
The stairs were a hive of activity at diving times and food times and a certain challenge if you were tall and in a rush but if you were small and/or daring you could swing yourself to the dive deck below – landing with a bang next to the oxygen tanks and filling station! The camera bucket was tied here too and along with the benches the stair rails were pressed into service as drying racks on the return journey. What Jamie would always refer to as a technical diving jumble sale !
There’s one of these horseshoe shaped seating areas on each side of the upper deck. Heavy circular tables used to sit in the middle, providing places to plan dives, perch your laptop and ofcourse eat!
The back platform of the dive deck is where, I at least, would wobble in full kit slowly shuffling to take a giant stride into the deep blue. This is also where a line would be dropped where you could attach your spare tanks once on deco. Yes – I managed to drop one once and unsecured it made its way to the bottom but it was later recovered (phew)!
Lights and flags were mounted here, but the top rails which were the framework for the shade has collapsed and lies on the deck too. The dinner bell hung here too and woe-betide you if you even so much as dared smell the food before the bell was rung! As I returned back to the bow and the line, I took a quick snap of the wheelhouse from the front. You can see the lines laid that go through the now inaccessible wheelhouse.
The dive was fun, it was certainly interesting to see her after so much time and see how the life had moved in. There was plenty of fish and a monster barracuda and grouper lurking around too. It was certainly curious to swim around a wreck I knew as a boat so well and a different experience to a wreck whose history you know second hand. Hopefully I’ll get back quicker next time !
Did you dive from the MV Trident ? Feel free to share your memories in the comment box below ………..
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