The Mikhail Lermontov Wreck

January 21, 2024

The conditions were about as calm as they can be in the Marlborough Sounds so we decided to make our way to the wreck of the Mikhail Lermontov, about an hour-long boat ride from Waikawa. Typically, diving the Lermontov requires an entire trip solely dedicated to it so we were lucky to be able to sneak in a dive there due to the good conditions.

From the Wikipedia article,

MS Mikhail Lermontov was an ocean liner owned by the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company, built in 1972 by V.E.B. Mathias-Thesen Werft, Wismar, East Germany. It was later converted into a cruise ship. On 16 February 1986 it collided with rocks near Port Gore in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, and sank, claiming the life of one of its crew members.

MS Mikhail Lermontov rests where it sank, lying on its starboard side in depths reaching up to a maximum of about 38 metres (125 ft). It is popular with scuba divers and the site is served by local dive shops in Picton and KaikĊura. It is also one of the biggest, easily accessible, diveable ship wrecks in the world.[8] The dives range from an easy 12 metres (39 ft) depth at the top of the wreck, through to deep penetration and decompression dives to depths of 36 metres (118 ft).

MS Mikhail Lermontov

By U.Gomez - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Lermontov is 19,872 gross register tons (GRT) and 175.77 m (576 ft 8 in) in length.

At the site, there's a platform moored to the wreck. That makes it very straightforward to follow the line down to the wreck. It was very murky when we arrived at the mooring point at about 22 m.

Descent to the Lermontov

We started along the outer hull heading towards the stern. There wasn't so much to see so we turned around after 5 minutes, moved over to the deck side, and headed towards the bow. We were able to see large and small wreckage all over the ship.

Wreckage

There was also some wildlife on the wreck.

Crab

Sea Perch

Fish (TODO: Needs Id)

And that was it for our dive on the Mikhail Lermontov.

Wreck

The next day, in Picton, we saw one of the original lifeboats used by the passengers to escape the sinking ship.

Lifeboat

All in all, the dive satisfied my general curiosity about the Lermontov.

Mikhail Lermontov


Location: South Island, Marlborough, New Zealand

Statistics


Dive Number:   242
Bottom Time: 35m
Time In: 10:21 a.m.
Tank In: 197 PSI
Max Depth: 23.90 ft
Table Used:
Mix:   Air
Safety Stop: 3m
Time Out: 10:56 a.m.
Tank Out: 60 PSI
Average Depth: 16.30 ft
Start Pressure Group:
 
 
 
 
Surface Interval:  
End Pressure Group:

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Everett Toews
TBT: 212h 50m