For most, kayaking goes something like this: you rent a kayak from a dirty beach-side hovel, lug it out to the water, and spend about 45 sweat-filled minutes trying to coordinate paddle strokes until, ultimately, you just park it on a sand bar and tan.

For the experts among us, though, kayaks can be fantastic tools for sea-faring exploration. Recently, one man put his kayaking skills to work when he saw an old ship floating not too far from the shore. What he discovered inside far exceeded his expectations…

Kayaking can be thrilling, relaxing, or even both at once. It’s a perfect activity to navigate tight spaces, heavy currents, or open waters – which leaves room for a lot of exciting opportunities!

This is especially the case for kayakers in Romania, where an old, decrepit ship named Empire Strength rests just off the coast in the Black Sea. 

Mike / Wikimedia

On the side of the hull, there’s a small crack. You can’t fit a boat inside of it, but this experienced adventurer knew what could: his kayak, of course! What would he find on the inside?

RM Videos / Youtube

The ship wore a coat of thick rust, but this fearless explorer continued his journey into the opening. With sharp edges and hidden pieces lurking below, this was no task for the casual kayaker.

Furthermore, in an unstable structure like an old ship, you never know what might be ready to crumble. Anything he touched could nudge something out of place and bring down some wreckage…

RM Videos / Youtube

Using his hands instead of his paddle, the kayaker guided himself fully into the ship. The interior was dark, but luckily, light poured through cracks. The inside wasn’t in any better condition than the outside.

There was definitely an eerie vibe to the ship that time had worn down into looking like an evil villain’s vaulted lair. Girders ribbed the walls and ceiling, while enormous gears and pistons blocked certain pathways.

Comments on the kayaker’s original video relayed mixed feelings about his journey. One person posting, “I noticed the Harland & Wolff logo on the main engine. Possibly the whole ship was built by this British shipyard, the builders of the SS Titanic.”

Others compared the structure’s interior to other familiar settings in shipwreck films and video game franchises. However, most comments seemed upset that the guy sometimes had his feet hanging outside the kayak!

Perhaps more interesting than the interior of this dilapidated ship, however, was the history of the ship itself. It spent years navigating waters all around the world before it was finally abandoned…

The vessel actually served within the UK’s Ministry of War Transport as an Empire Ship; it was used for giving the country’s wartime fleet a little extra umph. These ships were usually either built or captured from enemies.

RM Videos / Youtube

Before and during World War II, the United Kingdom boasted the largest fleet of merchant ships, but the war claimed 4,000 of them. German U-boats and the Luftwaffe patrolled the water, looking to sink enemy vessels…

Built in 1942 in a shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the ship weighed 7,355 tons! And though you probably couldn’t tell from its current state, this ship actually survived the fighting of WWII.

Despite the glory of Empire Strength‘s appearance and apparent might, its role wasn’t the most glamorous: it transported frozen meat from Argentina in 1944 and 1945, making stops at ports in North Africa, Algiers, Cuba, and Australia.

Just 26 years after it was built, Empire Strength—whose name at one point had been changed to MV E Evangelia—ran aground just 16 miles south of the largest port in the Black Sea. Unable to move, it was abandoned and left floating in its current spot.

At first, locals raided the ship for anything of value, but now the MV E Evangelia has been reduced to nothing more than a few good photos and exploratory opportunities…

Still, the ship in its current state serves as a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. Some people even brave the waters and swim out to the wreck—though that seems like a good way to cut yourself on a ship fragment! 

Apparently, there’s even a way to get onto the deck, but it involves navigating rusty pipes and climbing up a ladder to a dark, windowless shaft. That seems, uh… safe? Yikes!

Thanks to one courageous kayaker, who documented his exploration, we were all able to experience a journey through a piece of history. We’re thankful he didn’t just take a trip to a nearby sandbar! 

Check out the video this adventurous man recorded first-hand while paddling into the unknown. You’ll be quite surprised to find all the history that’s still intact!

The guts this guy has are quite impressive. Would you embark blindly into an old, abandoned structure so eagerly?

Share this kayaker’s historical trip with your adventure-seeking friends below!