Sitting at a depth of 62ft in clear Caribbean waters, the Ex-USS Kittiwake is a former submarine rescue vessel that served in the US Navy from 1945 to 1994. In 2011, she was scuttled off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman to create a spectacular wreck dive that now attracts around 20,000 divers and snorkellers a year. The Kittiwake is the final site in the Dive 365 initiative, an effort that has established 365 dive sites around the Cayman Islands to offer a new diving experience for every day of the year.
The magnificent ship is 251ft long, 47ft tall and has five decks to explore. Divers can discover the crew’s quarters, the recompression chamber, ammunition lockers and even the heads (bathrooms) – complete with mirrors. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture some unusual shots! Snorkellers also enjoy visits to the Kittiwake, as the stack lies just 15ft from the surface, allowing them to see straight down to the bottom of the hull and into the engine room. Experienced snorkellers can even try free diving down to take the wheel in the wheel house.
The Kittiwake attracts an abundance of marine life, including schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays, the resident barracuda, groupers and much more!
The ship is situated in a Marine Park, which is a protected area that was set up to keep Cayman’s marine life and coral healthy. It is against the law to touch or remove anything within the Marine Park; no gloves can be worn and fishing is prohibited. To continue this preservation effort, a Marine Park fee is charged and included in your diver operators’ fee to you. You will receive a wristband (snorkellers) or medallion (divers) as a keepsake souvenir, which must be worn while exploring the Kittiwake.
To visit the Kittiwake your must use a CITA licensed dive/snorkel operator. As there is a significant amount of boat and jet ski traffic around the Kittiwake site, swiming from shore is prohibited.
There are several operators who can organise trips to dive or snorkel the Kittiwake.
Visit www.kittiwakecayman.com for more information.