Even with all the legal, environmental and logistic considerations behind it, Kittiwake still faced delays on its way to the seafloor. As there is a significant amount of boat and jet ski traffic around the Kittiwake site, swiming from shore is prohibited. The Kittiwake now sits in 75’ of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 27’ below the surface. She is 77 meters long and will keep you well entertained with 5 decks, 2 bridges, a navigation room and a … Dive site … This shallow depth makes Kittiwake popular with snorkelers and freedivers as well as scuba divers. The Kittiwake was constructed with high-quality steel, which would hold up to the rigors of life on the seafloor. Wreck of the Kittiwake Photo Credit: Julie Corsetti 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. Is it Better Removed or Made into a Reef? Large holes were cut in its hull to create simple swim-throughs. The Kittiwake currently rests is Grand Cayman. The Most Popular Scuba Diving Stories of 2020, The Perfect Central California Dives to End a COVID Dry Spell. This expensive and time-consuming process requires cleaning the ships of any and all environmental contaminants. The 2020 edition of the Explore Cayman magazine is a 172 page full colour magazine. Grand Cayman dive operators had to wait three more days to open their new present while the gear used to tow the ship more than 1,250 miles was removed. Earlier that year, Grand Cayman welcomed the soon-to-be world-famous dive site, the ex-USS Kittiwake. Kittiwake wreck diving in Grand Cayman Wreck diving offers the opportunity to explore the modified wreckage of the USS Kittiwake, a salvage and rescue vessel that was operational for over 50 years. At one point the entire 2,200-ton ship was dry-docked to replace 32 potentially PCB-laden rubber gaskets — the operation cost the project an additional $40,000. Second, instead of running aground or sinking underway, the Kittiwake was a purpose sunk artificial reef for divers. As part of the agreement with MARAD, the ship needed to be cleaned of any potential environmental hazards prior to sinking. But it was a fun dive and a max depth of about 65 ft. so very Depth: The wreck sits at 60 feet, and the highest point sits only 15 feet under the surface. Kittiwake Dive Site in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. If you don't already have the training, consider taking a course while scuba diving in Grand Cayman — Kittiwake makes an excellent training ground. Need To Know: Kittiwake is considered a private park and requires an admission fee to visit, which must be with a licensed operator. Garden eels make themselves at home in the sands surrounding the ship, which attracts southern stingrays and eagle rays. In the end, they decided to sink Kittiwake only 800 yards off Seven Mile Beach. This is probably the only time you'll want to visit a recompression chamber during a scuba diving vacation. The 47-foot-tall (14-meter) ship is at a depth of 62 feet (19 meters), so the top deck is close to the Caribbean Sea’s surface, … I did two fantastic dives on the Kittiwake wreck, Grand Cayman during the annual Focus... Toggle navigation There are several operators who can organise trips to dive or snorkel the Kittiwake. And that Australia's pink manta ray is awesome. When it was time to decommission High Island 389A, the nation’s only oil rig in a NOAA sanctuary, regulators strove to balance a diving attraction with environmental…. They will donate these derelict vessels to be used as artificial reefs to any state or county that can prove they will properly clean and responsibly tow and sink the ship at an approved site. The Kittiwake wreck now lays on her side. It's great for people who aren't too comfortable with penetration diving (me) because the openings are really large. But finally, on January 5, 2011 — a decade after the CITA first dreamed of adding a new wreck — the Kittiwake finally sank upright beneath the waves off the coast of Grand Cayman and a new artificial reef was born. Our most-read stories show you didn’t let the pandemic keep you from growing as a diver. With such perfect conditions, she’s an ideal location for snorkelers, people diving for the first time and of course those that are fully certified. To save money MARAD has devised an alternative method to remove ships from its ever-growing collection. Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef: Kittiwake Wreck Dive - See 970 traveler reviews, 314 candid photos, and great deals for West Bay, Grand Cayman, at Tripadvisor. USS Kittiwake The USS Kittiwake is a great scuba diving site that has now been on the reef for over eight years. It is one of the Caribbean’s best-known and beloved wrecks — the Kittiwake.On January 5, 2011, the 251-foot-long ship was sunk in 60 feet of water near the Sand Chute dive site, close to Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Resting in 60 feet (18 m) of water, the wreck was sunk in the only place on the leeward side of the island where depth Plus: What divers should expect next time they plan a trip to Hawaii. 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. Gain the skills to get you and your buddies safely through an emergency. We were extremely lucky this hurricane season as none of the named storms hit our beautiful island. The wreck was left mostly undamaged, but now sits at a different angle. 3. One notable example was when Kittiwake assisted the USS George Washington during the first successful firing of a Polaris missile from an underwater submarine on July 20, 1960, off Cape Canaveral, Florida. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture some unusual shots! The Kittiwake is unique for a few reasons. The average depth is 20-30 ft/6-9 m. Pay attention to the boat traffic in the area. The 251-foot, 2,200-ton ship was launched on July 10, 1945, and was decommissioned September 30, 1994. Visit www.kittiwakecayman.com for more information. I just dove there around Christmas. “She was a ship that served divers all of her life,” Easterbrook told CNN. Mandatory Requirements - Dive Masters, Snorkel Guides & Vessels A map of the Kittiwake ship wreck … Scuba divers can still pose at the captain’s wheel, although they may feel more like they are driving the world’s largest convertible. She is easily accessible and sits upright in 62 … Later that same year Tropical Storm Nate snapped Kittiwake's anchor chains and pushed the wreck onto its port side. The deco chambers on the boat are worth the dive alone. A nice opportunity to shoot on a Nikon instead of my usual Go Pro! Temperature: Temps range from high 70Fs in winter to low- to mid-80Fs in the summer. While earning PADI Rescue Diver certification, you will learn how to handle a variety of dive emergencies, making you a more confident diver and a better buddy. A taste of what was to come.”, Renowned underwater explorer, Jill Heinerth trades caves for a chance to swim with polar bears in the Arctic. A dive aficionado rediscovers a love of California diving when COVID restrictions beach him without warning. Recycling an oil rig should be easy. The Kittiwake has a max depth of 65 ft deep with the top of the wreck in around 15ft. Unique animal encounters, practical tips and Florida diving dominated Scuba Diving magazine’s most popular stories of 2020. In some instances, the ship would act as a running target or recover practice torpedoes and mines. Here’s why it’s not. MARAD gave the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) the green light — it would be their first ship donation to a foreign government — and Nancy Easterbrook, founder of Cayman’s Divetech and the project manager of this undertaking, came to pick out the perfect wreck. This fully penetrable wreck was sunk by divers for divers and is accessible to all levels of certified diver. In addition to being made environmentally friendly, Kittiwake was also made more dive-friendly. Divers can discover the crew’s quarters, the recompression chamber, ammunition lockers and even the heads (bathrooms) – complete with mirrors. It would wait quietly for eight years, before being called to another kind of service. 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. Kittiwake, Grand Cayman Great for: wreck rookies One of the most popular and accessible wreck dives around the world, the 76.6m long Kittiwake was purpose sunk off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach just a few years Kittiwake Sites in Cayman, Kittiwake Wreck Dive The Kittiwake is situated in marine park that is protected under law in Cayman, with no touching or taking of anything, no gloves allowed and no fishing allowed on the wreck/Kittiwake site. The Kittiwake was indeed on the job and did assist with recovery work but it was actually one of the Challenger’s Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) that she recovered from a depth of 177 feet (54m). Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. By submitting above, you agree to Scuba Diving's privacy policy. The KITTIWAKE is possibly the 'cleanest' wreck even to be sunk as an artificial reef. With its impressive upright resting position, the Kittiwake was initially a one-of-a-kind wreck due to its shallow depth and extremely accessible passageways However, when Tropical Storm, and soon-to-be Hurricane, Nate began churning a few hundred miles southwest of Grand Cayman, large swells and high winds arrived at the west side of the island where the Kittiwake sits. All Rights Reserved. The Kittiwake is a Marine Park owned by CITA (Cayman Islands Tourist Association). TOW: December 17, 2010, the KITTIWAKE started her tow to Grand Cayman in a snow and ice storm; a tow that weathered rough winter seas for the better part of her 9 day journey, … Wreck Dive - A Complete Tour of the USS Kittiwake Wreck in the Grand Cayman's - Duration: 29:00. Copyright © 2021 Scuba Diving. All rights reserved. One diver regains his stride in the beloved waters of California's Monterey and Carmel Bays. U.S.S. Tips from seasoned traveler Terry Ward about finding reliable COVID travel information and planning a post-shut down trip to Hawaii. Experienced snorkellers can even try free diving down to take the wheel in the wheel house. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. The magnificent ship is 251ft long, 47ft tall and has five decks to explore. Kittiwake accompanied submarines during sea trials and maneuvers where its crew would monitor dive operations and practice underwater-rescue procedures. During its 49 years of service the ship was deployed throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian oceans. While being prepped for sinking, Kittiwake was made more accessible to scuba divers by cutting large holes in its hull and removing doors, hatches, bulkheads and other obstructions. MARAD is responsible for keeping decommissioned government ships afloat until they can be properly disposed of — ships like Kittiwake. What is a PADI Rescue Diver Certification. The CITA got the title for the Kittiwake in August, 2009. Barracuda, schools of horse-eye jacks, turtles and grouper also hang around the site. Scuba divers often encounter large marine life such as sea turtles, grouper, stingrays and barracuda while visiting the Kittiwake. It’s relatively shallow depth of Environmental impact studies were done in order to protect Grand Cayman’s existing underwater environment — after all, what would be the point of creating an artificial reef if it were to destroy a natural one? Stakeholders also considered what location would be best for dive operators. Divers exploring the Kittiwake will find a lot to love. Kittiwake also helped during salvage and rescue operations, such as in 1949, when it provided divers and equipment during an operation to free the Missouri (BB-63) after it had become grounded off Thimble Shores, Virginia. For only US $565 a guest can enjoy 5 days of It was too risky to tow the ship from Virginia, so the team had to wait for clearer weather. It's pretty amazing. Another challenge was selecting the wreck’s final resting place. This is one of the easiest, clearest wreck dives you will ever see. The USS Kittiwake is one of the best-known wreck dives in the Caribbean, if not the world. Wrecks You Can Dive To If All You Have Is Your Open Water Cert Diving has the ability to unlock portals to the past that we didn't even realize were sitting right below the ocean's surface, and these are the best. Copyright © 2021 Acorn Publishing Company. It didn’t take her long. […] Clyde M. Prickett set a new open-water deep-diving record for the Navy while serving aboard Kittiwake. This hurricane season as none of the Kittiwake find on the path toward sinking the ship, with a profile. And is accessible to all levels of certified diver of Monterey during the annual mating... The Caymans snorkel the Kittiwake is a 172 page full colour magazine a page... Deco chambers on the path toward sinking the ship reaches roughly 25ft and hits the sand Chute dive site close! Of her life, ” Easterbrook told CNN year Tropical Storm Nate snapped Kittiwake 's location shallow. Probably the only time you 'll want to avoid the hurricane season ( through. 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