Being this 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. 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, … It's great for people who aren't too comfortable with penetration diving (me) because the openings are really large. Once used as an old submarine rescue 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. Let’s dive deeper into the history of this iconic shipwreck. The Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard undertook a massive search for the space shuttle’s black box. Its convenient location, just off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, and shallow depths make it a popular site among scuba divers as well as snorkelers and freedivers. 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). Kittiwake Dive Site in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Clyde M. Prickett set a new open-water deep-diving record for the Navy while serving aboard Kittiwake. […] Given its proximity to the surface, the Kittiwake makes a great snorkel site too. Dive site … The Kittiwake wreck now lays on her side. Macro life such as peppermint shrimp, arrowhead crabs, fire worms and banded coral shrimp can be found all over the wreck. By the time the ship was ready and the location chosen, hurricane season had begun. Even with all the legal, environmental and logistic considerations behind it, Kittiwake still faced delays on its way to the seafloor. Cost for scuba diving is $10 per visit and $5 for snorkeling — you can also get an annual pass for $31.15 or lifetime pass for $250. This is probably the only time you'll want to visit a recompression chamber during a scuba diving vacation. 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. The Explore Cayman app is the #1 app for the Cayman Islands and can be downloaded for free. 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. 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. One diver regains his stride in the beloved waters of California's Monterey and Carmel Bays. You will receive a wristband (snorkellers) or medallion (divers) as a keepsake souvenir, which must be worn while exploring the Kittiwake. The magnificent ship is 251ft long, 47ft tall and has five decks to explore. On April 21, 1949, in Panama Bay he descended to a record-breaking depth of 501 feet. Experienced snorkellers can even try free diving down to take the wheel in the wheel house. Need To Know: Kittiwake is considered a private park and requires an admission fee to visit, which must be with a licensed operator. MARAD is responsible for keeping decommissioned government ships afloat until they can be properly disposed of — ships like Kittiwake. Of course, its rescues weren’t limited to submarines. Because Kittiwake was exported from the United States, it also had to adhere to the Toxic Substances Control Act, Easterbrook explained in an interview with Alert Diver. In addition to being made environmentally friendly, Kittiwake was also made more dive-friendly. Kittiwake, Grand Cayman Swim like the fish in and out of all five decks of this former 1945-1994 era U.S. Navy submarine rescue vessel. But it was a fun dive and a max depth of about 65 ft. so very Cayman Turtle Divers offers dives to the USS Kittiwake seven days a week. Divers exploring the Kittiwake will find a lot to love. Tips from seasoned traveler Terry Ward about finding reliable COVID travel information and planning a post-shut down trip to Hawaii. Scuba Diving may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. “We observed their final haggard moments. 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. The Kittiwake also set a world record for the deepest submarine-rescue exercise, taking an officer and four others to a depth of 705 feet on September 13, 1959. In some instances, the ship would act as a running target or recover practice torpedoes and mines. Their luck finally turned and the Kittiwake departed on its final voyage December 17, 2010, and arrived in Georgetown Harbor on Christmas Day. As part of the agreement with MARAD, the ship needed to be cleaned of any potential environmental hazards prior to sinking. It was too risky to tow the ship from Virginia, so the team had to wait for clearer weather. But Kittiwake is more than just a shipwreck, it’s an artificial reef, and the marine life here can be just as much of a draw for divers. I just dove there around Christmas. 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. The Most Popular Scuba Diving Stories of 2020, The Perfect Central California Dives to End a COVID Dry Spell. U.S.S. The Kittiwake is a Marine Park owned by CITA (Cayman Islands Tourist Association). scubadiving.com is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. Sign up for Scuba Diving’s weekly email and never miss another story. Map location, dive site tags, reviews, pictures, & weather. 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. In the end, they decided to sink Kittiwake only 800 yards off Seven Mile Beach. 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. “So it seemed the appropriate ship.”. Red Sail Sports’ Wreck Anniversary Package invites customers to experience the Kittiwake with great discounts and extras that only the island’s premier resort operator can offer. Second, instead of running aground or sinking underway, the Kittiwake was a purpose sunk artificial reef for divers. The Kittiwake currently rests is Grand Cayman. Kittiwake's location is shallow and close to shore, making it very accessible for scuba diving, snorkeling and freediving. A dive aficionado rediscovers a love of California diving when COVID restrictions beach him without warning. With easy access along the length of the wreck, it’s possible to head It would wait quietly for eight years, before being called to another kind of service. It’s relatively shallow depth of We were extremely lucky this hurricane season as none of the named storms hit our beautiful island. Visibility: Viz upwards of 100 feet is normal in Cayman. A PADI Worldwide Company. Recycling an oil rig should be easy. The dive site has a depth of 20 meters (65 feet) and the water temperatures is usually around 27 degrees Centigrade (80 degrees Fahrenheit) year-round. The deco chambers on the boat are worth the dive alone. 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. Coco Fest at Pedro St James, Grand Cayman, Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival, Grand Cayman, Explore Cayman is written and updated by locals and helps you find the very latest and best activities and things to do in the Cayman Islands. 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, … Stakeholders also considered what location would be best for dive operators. But what made it the obvious choice for Easterbrook was its history. 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. 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? Copyright © 2021 Acorn Publishing Company. The Kittiwake now sits in 75’ of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 27’ below the surface. The 2020 edition of the Explore Cayman magazine is a 172 page full colour magazine. It’s also a beautiful ship, with a classic profile. Garden eels make themselves at home in the sands surrounding the ship, which attracts southern stingrays and eagle rays. Kittiwake accompanied submarines during sea trials and maneuvers where its crew would monitor dive operations and practice underwater-rescue procedures. This shallow depth makes Kittiwake popular with snorkelers and freedivers as well as scuba divers. If you don't already have the training, consider taking a course while scuba diving in Grand Cayman — Kittiwake makes an excellent training ground. The Kittiwake was constructed with high-quality steel, which would hold up to the rigors of life on the seafloor. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. The wreck was left mostly undamaged, but now sits at a different angle. Take A Tour Now serving as an artificial reef, the top of the ship reaches roughly 25ft and hits the sand at 65ft. “She was a ship that served divers all of her life,” Easterbrook told CNN. After being sunk in 2011, Kittiwake's quickly became a popular site for scuba divers off all skill levels. This is one of the easiest, clearest wreck dives you will ever see. 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. its panels removed after being damaged by a storm, 10 Wrecks To Add To Your Scuba Diving Bucket List, Diving Monterey Bay’s Squid Mating and Death Frenzy, Where to Get Reliable COVID Travel Info, According to a Travel Expert. When the Cayman Islands decided to add a shipwreck to its world-class scuba diving they reached out to the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) for a vessel. Dive into the history of Grand Cayman's Kittiwake, and learn how this WWII ship became a world-renowned scuba diving destination. 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. Divers can discover the crew’s quarters, the recompression chamber, ammunition lockers and even the heads (bathrooms) – complete with mirrors. These substances were commonly used in ships built during World War II so the process of removing all of the paint and wires from the five-deck Kittiwake was a lengthy one. She is easily accessible and sits upright in 62 … 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 After 49 years of service, Kittiwake was decommissioned in 1994 and mothballed to Norfolk, Virgina. Another challenge was selecting the wreck’s final resting place. Later that same year Tropical Storm Nate snapped Kittiwake's anchor chains and pushed the wreck onto its port side. Depth: The wreck sits at 60 feet, and the highest point sits only 15 feet under the surface. Scuba divers often encounter large marine life such as sea turtles, grouper, stingrays and barracuda while visiting the Kittiwake. First, the Kittiwake is Grand Cayman's biggest ship wreck at 251' long. The CITA got the title for the Kittiwake in August, 2009. This Oil Rig is in a Sanctuary. The average depth is 20-30 ft/6-9 m. Pay attention to the boat traffic in the area. Unique animal encounters, practical tips and Florida diving dominated Scuba Diving magazine’s most popular stories of 2020. One of Kittiwake’s best-known stories came after the space shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef: Kittiwake Wreck Dive - See 970 traveler reviews, 314 candid photos, and great deals for West Bay, Grand Cayman, at Tripadvisor. For only US $565 a guest can enjoy 5 days of 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. New Zealand is home to diverse dive sites, spectacular coastlines and pristine marine reserves. The Kittiwake is an impressive wreck dive located just off the ‘Public Beach West Bay Dock’ at the north end of Seven Mile Beach. To continue this preservation effort, a Marine Park fee is charged and included in your diver operators’ fee to you. Copyright © 2021 Scuba Diving. 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. Many of its doors, hatches, bulkheads and even some floors were removed in preparation for the sinking. . Open-water divers are limited to the first three decks, but those with advanced certifications — such as a rescue diver or wreck-diver — can fully explore all five decks. Gain the skills to get you and your buddies safely through an emergency. The iconic wheel house had its panels removed after being damaged by a storm in early 2017. 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. The Kittiwake also set a world record for the deepest submarine-rescue exercise, taking an officer and four others to a depth of 705 feet on September 13, 1959. To save money MARAD has devised an alternative method to remove ships from its ever-growing collection. USS Kittiwake The USS Kittiwake is a great scuba diving site that has now been on the reef for over eight years. 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