In 1994, after nearly 50 years of US Navy service as a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel, the USS Kittiwake was decommission and has now found it’s resting place in 60 ft of crystal clear water a half mile off Grand Cayman’s west side. In January 2011 the ship was sunk as an artificial reef after an 8 year cooperative between the Cayman Islands Government, Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) and the U.S. Maritime Administration the ex-USS Kittiwake has become one of the most request dive sites on Grand Cayman.
This 251 ft long ship was sunk with divers of all experience levels in mind with lots of spaces to explore including the bridge and pilot house on the upper deck, the mess hall and recompression chambers on the main deck and crews’ quarters, engine rooms and compressors on the lower decks. The swim thru at the prop sits at approximately 60 ft so be sure out to keep a look out for Stingrays and passing spotted Eagle Rays hunting in the sandy bottom.
We typically schedule our trips to the Kittiwake as an afternoon 1-tank dive departing from our dock in George Town, however keep in mind that this site can be added to custom 2 or 3 tank private charters at any time. After a 20 minute boat ride from our HQ in George Town your crew will give you a full briefing which will include the illustrious US Navy service history of the Kittiwake as well as a detailed explanation of your dive profile.
Since the sinking, various species of fish have taken up residence at the Kittiwake site including Barracudas, Groupers and a large school of Horse-eye Jacks. This dive is not only a dream photo shoot for wide-angle photographers but also makes for excellent snorkeling as the top of the structure is in only 15 ft. The Kittiwake is a designated Marine Park and is only accessible by licensed CITA watersports operators such as Divers Down. All divers and snorkelers must display their entrance fee BCD tag (for divers) or wristband (for snorkelers) which is issued to all passengers prior to jumping in. Ask for crew for your medallion as a keepsake of your dive.
We look forward to exploring with you on this impressive ship to unlock some of the secrets of one of Cayman’s premier dive sites soon!