The magnificent ship is 251ft long, 47ft tall and has five decks to explore. Scuba divers can still pose at the captain’s wheel, although they may feel more like they are driving the world’s largest convertible. The Most Popular Scuba Diving Stories of 2020, The Perfect Central California Dives to End a COVID Dry Spell. Macro life such as peppermint shrimp, arrowhead crabs, fire worms and banded coral shrimp can be found all over the wreck. By submitting above, you agree to Scuba Diving's privacy policy. 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. A Kittiwake wreck dive is perfect for divers of all skill levels to enjoy. For only US $565 a guest can enjoy 5 days of I just dove there around Christmas. In some instances, the ship would act as a running target or recover practice torpedoes and mines. 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. The 2020 edition of the Explore Cayman magazine is a 172 page full colour magazine. We generally dive the Kittiwake as the second dive of our two tank trip. The Kittiwake is an impressive wreck dive located just off the ‘Public Beach West Bay Dock’ at the north end of Seven Mile Beach. 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. It would wait quietly for eight years, before being called to another kind of service. 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. This is the latest addition to Grand Cayman’s arsenal of excellent wreck dive sites. She is easily accessible and sits upright in 62 … According to a source in NASA The Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard undertook a massive search for the space shuttle’s black box. Clyde M. Prickett set a new open-water deep-diving record for the Navy while serving aboard Kittiwake. To visit the Kittiwake your must use a CITA licensed dive/snorkel operator. Cayman Turtle Divers offers dives to the USS Kittiwake seven days a week. With proper scuba diving training , you can explore all five decks of the Kittiwake. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture some unusual shots! In addition to being made environmentally friendly, Kittiwake was also made more dive-friendly. 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. To save money MARAD has devised an alternative method to remove ships from its ever-growing collection. Sign up for Scuba Diving’s weekly email and never miss another story. 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…. 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. This expensive and time-consuming process requires cleaning the ships of any and all environmental contaminants. Map location, dive site tags, reviews, pictures, & weather. Take A Tour Now serving as an artificial reef, the top of the ship reaches roughly 25ft and hits the sand at 65ft. The ship is ideal for first time wreck explorers: Purpose sunk off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach in 2011, the 76.5m long Kittiwake was stripped clean of hazards before sinking. Is it Better Removed or Made into a Reef? Stay close to the marker buoys while snorkeling, if you plan to dive to get close to the wreck, carry a high visibility swim buoy. Divers witness a life and death melee in the waters of Monterey during the annual squid mating aggregation. Kittiwake accompanied submarines during sea trials and maneuvers where its crew would monitor dive operations and practice underwater-rescue procedures. There would be minimal impact on the white sandy bottom, and the proximity to shore and shallow depth would allow easier access to visitors. The KITTIWAKE is possibly the 'cleanest' wreck even to be sunk as an artificial reef. It’s also a beautiful ship, with a classic profile. 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 vessel sits in shallow water, allowing plenty of bottom time to take in the sights — highlights include the mess hall, the massive propellers and towering smoke stack, two recompression chambers and the head complete with an intact mirror. Plus: What divers should expect next time they plan a trip to Hawaii. Another challenge was selecting the wreck’s final resting place. 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 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. There are several operators who can organise trips to dive or snorkel the Kittiwake. Copyright © 2021 Scuba Diving. 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. This shallow depth makes Kittiwake popular with snorkelers and freedivers as well as scuba divers. The Explore Cayman app is the #1 app for the Cayman Islands and can be downloaded for free. A PADI Worldwide Company. You will receive a wristband (snorkellers) or medallion (divers) as a keepsake souvenir, which must be worn while exploring the Kittiwake. All rights reserved. Being this 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. MARAD is responsible for keeping decommissioned government ships afloat until they can be properly disposed of — ships like Kittiwake. Later that same year Tropical Storm Nate snapped Kittiwake's anchor chains and pushed the wreck onto its port side. Large holes were cut in its hull to create simple swim-throughs. 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 The Kittiwake attracts an abundance of marine life, including schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays, the resident barracuda, groupers and much more! I did two fantastic dives on the Kittiwake wreck, Grand Cayman during the annual Focus... Toggle navigation Of course, its rescues weren’t limited to submarines. Kittiwake Dive Site in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Temperature: Temps range from high 70Fs in winter to low- to mid-80Fs in the summer. The Kittiwake has a max depth of 65 ft deep with the top of the wreck in around 15ft. A nice opportunity to shoot on a Nikon instead of my usual Go Pro! Depth: Less than 20m, multi-level wreck Another one of the well-known wrecks, the USS Kittiwake has exceptional water visibility, making it a perfect place for new wreck divers. Recycling an oil rig should be easy. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. scubadiving.com is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. “So it seemed the appropriate ship.”. Once used as an old submarine rescue 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. It's great for people who aren't too comfortable with penetration diving (me) because the openings are really large. As part of the agreement with MARAD, the ship needed to be cleaned of any potential environmental hazards prior to sinking. And that Australia's pink manta ray is awesome. 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. On April 21, 1949, in Panama Bay he descended to a record-breaking depth of 501 feet. Keel is at 60 feet, viability is typical Cayman 50-100 feet. After being sunk in 2011, Kittiwake's quickly became a popular site for scuba divers off all skill levels. The Kittiwake is one of Grand Cayman's great new wrecks, having been sunk 6 years ago in shallow Cayman waters and in 2017 rolled deeper and onto its side during storm Nate. Dive into the history of Grand Cayman's Kittiwake, and learn how this WWII ship became a world-renowned scuba diving destination. 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. The CITA got the title for the Kittiwake in August, 2009. All Staff supervising Free Divers must be capable of free diving to the maximum depth of the dive plan. Underwater Wreck of the USS Kittiwake USS Kittiwake Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Depth: 5 – 19m Sunk as an artificial reef in 2011, the USS Kittiwake is a perennial favorite amongst warm water divers in the The average depth is 20-30 ft/6-9 m. Pay attention to the boat traffic in the area. On April 21, 1949, in Panama Bay he descended to a record-breaking depth of 501 feet. 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 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. The Kittiwake now sits in 75’ of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 27’ below the surface. The Kittiwake wreck now lays on her side. Wreck of The Gamma “She was a ship that served divers all of her life,” Easterbrook told CNN. We were extremely lucky this hurricane season as none of the named storms hit our beautiful island. The USS Kittiwake is one of the best-known wreck dives in the Caribbean, if not the world. Our most-read stories show you didn’t let the pandemic keep you from growing as a diver. 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. This Oil Rig is in a Sanctuary. Tips from seasoned traveler Terry Ward about finding reliable COVID travel information and planning a post-shut down trip to Hawaii. Furthermore, I will review what you can expect to find on the wreck. This is one of the easiest, clearest wreck dives you will ever see. The Kittiwake currently rests is Grand Cayman. The iconic wheel house had its panels removed after being damaged by a storm in early 2017. Unique animal encounters, practical tips and Florida diving dominated Scuba Diving magazine’s most popular stories of 2020. 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 is a Marine Park owned by CITA (Cayman Islands Tourist Association). It didn’t take her long. 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. The USS Kittiwake, a 1945-vintage submarine rescue ship, rests on a sandy bottom off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. It’s relatively shallow depth of 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. 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. 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, … This fully penetrable wreck was sunk by divers for divers and is accessible to all levels of certified diver. First, the Kittiwake is Grand Cayman's biggest ship wreck at 251' long. Here’s why it’s not. Even with all the legal, environmental and logistic considerations behind it, Kittiwake still faced delays on its way to the seafloor. Many of the Kittiwake’s exploits are still classified, but there are some tales that have come to light about ASR-13 — such as these record-record breaking exploits listed by the crew in All Hands, the magazine of the United States Navy. 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. While stationed off Key West, Florida, in 1963, Kittiwake picked up 12 Cuban refugees from the Jose Maria Perez, three of them children, and carried them safely to Key West. Experienced snorkellers can even try free diving down to take the wheel in the wheel house. In September 2017, Hurricane Nate passed the island by over 350 miles. 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