During its 49 years of service the ship was deployed throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian oceans. 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 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. Barracuda, schools of horse-eye jacks, turtles and grouper also hang around the site. 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. 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. With proper scuba diving training , you can explore all five decks of the Kittiwake. The Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard undertook a massive search for the space shuttle’s black box. Unique animal encounters, practical tips and Florida diving dominated Scuba Diving magazine’s most popular stories of 2020. 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. Tips from seasoned traveler Terry Ward about finding reliable COVID travel information and planning a post-shut down trip to Hawaii. This professional cave diver treks through the remote Canadian Territory of Nunavut to scuba dive with the greatest predator in the Arctic. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. In the end, they decided to sink Kittiwake only 800 yards off Seven Mile Beach. 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. The 2020 edition of the Explore Cayman magazine is a 172 page full colour magazine. 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 is possibly the 'cleanest' wreck even to be sunk as an artificial reef. Visibility: Viz upwards of 100 feet is normal in Cayman. This U.S. law mandates that any ship donated for the purpose of becoming an artificial reef must be clean of hazardous materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos and lead-based paint. 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. At 251ft, Kittiwake is the largest wreck dive in the Caymans. Mandatory Requirements - Dive Masters, Snorkel Guides & Vessels A map of the Kittiwake ship wreck … A Kittiwake wreck dive is perfect for divers of all skill levels to enjoy. 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 Divers exploring the Kittiwake will find a lot to love. “She was a ship that served divers all of her life,” Easterbrook told CNN. It's pretty amazing. According to a source in NASA By submitting above, you agree to Scuba Diving's privacy policy. Temperature: Temps range from high 70Fs in winter to low- to mid-80Fs in the summer. Given its proximity to the surface, the Kittiwake makes a great snorkel site too. This is the latest addition to Grand Cayman’s arsenal of excellent wreck dive sites. 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. In some instances, the ship would act as a running target or recover practice torpedoes and mines. 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. Macro life such as peppermint shrimp, arrowhead crabs, fire worms and banded coral shrimp can be found all over the wreck. Scuba divers often encounter large marine life such as sea turtles, grouper, stingrays and barracuda while visiting the Kittiwake. In addition to being made environmentally friendly, Kittiwake was also made more dive-friendly. 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. Kittiwake's location is shallow and close to shore, making it very accessible for scuba diving, snorkeling and freediving. Being this But it was a fun dive and a max depth of about 65 ft. so very Stakeholders also considered what location would be best for dive operators. 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. Divers witness a life and death melee in the waters of Monterey during the annual squid mating aggregation. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture some unusual shots! Clyde M. Prickett set a new open-water deep-diving record for the Navy while serving aboard Kittiwake. On April 21, 1949, in Panama Bay he descended to a record-breaking depth of 501 feet. 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. A nice opportunity to shoot on a Nikon instead of my usual Go Pro! All Staff supervising Free Divers must be capable of free diving to the maximum depth of the dive plan. You will receive a wristband (snorkellers) or medallion (divers) as a keepsake souvenir, which must be worn while exploring the Kittiwake. MARAD is responsible for keeping decommissioned government ships afloat until they can be properly disposed of — ships like Kittiwake. This Oil Rig is in a Sanctuary. 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. 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. Sitting in just 60ft of water, the Kittiwake shipwreck is one of Cayman’s most impressive dive sites. 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, … This was the easy part, as there would be a number of hurdles and delays on the path toward sinking the ship. Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef: Kittiwake Wreck Dive - See 970 traveler reviews, 314 candid photos, and great deals for West Bay, Grand Cayman, at Tripadvisor. U.S.S. The CITA got the title for the Kittiwake in August, 2009. The average depth is 20-30 ft/6-9 m. Pay attention to the boat traffic in the area. Depth: The wreck sits at 60 feet, and the highest point sits only 15 feet under the surface. 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…. 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 wreck was left mostly undamaged, but now sits at a different angle. The Kittiwake has a max depth of 65 ft deep with the top of the wreck in around 15ft. 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 USS Kittiwake is one of the best-known wreck dives in the Caribbean, if not the world. Scuba Diving may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. Earlier that year, Grand Cayman welcomed the soon-to-be world-famous dive site, the ex-USS Kittiwake. 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. It's great for people who aren't too comfortable with penetration diving (me) because the openings are really large. Gain the skills to get you and your buddies safely through an emergency. The Kittiwake now sits in 75’ of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 27’ below the surface. The magnificent ship is 251ft long, 47ft tall and has five decks to explore. Of course, its rescues weren’t limited to submarines. This fully penetrable wreck was sunk by divers for divers and is accessible to all levels of certified diver. scubadiving.com is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. Copyright © 2021 Acorn Publishing Company. By the time the ship was ready and the location chosen, hurricane season had begun. Scuba divers can still pose at the captain’s wheel, although they may feel more like they are driving the world’s largest convertible. 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. Wreck of The Gamma 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. A dive aficionado rediscovers a love of California diving when COVID restrictions beach him without warning. All rights reserved. Let’s dive deeper into the history of this iconic shipwreck. The iconic wheel house had its panels removed after being damaged by a storm in early 2017. I did two fantastic dives on the Kittiwake wreck, Grand Cayman during the annual Focus... Toggle navigation What is a PADI Rescue Diver Certification. “We observed their final haggard moments. This is probably the only time you'll want to visit a recompression chamber during a scuba diving vacation. A PADI Worldwide Company. This expensive and time-consuming process requires cleaning the ships of any and all environmental contaminants. As part of the agreement with MARAD, the ship needed to be cleaned of any potential environmental hazards prior to sinking. 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? To save money MARAD has devised an alternative method to remove ships from its ever-growing collection. 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. The 251-foot, 2,200-ton ship was launched on July 10, 1945, and was decommissioned September 30, 1994. For only US $565 a guest can enjoy 5 days of Even with all the legal, environmental and logistic considerations behind it, Kittiwake still faced delays on its way to the seafloor. Sign up for Scuba Diving’s weekly email and never miss another story. Divers can visit the USS Kittiwake all year round, but may want to avoid the hurricane season (June through October). 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. The deco chambers on the boat are worth the dive alone. Later that same year Tropical Storm Nate snapped Kittiwake's anchor chains and pushed the wreck onto its port side. 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 Explore Cayman app is the #1 app for the Cayman Islands and can be downloaded for free. 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). Their luck finally turned and the Kittiwake departed on its final voyage December 17, 2010, and arrived in Georgetown Harbor on Christmas Day. The following is an overview of the dive along with some history and information regarding the ship. Copyright © 2021 Scuba Diving. With easy access along the length of the wreck, it’s possible to head It didn’t take her long. Wreck Dive - A Complete Tour of the USS Kittiwake Wreck in the Grand Cayman's - Duration: 29:00. 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. . 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. She is easily accessible and sits upright in 62 … 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 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, … “So it seemed the appropriate ship.”. Kittiwake was impacted by Tropical Storm Nate in October 2017. Kittiwake accompanied submarines during sea trials and maneuvers where its crew would monitor dive operations and practice underwater-rescue procedures. After being sunk in 2011, Kittiwake's quickly became a popular site for scuba divers off all skill levels. 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. Recycling an oil rig should be easy. One of Kittiwake’s best-known stories came after the space shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. The Kittiwake currently rests is Grand Cayman. As there is a significant amount of boat and jet ski traffic around the Kittiwake site, swiming from shore is prohibited. Our most-read stories show you didn’t let the pandemic keep you from growing as a diver. 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. All Rights Reserved. Need To Know: Kittiwake is considered a private park and requires an admission fee to visit, which must be with a licensed operator. It is against the law to touch or remove anything within the Marine Park; no gloves can be worn and fishing is prohibited. To visit the Kittiwake your must use a CITA licensed dive/snorkel operator. Once used as an old submarine rescue First, the Kittiwake is Grand Cayman's biggest ship wreck at 251' long. Experienced snorkellers can even try free diving down to take the wheel in the wheel house. It was too risky to tow the ship from Virginia, so the team had to wait for clearer weather. 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. 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. 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. Kittiwake Dive Site in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Take A Tour Now serving as an artificial reef, the top of the ship reaches roughly 25ft and hits the sand at 65ft. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 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. 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