The USS Kittiwake has become Grand Cayman's latest dive attraction. After 50 years of service with the US Navy as a navy diver and submarine support vessel, she was decommisioned in 1994 and has since been stripped of all harmful waste to transform it into an artificial reef. Weighing 2200 tonnes and standing 54ft high by 251ft long she has been placed at the north end of West Bay in 60ft of water. Constant monitoring of the wreck will record coral growth and habitation of sealife.
Mooring buoys secured to the ship's structure provide reference points on the wreck, and the wreck itself is easily accessible by boat. Cayman Diveshuttle launches to the wreck from 7 Mile beach & West Bay dock (at the north end of 7 Mile beach).
Access points have been made along the hull to allow scuba divers to explore the 5 decks inside the wreck, as well as navigate around the outside. Due to its size it takes several dives to totally explore the USS Kittiwake. Dives are guided with a maximum 8 divers per guide.
When diving the USS Kittiwake scuba divers will need to be Open Water certified. For wreck penetration dives, divers will need Advanced Open water certification, Wreck Speciality certification or be on a Wreck Speciality course, as wreck penetration dives need certain considerations. Cayman Diveshuttle offers PADI Wreck Adventure dives and Wreck Speciality courses (see www.padi.com for course outlines).
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Snorkeling the USS Kittiwake
The top of the Kittiwake is 8 – 10ft from the surface allowing snorkelers to also enjoy this new attraction. All snorkel trips are guided with a maximum of 12 snorkelers per guide.
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