Divers explore Kittiwake shipwreck on Grand Cayman Island

cdngreenwaterdiverPublished: September 14, 2017Updated: September 18, 2017148 views
Published: September 14, 2017Updated: September 18, 2017

While Brent and Elsa were vacationing on Grand Cayman Island, being divers they chose to dive the ship wreck Kittiwake. Below is some information about this incredible ship which now makes a great dive sight and artificial reef.

On January 5th 2011, the Kittiwake (an ex USA Navy Vessel) was brought to the Cayman Islands and sunk to make an artificial reef off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. When in active duty, the Kittiwake was a submarine rescue vessel.

The Kittiwake was in service from 1945 to 1994, serving more than 50 years. After she was retired from duty in 1994 the Caymans Islands Government purchased her to make an artificial reef. In preparation for sinking the Kittiwake was cleaned of all chemicals and oils to insure that no pollutants could harm the nearby coral reefs, and had most of her internal fixtures removed to make the vessel as diver friendly as possible.

The Kittiwake is a large vessel measuring 251 feet long, hosting 5 decks, and weighing 2200 tons. She sits in ~60 feet of water. Open water divers can swim the first three decks, and advanced divers can swim through all five decks. Some highlights of the dive include two recompression champers, which served the divers who got decompression sickness on the Kittiwake, the bathroom which still has mirrors so you can see yourself, and the mess hall which still has tables and chairs.

Most of the Kittiwake’s missions are still classified to this day, however a quick search online gets plenty of hits to some of her adventures. Most notably in 1986 the Kittiwake recovered the Blackbox from the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. The Blackbox was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean.

Today the Kittiwake lays in a marine park serving as an artificial reef. Divers and snorkelers are not allowed to take or touch anything in the marine park. To dive or snorkel the Kittiwake, you must go on a licenced vessel.

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