Cayman welcomed a new and rather interesting dive site in January 2011. This was a long anticipated dive site arrival as many people had spent years organising the arrival of ex-USS Kittiwake to Cayman's shores. With almost 50 years of active service, the Kittiwake had once been a submarine rescue vessel, the primary mission of the Kittiwake was to rescue sailors from downed submarines. She was very much a diving vessel.
The Kittiwake was deliberately sunk on Janury 5th 2011, surrounded by interested divers, local fishermen and the news crew all of whom watched her controlled sinking. Kittiwake sinking can be viewed HERE
The Kittiwake is perfect for both diving and snorkelling. Divers can explore the five decks on the 47 foot tall Kittiwake, which sits in a sandy bottom with reef several yards away. Snorkelers can swim overhead and see the main decks and topography of the ship plus take a look down the smoke stack that opens up straight down to the bottom of the hull and the engine rooms. The Caribbean clear waters allow viewing the enormity of the Kittiwake possible and she has since become a favourite photo subject.
Over the years this artificial reef will play host and prosper a growing variety of marine life. After merely a year underwaer a variety of fish can be found in and around the Kittiwake, as well as the beginnings of hard coral colonies attached to the ship.
The Kittiwake is a marine park, divers and snorkellers are required to follow all marine park guidelines, including visiting the park with a CITA Kittiwake licensed operator or licensing private vessels and purchasing daily passes for all guests at the CITA Visitor's Centre.
For more specific information on the history of the Kittiwake, the dive site or what the park fees are visit www.kittiwakecayman.com.