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Former Kittiwake Sailor Returns After 30 Years

Pete Larson, a former sailor on the USS Kittiwake, hovers over the bow of the USS Kittiwake.

The USS Kittiwake is one of the most popular shipwrecks in the Caribbean, with divers from across the globe traveling to Grand Cayman to explore this iconic site.

The Kittiwake started life as a submarine rescue vessel commissioned after World War 2, ill-famed in 1986 for recovering the flight data recorder from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

The fascinating story of this 251 ft vessel continued to evolve this month when former US Navy sailor Pete Larson came to reminisce with the Divetech team. Larson served as an Engineer aboard the Kittiwake for 3 years between 1986-89 and contacted Divetech to organise a SCUBA dive to revisit his former ship.

The Kittiwake has a reputation as a playground for divers, making it a popular attraction for watersport enthusiasts. Divemasters often regale stories of her previous missions prior to decommission in 1994, however up until now no one really knew what life was like serving and living on the Kittiwake.

To commemorate the visit Divetech has produced a video of Pete’s nostalgic dive where he recollects his time onboard.

Pete observed ‘The Kittiwake is not a forgotten wreck, but lives on in a difference capacity. It’s wonderful to see she isn’t just rusting in an old junk yard, but serves a purpose as an artificial reef, creating structure for local marine life and ecosystem.’

View the video here.

Pete Larson on the stern of the USS Kittiwake.

Pete, at the wheelhouse of the USS Kittiwake.
Pete, at the wheelhouse of the USS Kittiwake.


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