The USS Kittiwake is Grand Cayman’s most impressive wreck and is often regarded as a “must do” for divers and snorkelers visiting the island. The fascinating story of this 251’ vessel continues to evolve. Following 50 years of active service in the US navy as a submarine support vessel, the Kittiwake was sunk near Seven Mile Beach to make an artificial reef and playground for divers. In 2011 the decommissioned ship was successfully situated underwater in an almost perfectly upright position, six years later however, the power of mother nature repositioned the wreck by lying it on its port side.
Whether you have dived the Kittiwake before or want to make your first ever wreck dive, the new angle is guaranteed to deliver an outstanding experience.
Prepare to be blown away! The sight of the Kittiwake resting next to the reef in the white Caribbean sand surrounded by crystal clear blue water is truly phenomenal. The Kittiwake now sits in 75’ of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 27’ below the surface. 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.
In the time that the wreck has been open for exploration it has enjoyed fame around the world as a premiere dive site. Just recently it was in the spotlight again when hurricane Nate passed by leaving a trail of destruction throughout the Caribbean. Although Nate was a good distance away from the Cayman Islands, the storm surge was so powerful it managed to shift the retired naval vessel to where it currently lies. The Kittiwake can now be found on its side at the top of the world famous underwater wall that surrounds Grand Cayman.
Snorkelers are welcome on the boat for any of our trips subject to there being space. People who are not certified to dive are able to experience the Kittiwake through our PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. You don’t need to be wreck certified to dive the Kittiwake but if you’d like to get that training while you’re here then just let us know.
Divetech offer one and two-tank trips out to the Kittiwake on different days throughout the week. We prefer to visit the ship in the afternoon when the area is not so busy and the sun is directly overhead providing the best natural visibility and conditions for photography.
For rates on Kittiwake dives please refer to our general Boat Diving page.
Since the sinking in 2011, the Kittiwake has become home to a diverse range of marine life. The garden eels that thrive in the sand surrounding the wreck attract southern stingrays as well as eagle rays so be sure to keep a lookout for those. All kinds of cool critters can be found living in the structure from macro life like peppermint shrimp, fire worms, arrow head crabs and banded coral shrimp to larger than life creatures like barracuda, schools of horse eyed jacks, turtles and even a semi resident goliath grouper.
There are all sorts of cool things to find on the wreck including her name across the stern, the propeller & rudder, mirrors that still hang in the bathroom, diving bell, recompression chambers, water cannon, smoke stack, steering wheel, compass and so much more.