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Liveaboard Diving in Keith Tibbetts
What To Expect On a MV Keith Tibbetts (Russian Destroyer 365) Liveaboard
Liveaboards to the MV Keith Tibbetts wreck will take divers to the only diveable soviet wreck in the western hemisphere, Russian Missile Frigate formerly known as Destroyer 365. The impressive 330ft long vessel, since renamed MV Keith Tibbetts in honour of a local politician and dive operator, rests peacefully in crystal clear waters on the white-sandy bottom off Cayman Brac's north shore. Built in 1984 at a cost of 30 million US dollars, the impressive warship served as part of the Soviet Union's Atlantic Fleet which operated out of Cuba during the Cold War. After only 9 years of service and having never seen action, she was ceased from duty and later acquired by the Cayman Islands government to be purposely sunk as a unique diving attraction. The impressive vessel now lies in 20-30 meters of crystal clear water near the iconic North Wall, and has since transformed into a gloriously diverse artificial reef supporting a large concentration of fish, corals and other marine life. The ship's metal framework is encrusted in a dense layer of both hard and soft corals, and even a few sponges and anemones have taken up residence too. Tiny exquisite nudibranchs slowly navigate their way around the ship, while large impressive tarpon and grouper lurk in the shadows.
What You Can See
Choosing a dive liveaboard to the Keith Tibbetts wreck, which was laid to rest over 20 years ago, and where seemingly every inch of the vessel's once gleaming metal framework is now covered in a dense layer of corals, sponges, fans and anemones, will provide divers access to this much loved dive site. The ageing wreck has slowly began to breakaway in places, but this has only created yet more crevices and hiding places for a diversity of life to take up residence. Tarpon and groupers lurk in the shadows, while schools of horse-eyed Jack and the occasional Giant Barracuda hover motionlessly near her deck. Other inhabitants and visitors include some well-known characters such the large Green Moray known as 'Charlie', and even a friendly bottlenose dolphin known as Spot. Choose to explore the perimeter of the wreck for some stunning wide-angle photo opportunities, or penetrate inside to investigate some of her historic layout. Prior to her sinking, the former-warship was fully assessed for diver accessibility, any wires or other hazards were removed and many entry/exit points were incorporated into her sides. Divers can explore the wheelhouse, staterooms and of course the impressive set of twin guns that make for interesting photo subjects. The range of depth here makes for a wonderful multi-level dive, with the top of the ship being reached only a few meters below the surface, making her accessible to snorkelers too. As always when diving a wreck, be sure to keep an eye on where you place your fins and never touch any part of the ship to avoid impacting the fragile marine life.
Getting to MV Keith Tibbetts
The best way to reach the MV Keith Tibbetts is via a Cayman Islands liveaboard dive cruise. The Cayman Islands are famed for their world-class diving, spread out across all three of the islands. To ensure you experience the best of what the Caymans have to offer below the surface, we suggest joining a liveaboard dive cruise that visits all three islands over a multi-day itinerary. Departing from the islands' capital of George Town, you will sail the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and with weather permitting, indulge in unlimited diving of some of the most iconic dive sites in the region.
George Town in Grand Cayman is the main airport city of the Cayman Islands and also the point of departure for liveaboards. There are daily international flights into the Owen Roberts International Airport which is served by several airlines. Taxis are available for transport to and from the airport.