Scuba diving the USS Kittiwake
Scuba diving the USS Kittiwake
Scuba diving on the USS Kittiwake Wreck is a must when you are diving in the Cayman Islands. The former World War II ship was bought by the Cayman Islands government in 2010 and sunk in Grand Cayman for scuba divers to enjoy. Diving the USS Kittiwake wreck is a spectacular experience as the wreck has managed to remain pretty much intact. The ship is still sitting on its keel and the top of the vessel is only a few meters from the surface. The visibility you will experience while you are on the USS Kittiwake scuba diving is some of the best on the island with up to 30 meters plus at times.
The wreck is fairly new but there is some life to be seen around it. The real attraction of this dive site however are the five levels of the shipwreck including a hospital, mess hall, ammunition storage room and it's own decompression chambers. The ship is huge and it is actually several dive sites in one with both shallow areas and deeper ones meaning it offers something for all levels of diver. The visibility is also so good that even snorkelers can enjoy the site from above!
Marine Life in USS Kittiwake Wreck
The wreck of the Ex-USS Kittiwake is a relatively new dive spot which means that life is still in the process of growing on the ship. There is however a surprising amount of fish life around the top end of the ship, probably due to a complete ban on fishing on the wreck. There are some schools of trevallies around the top deck and some small wrasse feeding on the growth on the hull.
It is also possible to see the occasional hawksbill turtle passing by and rays sometimes sitting in the sand. If you are lucky it is also possible to find a large grouper or lionfish hanging out inside of the hospital and mess hall area. The real attraction here though is the huge pristine wreck site and fantastic visibility.
Best Dive Sites at the USS Kittiwake Wreck
USS Kittiwake wreck is a very large dive site and actually has several dives per day to offer. The USS Kittiwake dive sites are varied and the different dive spots are suitable for different levels of diver. One of the best dive areas the USS Kittiwake has is the upper deck of the ship where divers can look inside of the bridge and the mast where there is the most fish life. This dive spot is perfect for less experienced divers as it is very shallow and the conditions are very good.
There are however five levels to dive on the USS Kittiwake and those who are comfortable going to the deeper dive decks on the wreck will find an excellent dive at around 20 meters. It is also possible to see the propeller at the back and go down to the sand and search for rays. The anchor of the vessel is also down there, a short swim away from the starboard side sitting out on the sand.
Best Time to Dive in USS Kittiwake Wreck
Scuba diving Cayman Islands is possible all year round with warm clear waters through all seasons. The USS Kittiwake Wreck is fairly sheltered on the North/West part of the island of Grand Cayman. It is worth noting however that between June and October is hurricane season and whilst hurricanes don't often affect the island directly, the conditions for scuba diving may be affected by nearby storms.
Experience Level for Diving USS Kittiwake Wreck
Cayman Islands scuba diving usually has something to offer all levels of diver and the USS Kittiwake Wreck is no exception. The deck of the ship is only a few meters deep and so it is accessible to even novice divers. The deeper area of the ship, around 20 meters is the perfect dive spot for more experienced divers with plenty to see on all five levels.
How Do I Get to USS Kittiwake Wreck
Getting to the USS Kittiwake wreck is relatively easy as the wreck is on the Northern end of the largest island, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman has its own international airport which takes flights daily from the USA and London, UK. Once you are on Grand Cayman it is easy to join a Cayman Islands liveaboard that will take you to dive on the USS Kittiwake Wreck as part of the itinerary.