Snorkeling at the USS Kittiwake feels like you are going back in time, this 77meter long, 1800 ton vessel has an interesting history. Previously used as a US military ship supporting the damaged submarines. She was decommissioned in 1994 after many missions across the Atlantic and other oceans, 4 years after being decommissioned she was later acquired by the Cayman Island government, to use as a tourist attraction for the dive industry.
Snorkeling the USS Kittiwakeis an unforgettable experience; it took carefully preparations before she was finally scuttled in 2011. These preparations included several holes and entry points were cut into the shipís hull in order to allow easy access for divers.
USS Kittiwake Snorkeling is fantastic for history fanatics and marine fanatics alike. It has been well thought out as the upper deck is only 5meters below the surface so all abilities of snorkleres can enjoy this particular snorkel spot.
1 Snorkeling Cruise in USS Kittiwake
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Marine Life in USS Kittiwake
One of the main attractions of snorkeling at USS Kittiwake is its variety of marine life. Schools of Jacks, Tarpons, Grunts, Numerous rays such as Eagle rays, Sting Rays, Turtles, including Green Sea Turtle and shark species such as Caribbean reef sharks, all of which are attracted to the hull which has been colonised by a colourful exciting array of sponges, Corals, Tunicates, Nudibranchs, Zooanthids, Christmas tree worms and many more gorgonian species.
Seasonally there is the opportunity if you are extremely lucky to potentially glimpse a whale shark in the deeper waters surrounding the wreck. Alongside which schools of silversides often congregate around the wreck, these fish look particularly stunning when lit up by the ambient rays of sunlight which penetrate from the surface. All in all the USS Kittiwake provides a underwater snorkelers paradise which is waiting to be explored. Make sure that you bring a camera in order to capture this fabulous underwater world.
Best Snorkel Sites in USS Kittiwake
Snorkeling at the USS Kittiwake is amazing as she sits in waters 20meters deep surrounded by a sandy floor, in soft white sand. The upper deck of this snorkel spot lies at 5meters which means that the wreck is easily accessible for those who are snorkeling to both view from above and the more confident snorkelers can free dive down to get a closer interaction with the wreck and its marine inhabitants.
The snorkel site USS Kittiwake is one of the main sites in the Cayman islands which you can explore as you wish. However, it is only accessible by boat so advanced bookings are advised in order to avoid disappointment
Best Time to Snorkel at USS Kittiwake
The Cayman Island Tourist Association suggest that the best time to snorkel the USS Kittiwake is the summer months November to March. However, due to its location conditions are generally pleasant throughout the year. The one factor to consider is low season and high season. As occurs in most of the popular dive and snorkel spots in the Cayman Islands the months of November to March can be busy. To avoid crowds a visit during the low season is advised this might mean a 1 or 2 degree drop in water temperature, which remains at a lovely 24-25 degrees. You may have to wear a short wetsuit, yet there will be fewer people in the water.
How Do I Get to USS Kittiwake
There are several airlines which fly to the Cayman Islands from the US & United Kingdom to Owen Roberts international airport, which is located in George Town International airport on Grand Cayman. Other areas of the world run flights. However, connections and changes may be required. The best way to experience snorkeling at the USS Kittiwake is from a Grand Cayman liveaboard.