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USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Dive | Photos | Reviews | Recommended Operators 5 Star Rating


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USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Dive | Photos | Reviews | Recommended Operators
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Joe StebbinsReply with quote
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Dive | Photos | Reviews | Recommended Operators
 
USS Kittiwake Ship Wreck Dive and Snorkel Marine Park
Activity Guide Recommended Kittiwake Dive and Snorkel Companies - All Licensed for Kittiwake Marine Park


Location:Northwest Point, Grand Cayman
Map: West Bay, Grand Cayman

Recommended Kittiwake Dive Operators Overview

Cayman Turtle Divers
Departure: West Bay
Boats: 1
Capacity: Six divers Max
Average Guests: 4
Average Staff: 2
Service Guest Ratio: 2:1
Transfer: Free from Seven Mile Beach and Cruise Terminal
Notes: Long dive profiles, free dive light for Kittiwake, dive computer profiles.
Guided or non guided tours
Kittiwake one tank dive afternoon trips and two tank wall dive & Kittiwake combo packages.
Other amenities: Freshwater showers, towels, setup benches, large swim platform for easy in & out, camera rinse tank, fresh drinking water
FREE UNLIMITED shore diving at Turtle Reef at Cayman's famous Northwest Point with multi day boat dive packages


Eden Rock*
Departure: George Town
Boat: 42' Pro Dive
Capacity: 30
Average Guests: 12
Average Staff: 3
Service Guest Ratio: 4:1
Transfer: None. 100 yards from cruise terminal


Living the Dream Divers
Departure: West Bay Dock
Boat: Custom made, Newton 34ft dive vessel, inboard diesel engine with dive platform custom designed for easy entry and exit. Large and comfortable with all the amenities divers need and look for including extras
Capacity: Boat built for 18 divers, they take a max of 8 to allow incredible personal service, unhurried guided dives, extended bottom times
Average Guests: 8 Maximum
Average Staff: 2
Service Guest Ratio: 4:1
Transfer: Free from Seven Mile Beach and Cruise Terminal
Other amenities: Camera rinse tank and dedicated table, defog, fish ID books, great stereo, fresh water shower, gear storage, extra gear to save any dive, candies, ice chest and fresh water,towels and all safety equipment.
Includes: Transfers, complimentary dive computer use on all dives to increase safety and maximize bottom time, fresh towels, snacks, fruit, refreshments, valet service with full gear handling, guided dives, full briefings and safety procedures and absolutely no crowds.
Prices:
Kittiwake one tank $75
2 tank (wall and Kittiwake combo) $105
Prices include complimentary Kittiwake diver medallion
Transfers: Complimentary from cruise terminal and all hotels and condos along Seven Mile Beach
Discount: 10% when booked through Activity Guide

NOTE: Updates in progress. Visit our tours page to make your Kittiwake reservations:
http://www.caymanactivityguide.com/tours


Get rates and discount from all operators with a single click





USS Kittiwake News Updates







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divnpaulReply with quote
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject:
 
Indeed it would be cool to watch it being sunk and then even cooler to dive.

I have found several websites that talk of plans to sink this ship on the northern end of SMB in June of 2009. Whether or not this comes to fruition is another thing. As we know, sinking a ship as an artificial reef is a complex, expensive and time-consuming process that is fraught with difficulty. (The sinking of the Speigel Grove off Key Largo, FL, comes to mind...)

In 2003, the CI government announced plans to create "Shipwreck City" by sinking 5 ships around GC and Little Cayman. As far as I know, not one has been sunk yet. Maybe this will put into perspective the timetable that the USS Kittiwake is subject to. Island time, perhaps?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject:
 
"Soon Come"? Or not.

I've looked up articles too. There doesn't seem to be many updated ones after initial plans, so I wonder if it's been postponed or scrapped.

Divnpaul is right it'd be a cool dive. I hope they can get it done.

DS


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:27 am    Post subject: the only thing
 
I can find is middle of June. Dang wish it was this week as I will be in CAYMAN THIS WEEK WOO HOOOOOOOO

caydj


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:50 am    Post subject: Re: the only thing
 
caymancic wrote:
I can find is middle of June. Dang wish it was this week as I will be in CAYMAN THIS WEEK WOO HOOOOOOOO

caydj


Hey, while you're there, you could do some in-depth research and let us know how this project is going!

In any event, we're not at all jealous, and we wish you a great trip. Don't forget to take pictures and notes for a trip report.

DS


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject: sinking of ship
 
Did anyone hear anything more on the proposed sinking of the navy ship Kittwake off of seven mile beach? palm




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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:59 am    Post subject:
 
The Ministry of Tourism has signed an agreement with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association for the acquisition of the long awaited retired US naval ship, the USS Kittiwake.

The ship is to be sunk around the middle of next year on a big sand patch in the northern end of Seven Mile Beach and serve as a new dive attraction for the Cayman Islands.

The agreement formalises the government’s plan to acquire the USS Kittiwake, a de–commissioned naval ship, to create an exciting attraction and artificial reef. The Kittiwake project is being spearheaded by the CITA.

“It will be the biggest thing that’s happened in the dive industry in the last 10 years,” said President of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Steve Broadbelt, who is also chairman of the Watersports Committee. He was speaking at the Annual Tourism Conference at the Westin Casuarina Resort last week.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:48 am    Post subject:
 
Thank you so very much and have a great vacation. I hope that by some luck they sink the ship on my next trip. It will be sometime in May.




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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject:
 
FANTASTIC ---EXCELLENT --- EXCITING!

I've heard talk of sinking Kittiwake in the Cayman Islands for quite a few years now and it will probably be the best dive in Grand Cayman!

I doubt it will be ready in 9 months though --- If I had to guess I’d say some time around early to mid 2011, hopefully I’m wrong. It’s going to take a lot of time for all the negotiations, delivery, material & resources and everything else involved in getting a ship that size to the Cayman Islands, making it diver friendly, all the environmental considerations, sinking it in just the right spot, weather and unforeseen complications, “island time” delays, and who knows what else. They also have to rid the ship of all oil, gas, lead paint, hazardous waste/material and lots of other things to make it diver and environmentally safe. It’s just a massive project, but they do have the experience with the Keith Tibbetts on Cayman Brac, that turned into a great dive site.
Divegirl

I don’t know where the “big sand patch in the northern end of Seven Mile Beach” is but the exact spot where they sink that ship will involve extensive research and planning.

I found the Kittiwake’s specifications.

USS Kittiwake ASR13

Awarded: May 11, 1944
Keel laid: January 5, 1945
Launched: July 10, 1945
Commissioned: July 18, 1946
Decommissioned: September 30, 1994
Builder: Savannah Machinery and Foundry Co., Savannah, GA
Propulsion system: Diesel electric, one shaft, 3,000 SHP
Propellers: one
Length: 251.6 feet (76.7 meters)
Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
Draft: 14.8 feet (4.5 meters)
Displacement: approx. 2,200 tons
Speed: 15 knots
Armament: two Mk-68 20mm guns
Crew: approx. 100


I’m guessing the ship’s height will be 100 feet or more after they remove the masts, smokestacks and everything else when the ship settles into the sand. They must have already done quite a bit of research in choosing the “big sand patch” --- their options of precisely where to put a ship that size are somewhat limited. The water has to be deep enough to cover the ship, plus another 20 feet or so --- any higher and it becomes a navigational hazard. They can’t put it out too deep or a hurricane or northwester could push it over the wall into the deep blue abyss --- bye-bye Kittiwake. When I go wreck diving I like to get to the bottom of the boat, or the side depending on how it’s situated. UpsideDown If they are able to sink it top side up it should be shallow enough for at least a 15-20 minute dive without any decompression stops --- what an exciting dive that will be! A ship that huge with all the incredible sea life and fantastic visibility of the Cayman Islands will be truly outstanding!

It will be years before it really starts looking like an "artificial reef" --- decades for some species of coral, then attracting all the fish and eels and everything else that makes it a cozy natural looking habitat for all the sea life and divers to enjoy. fish3 bfish

Adding a new dive site in the west side will also take some of the traffic away from the other sites in that area, giving them a chance to recover a little from all the damage caused by divers over the years.

If everything works out like they are planning, the Kittiwake could be one of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean. I really hope it is ready by my Cayman 2010 trip. Razz


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:53 pm    Post subject:
 
lesclaypool,

Thanks for the details on the Kittiwake's history. It is always fascinating to see where these ships come from when they are proposed as man-made reefs.

I'm looking forward to diving it when it goes down.

JB


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject:
 
hey les ..great username . Any relation or just a fan?




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject:
 
Finally a smart move. This will help the dive industry but it needs to have plenty of play on the news services around the globe to really have the right impact.




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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject: USS Kittiwake on way to Grand Cayman
 
I read in today's Net News that the USS Kittiwake is being prepped at this time for a sinking on the North end of SMB this July/August in about 65 feet of water. Good news for divers.




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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject:
 
That'll be a great addition to the diving. The SMB area is well-dived, and perhaps a new wreck will give new life to the industry.
DS


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject:
 
Here's the latest release on the U.S.S. Kittiwake
Courtesy of Caymanian Compass:

Ex-U.S.S. Kittiwake to Sink off Seven Mile Beach This Summer
March 19, 2010






Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (March 9, 2010) – The Cayman Islands is now the proud owner of the ex-U.S.S. Kittiwake, soon to be Grand Cayman’s newest dive attraction. The Kittiwake left the James River Reserve Fleet in St. Eustis, Virginia on February 18, 2010 and will be towed to Grand Cayman after being cleaned. The 251-foot military vessel will be sunk on the north end of Grand Cayman’s world famous Seven Mile Beach, providing underwater enthusiasts of all skill levels with a new year-round diving destination that is both easy to access and a thrill to explore.

The Ministry and Department of Tourism in partnership with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) embarked on the project some seven years ago and are all eager to witness the sinking of the Kittiwake slated for July/August of this year.

“Dive has always been a cornerstone of the tourism industry here in Cayman, so when CITA came to us many years ago with the idea for a new dive attraction to stimulate tourism, we were happy to support the project financially,” said the Premier of the Cayman Islands, Hon. McKeeva Bush, also Minister for Finance, Tourism & Development. “As we took over this time we were determined to see this worthy project through to completion. This is a perfect example of the Cayman Islands Government and private sector working together for the mutual benefit of tourism.”

CITA agrees. "Without the initial conceptual and financial support of the Ministry of Tourism – led by the Premier, the Honourable McKeeva Bush, then Minister of Tourism – the Kittiwake would never have happened,” said Nancy Easterbrook, Kittiwake Project Manager. “The Ministry of Tourism realized the importance of this initiative when it was first proposed in 2002 and assisted us in kick starting its development. CITA came on board and matched those funds and both parties have committed to keeping the project moving forward the past seven years.”

The 5-deck, 2200-ton Kittiwake was originally commissioned as a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy during World War II. Now it will join the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts, a Russian Frigate sunk off the coast of Cayman Brac in 1996, at the forefront of the artificial reef movement in the Caribbean.

The Kittiwake will be an interesting attraction, with lots of rooms such as the recompression chamber, air bank storage, engine room and dive locker for divers and snorkelers to explore. Being sunk in only 65 feet of water, the top of the bridge and smoke stack will be 20 feet from the surface -- perfect for snorkelers,” commented Easterbrook.

Steve Broadbelt, President of CITA, noted: “The Kittiwake will stimulate tourism and bring much needed visitors and repeat guests to our islands. Diving shipwrecks is one of the most popular reasons for going diving or snorkeling. Cayman has always been a leader in the diving industry and this project will position us a hot spot for many years to come. Being both a dive and snorkel attraction, it will be opened as a new tour for both stay-over and cruise visitors later on this year. It’s the single biggest project for the water sports industry since Stingray City."

The Kittiwake was selected for the reefing project due to her size and height being suitable for Cayman waters, as well as her overall weight, being a very heavy, solid steel ship with 18 bulkheads. This type of ship will have the longest life underwater and will be less susceptible to break-up and damage due to storms.

“It is exciting to see this project move to the next phase with the Cayman Islands now owning the Kittiwake,” said Shomari Scott, Acting Director of Tourism. “The DOT anticipates that the Kittiwake will create a lot of buzz and visitor arrivals as it’s new, exciting and highlights Cayman’s significant dive and water-based tourist market.”

Prior to sinking, the Kittiwake will be thoroughly prepared for guests. All hazardous materials and chemicals will be removed to ensure that they won’t leach into Cayman waters. Multiple vertical and horizontal cutouts will open up the ship to allow natural light to flood the body and enable divers to explore the entire ship.

Once sunk, the ship will be marked with corresponding slates for boat operators and divers/snorkelers to be able to easily identify where they are on the ship. CITA watersports operators have always been committed to safety and multiple steps are being taken to ensure that a safe and enjoyable tour of the ship will be available.


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