Anna Marie, or "Tug Wreck" is a 25 foot wood hull tug boat once used by Atlantis Submarines for transport and support of their submarine tours. Lost to a storm in 1987, the ship wreckage now lies upright at a depth of 50 feet on Devil’s Grotto at Eden Rock. The Anna Marie is approximately 100 yards from shore near George Town Harbour and can be accessed from Eden Rock Diving Center. The wreck is inhabited by dozens of species of fish and corals, affording good macro and wide angle photography opportunities.
Wreck of the Balboa is the remains of a 375 foot freighter. The Balboa sunk in 1932 en route from Cuba to the Cayman Islands. Shallow water and hurricane force winds brought down the Balboa and collapsed her hull. Balboa is currently more of the wreckage of a shipwreck than an actual in tact ship but decades of marine life, fish and corals grow prolifically throughout the wreckage and surrounding reefs. The Balboa is situated approximately 150 yards off the west coast of Grand Cayman and is not recommended as a shore dive due to the prevailing boat traffic and long distance from shore. The site is however a wonderful reef and wreck combination resting at 40 to 50 feet, making it a preferred second dive site following a deeper wall dive.
Callie or Cali Shipwreck is the remains of a 220 foot quad mast steel schooner that sank off the coast of George Town in 1944. The Callie ran aground and began taking on water during a winter storm near Grand Cayman. Carrying a cargo of grain, the water absorbed into the grain and expanded through the hull, causing it to take on more water than it was able to pump out. As the grain continued to absorb water the hull continued to expand and leak, eventually leading to its demise. The Cali wreckage now rests at approximately 20 to 30 feet deep, less than 40 yards from shore. Many of the cruise ships that visit Grand Cayman sell a Shipwreck and Reef tour and passengers end up paying for a 5 minute boat ride. As you can see from the picture of the Cali site, it is less than 50 yards away from shore. You could easily swim to that in about 30 seconds – a minute tops, if you are not a strong swimmer. If you don’t have your own gear, you can purchase a decent set of Mask/Fins/Snorkel online for around $75 and they would more than pay for themselves throughout a typical tropical snorkel or dive vacation. The Cali is about a 5 minute walk and a 30 second swim from the cruise ship dock and it’s absolutely FREE. Or you can rent whatever gear you need at Eden Rock, located about 100 yards from the Cali ship wreck site. Callie shipwreck is an excellent beginner dive site due to it’s relatively shallow 20-30 foot depth and can be easily accessed and enjoyed by snorkelers. As always, use a dive float or flag to alert any passing vessels to your position.
Carrie Lee is a 100 foot freighter that began to sank in rough waters off Grand Cayman’s East End in 1984. While attempting to tow her to safety the boat capsized and drifted to her eventual resting place approximately 200 yards off the coast of George Town at a depth of 150 to 200 feet. The Carrie Lee remains pretty much in tact and has attracted numerous species of fish and coral inhabitants. With only the tip of the bow lying within recreational dive limits, we recommend the Carrie Lee only to deep dive certified divers with wreck diving experience and only with our recommended dive operators. The Carrie Lee is most definitely NOT a recreational shore dive for novice divers!
Gamma Shipwreck is the wreckage of a 200 foot steel freighter that sunk during a Nor’ Wester storm in 1980. Located partially in and out of the water, the rusty wreckage makes more of a land photo opportunity than a wreck dive. Snorkelers and beginner divers will enjoy the shallow 0 to 20 foot depths and close proximity to shore. The wreckage has survived numerous storms and hurricanes and remains home to many species of fish coral and sea life.
Wreck of the Kirk Pride is a 170 foot cargo vessel shipwreck currently lying over 3,000 feet deep. Obviously not a dive site the wreck is noteworthy to deep or extreme water enthusiasts. The Kirk Pride was photographed in 1988 by National Geographic using deep submersible equipment and combining multiple pods to capture a single complete image of the entire wreckage. Atlantis Submarines used to offer a very deep submarine tour to the Kirk Pride but when their deep exploration vessel was destroyed in Hurricane Ivan in 2005 and has not been replaced to date.
Oro Verde Shipwreck Dive was the most popular Grand Cayman shipwreck dive until the sinking of the USS Kittiwake in 2011. The Oro Verde is an 84 foot steel cargo vessel currently lying at 40 to 50 feet that was purchased and sank off Grand Cayman in 1980 by the Cayman Islands government in conjunction with local dive operators. The wreckage is currently about 40% in tact, with a few remaining small penetrable sections of the main holds and upper deck. Her bow is still in tact and visibly lists slightly starboard. Many of the railings and upper deck sections are visible and make wonderful photo opportunities, along with an old bicycle wreck that divers ‘ride’ for fun photo poses. Initial penetration of Oro Verde can be made at approximately 25 feet into the forward hold through a portal. The remaining space inside is large enough to barely accommodate a few divers but makes for excellent photo opportunities. The ship wreckage and surrounding reefs are home to hundreds of species of sea animals, fish and corals,making this one of the most popular shallow dives in Grand Cayman, often frequented after a deeper wall dive. The Oro Verde lies about 100 yards off shore so advanced divers in good physical condition could access it as a shore dive but with the long swim and requisite dive flags and floats due to offshore boat traffic, why bother? All of our recommended dive operators will be happy to take you to the Oro Verde as your second half of a two tank west side boat dive.
Ridgefield is the remains of a 440 foot Liberian freighter that ran aground and sank in 1962 with a cargo of beer and grain. The wreckage now rests at 20 feet in East End, Grand Cayman. The pounding east end seas have reduced the Ridgefield to mostly a debris pile but parts of midships are above water and still somewhat in tact.
Doc Polson is a 100 foot (approximately) tug boat that sank in 1982. Lying at 40 to 60 feet deep approximately 150 yards off the southern end of Seven Mile Beach, the Doc Polson is a popular second dive after a deeper wall dive. The wreckage is 80% in tact and fully penetrable in her bow, stern and wheelhouse sections. The whole area in and around the Doc Polson is thriving with sea life, fish corals and seasonal silver side, making this one of the most popular ship wreck dives in Grand Cayman.
USS Kittiwake Cayman Islands Shipwreck
The USS Kittiwake was scuttled off the Northwest Point area of Grand Cayman in January of 2011. Sailing from Norfolk Virginia to the Florida Keys, the Kittiwake entered international waters in December 2010. From Key West, the Kittiwake was towed through shipping lanes near the west side of Cuba to the west side of Grand Cayman. USS Kittiwake’s route covered over 1,400 nautical miles and took 9 days at an average speed of 8 knots.
Cayman Islands Kittiwake shipwreck is designated a national Cayman Islands park and attraction managed by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
Kittiwake ship wreck divers are required to pay the following entry fees:
Scuba Divers: $8.00
Scuba Divers and snorkelers are given tags or tokens to carry as tickets to dive the Kittiwake. All of our recommended Cayman Islands dive operators can obtain the necessary admission tags and take you to Grand Cayman’s newest shipwreck dive.
Kittiwake park admission fees are used for maintenance of the ship wreck, safety equipment and management of this amazing Cayman Islands dive attraction. A portion of the fees will go to the Cayman Islands marine environmental contingency fund.
The Kittiwake served from 1945 to 1994, with her most memorable call of duty being the recovery of the Challenger Space Shuttle, after the tragic disaster.
The Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism signed an agreement with CITA (the Cayman Islands Tourism Association) for the acquisition of the retired US naval ship, USS Kittiwake. The Kittiwake is scheduled to be sunk in January of 2011 in a 40-80 foot sandy area of the northern end of Seven Mile Beach called Northwest Point.
Kittiwake serves as the Cayman Islands newest diving attraction. Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford announced: "This retired US naval ship is planned to become Cayman’s newest dive attraction and artificial reef."The international dive community is drawn to such sites where divers can explore maritime history. "This site will also benefit our marine ecology by providing artificial habitats for fish and much desired relief for some of our frequently visited dive sites." Shipwrecks provide a spectacular and unique diving experience for divers worldwide, while creating an artificial reef to over 50 species of corals and over 500 species of fish.
Built in 1945, the Kittiwake conducted numerous sails between the US, Caribbean and Mediterranean, while supporting submarines and conducting rescue missions for the US Navy. With its impressive background, Kittiwake adds significant value to the Cayman Islands diving product.
Cayman Brac – Keith Tibbetts
One of the most popular dive sites in Cayman Brac, the Keith Tibbetts was sunk in 1996 by the Cayman Islands government as an artificial reef and recreational dive site attraction.
The Captain Keith Tibbetts shipwreck is a 330 foot Russian Brigadier Type II frigate built in 1984 in Nadhodka. The Keith Tibbetts shipwreck is 80% plus in tact, with some of the recent storm damage actually increasing penetration options for this massive wreck dive. The wreckage lies near a wall drop off, making this one of the more interesting dives in Cayman Brac. This wreck dive is approximately 200 yards from shore, making it a bit far for a shore dive but all the dive operators on Cayman Brac offer the Kieth Tibbetts shipwreck dive as a deep or shallow dive, depending on the profile, as the drop off is nearby.
Diving this Russian warship -formally known as simply "number 356" is Cayman Brac’s most awe inspiring dive. Sunk in 1996 as an artificial reef, the MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts shipwreck on Cayman Brac is the only Russian warship in the Western Hemisphere available for scuba diving.
The MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts shipwreck on Cayman Brac rests on an even keel among a gentle slope of white powder sand. Her propellers now almost half buried in sand at 56 feet, they have become home to thousands of colorful Grouper, Grunts and over 100 species of fish and coral. Measuring near the length of a football field, the Keith Tibbetts bow rests a mere 100 feet from a small plateau, leading directly to the wall descending vertically to thousands of feet. Two cannons protrude from protective turrets at 50 feet. This awe inspiring piece of naval architecture lying fully in tact in crystal clear blue water is a Cayman Brac dive site to be seen.
Little Cayman – Soto Trader Shipwreck. A 120 foot steel freighter sank in 1975 while in route from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac, carrying a cargo of beer, gasoline and construction material. The boat caught fire while pumping fuel into 55 gallon drums and the fuel leaked onto the deck and ignited. At least one crew member died in the fire. Currently resting at a depth of 60 feet the wreck is about 90% in tact and inhabited by myriads of marine life, fish and corals.
USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Dive, Grand Cayman
Wreck of the Ore Verde
Photo: Doc Polson Shipwreck by Courtney Platt
Balboa Shipwreck Picture
Keith Tibbetts Shipwreck
USS Kittiwake Cayman Islands Diving News Updates