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Cayman Activity Guide Magazine - Fact Sheet, Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands wreck diving offers a rich selection of exciting and fun shipwrecks for
divers of all abilities and interests

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
Snorkelers: $4.00

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 Shipwreck
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.

cayman islands shipwreck uss kittiwake shipwreck underwater photos
USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Dive, Grand Cayman

cayman oro verde shipwreck photos
Wreck of the Ore Verde

cayman islands wreck diving cali callie ship wreck photo
Callie Wreckage, less than 40 yards from shore

cayman doc polson ship wreck shipwreck dive
Photo: Doc Polson Shipwreck by Courtney Platt

cayman islands balboa shipwreck photo
Balboa Shipwreck Picture

cayman brac wreck diving photos
Keith Tibbetts Shipwreck

Kittiwake Wreck Sinking Photos – January 7, 2010
cayman kittiwake shipwreck photo

cayman kittiwake dive sinking pictures

caymans kittiwake shipwreck sinking pictures

cayman islands ship wreck dive kittiwake photos

USS Kittiwake Shipwreck Video

USS Kittiwake Latest News and Pictures

USS Kittiwake Cayman Islands Diving News Updates

Kittiwake Receives 2013 Trip Advisor Award of Excellence

  Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef   The Cayman Islands Tourism Association, managers for the Kittiwake Marine Park and dive site, announced that the Kittiwake has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.   To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, the Kittiwake attraction had to maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and had to have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.   The Kittiwake was sunk in Grand Cayman, off West Bay, on 5 January 2013, as an artificial reef. It is part of the newly completed Dive 365 initiative, which identifies 365 dive sites around the Cayman Islands to provide for a new diving experience for every day of the year. Since opening as a dive/snorkel nearly 2 ½ years ago, approximately 40,000 divers and snorkellers have enjoyed exploring the Kittiwake. As an added boon to tourism in Cayman, the Kittiwake has been thoroughly covered by media worldwide and is a very popular site for locals and visitors to Cayman to enjoy.    

Renew your Kittiwake license for 2013-14!

It’s time to renew your license for the Kittiwake! The new licensing year for the Kittiwake runs July 1, 2013–June 30, 2014. Those who are interested in uninterrupted access to the Kittiwake can renew their vessel license and/or annual pass at the CITA office beginning June 1, 2013.    Annual passes cost CI$25 each; private vessel licenses are CI$50 (includes 2 annual passes and 2 dive slates).   The simple process to renew a private vessel involves the following steps:   * complete & sign the renewal paperwork
* pay vessel licensing fees (CI $50 each)     For a NEW private vessel license, the licensing agreement can be downloaded here  or completed at the CITA office at 1320 West Bay Road during regular hours, Monday–Friday 9am-4:30pm and Saturdays from 9am-2pm. Please contact CITA at 345-949-8522 with any questions.   Vessel licensing fees, annual pass and one-day passes support the Kittiwake Marine Park, including all maintenance of the site, as well as contribute towards an environmental contingency fund.   CITA and its watersports members appreciate the public’s support of the Kittiwake, which continues to be a wonderful addition to the Cayman Islands dive products and Dive 365!

Cayman Islands Completes Dive 365

The Cayman Islands highlighted its unparalleled array of diving locations at the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association’s  annual trade show with its completed DIVE 365 initiative. Featuring 365 diverse dive spots, Dive 365 opened its final mooring last month, indulging enthusiastic divers in Cayman’s pristine crystal blue waters and spectacular underwater landscape, offering a new experience for each day of the year. Since launching in 2008, the Dive 365 initiative has highlighted the Cayman Islands’ dedication to providing divers with more opportunities while preserving the precious marine environment. Adding 68 new dive sites around Cayman, the initiative has aimed to alleviate the environmental impact of recreational diving at more popular sites while simultaneously offering divers the opportunity to immerse in Caymanian dive culture, opening up the lesser-known gems for safe public use. The 365 sites offer dives for all skill levels and, with new locations including secret spots of some of the destination’s top dive masters. The initiative has added several high-profile dive destinations over the years, including the Kittiwake, a former US submarine rescue ship sunk off the shores of Seven Mile Beach. Approaching the second anniversary of its sinking in January 2011, the Kittiwake is now an artificial reef, housing an abundance of spectacular marine life. Other dive attractions include the wreck of the Russian-built Cuban naval frigate 330 ft. M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts off the coast of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman’s legendary Bloody Bay Wall, a plunging coral wall with a sheer drop of more than 6,000 feet. Ghost Mountain Dive site “Recognised as the birthplace of recreational diving, the Cayman Islands strives to continue to expand and diversify our dive offerings,” Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush says. “As the Caribbean’s premier diving destination, we aim to sustain the environment that draws divers to our unique underwater landscape.” With 40 dive operators, a unique combination of deep wall and shallow reef diving, and a rich history, as well as year-round 80 degree water temperatures, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism director Shomari Scott says Cayman’s dive program continues to cement the Cayman Islands as the top diving destination in the Caribbean. “The Cayman Islands is the ultimate destination for divers of all skill levels, providing PADI-certified classes on-island, environmentally conscious dive spots worthy of both professionals and recreational divers, and a dive culture unique to Cayman ” Scott says. “With 365 dive locations to offer, Dive 365 is an example of not only our commitment to providing new and challenging experiences to the dive community, but also our dedication to sustaining the environment crucial to our underwater playground.” For more information on diving in the Cayman Islands and to plan your dive trip, visit .

Visting the Kittiwake–It’s Not Just For Divers!

Snorkellers can access the bridge and have a moment at the helm. Did you know that the Kittiwake is a great snorkel site, as well as a fabulous dive?   Last weekend, I had the chance to snorkel on the Kittiwake with Red Sail Sports during their Saturday snorkel cruise on board one of their catamarans. Even though the Kittiwake has been a popular tourist attraction since January 2011, this was my first outing to the Kittiwake Marine Park. Having been visited by more than 30,000 visitors since her sinking, I had to see for myself just how great the Kittiwake was for a visit.   Most visitors know that you can dive the Kittiwake, and she is a great dive for those who are interested in wreck diving–or anyone who simply wants to experience one of Cayman’s newest sites! But, it seems that many were not aware that the Kittiwake is a great snorkel site, too! In fact, when former sailors of the Kittiwake visit Grand Cayman, they book a snorkel experience. Some of the former sailors tell us that they ‘want to touch the Kittiwake one more time.’ Snorkelling certainly allows one to do so!
As soon as I jumped off the catamaran and put my head down in the water, I saw a school of jacks swimming in and around the bridge. There were many other fish at various levels of the wreck, including a couple of midnight parrotfish grazing along the top decks.We even saw a couple eagle rays casually gliding by in the distance, serving as a surreal backdrop to the Kittiwake. The top of the Kittiwake is about 15 ft from the surface, making it easily accessible to beginning snorkellers. For those who can dive a bit deeper, the wheelhouse is a popular destination. Make sure you have a friend that can dive down, too, and snap a photograph of you at the helm for a fun memory of your visit!   All too soon, it was time to head back to the catamaran, so I swam the 251 ft length of the Kittiwake to head back to our boat. I reluctantly got on board, waving goodbye to this fun, interesting and easy snorkel site. Maybe I will have to return for a dive to explore her even further, but for now, I know that she is a great site to go for a snorkel!   Red Sail Sports runs a regular 2-stop snorkel trip (includes the Kittiwake) every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The trip is 2 1/2 hours long. Boats depart from the Westin or Grand Cayman Beach Suites. Contact Red Sail Sports for details.   While Red Sail is the only licensed Kittiwake operator to offer dedicated snorkel trips, many other licensed operators will take snorkellers out as well! Click on any of the licensed Kittiwake operators on the right side of this webpage to contact them about dive or snorkel trips to the Kittiwake. Swim with the jacks that spend a great deal of time in and around the upper areas of the Kittiwake!

Kittiwake Vessel Licensing for 2012-13 Year begins June 1, 2012

Any commercial operator or private vessel owner wishing to license their vessel for the Kittiwake Marine Park for the upcoming licensing year (1 July 2012–30 June 2013) will be able to complete the necessary paperwork beginning 1 June 2012. The simple process involves the following steps: * complete and sign all pages of the licensing agreement * provide proof of insurance for the vessel (commercial operators only) * have current membership with CITA (Cayman Islands Tourism Association; commerical operators only) * pay vessel licensing fees ( commerical vessels: CI $150 for first vessel, CI $75 each additional vessel; private vessels: CI $50 each) Click here to download the license application for COMMERCIAL VESSELS.   Click here to download the license application for PRIVATE VESSELS. All paperwork can be completed at the CITA office at 1320 West Bay Road during regular business hours, which run Monday–Friday 9am-4:30pm and Saturdays from 9am-2pm. If there are any questions about the process, please contact CITA at 345-949-8522. Vessel licensing fees, annual pass and one-day visit passes help to support the Kittiwake Marine Park, including all maintenance of the site, as well as contribute towards an environmental contingency fund. CITA and its watersport members appreciate the public’s support of the Kittiwake, which had more than 20,000 divers and snorkellers in its first year as a dive/snorkel attraction. It has been covered by media worldwide and is a very popular site for locals and visitors to Cayman to enjoy!