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“Fantastic Beginner Wreck Dive” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef

Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef
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Grand Cayman Kittiwake and Reef Sail
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in West Bay
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The ex-USS Kittiwake is an Ex-US Navy Submarine Rescue Vessel. She was sunk on January 5th, 2011 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands to create an artificial reef and shipwreck attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers to visit and enjoy.The attraction is operated by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. Please use a licensed operator and all visitors are required to pay a user fee.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
66 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Fantastic Beginner Wreck Dive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013

Dove the Kittiwake in November on our family Thanksgiving trip. My 14 year old daughter had just earned her open water certification and this was our first dive as a family and on a wreck. It is not intimidating at all and is very accessible. Never felt nervous about being able to navigate through it - fun and exciting for all. Plenty of good light when we were there and excellent visibility. Highly recommend for others like us that had never experienced a wreck.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank KellyJo78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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726 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“My favourite dive so far”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013

This was so cool! I dove the wreck with Cayman DiveShuttle. We were able to go into many parts of the ship, and there were lots of things to see - the engine room, the bathrooms (the mirrors are still intact), and the bridge were really cool spots. Try to go when there aren't too many other boats around, if you can - you get more time to explore, and there's more room (some of the rooms and passageways are pretty small, so you need to go one-by-one). Lots of things are starting to grow on the ship, and there were quite a few fish as well.

Visited March 2013
Thank Katie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Easily accessible wreck dive”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

I'm not a fan of confined spaces, on land or underwater. Was a bit disappointed that the Kittiwake was presumed to be a penetration dive, even by those who either don't like overhead environments or aren't confident in their buoyancy skills -- would have preferred to be given the option to either follow the divemaster through the wreck or check it out from the outside.

To their credit, DiveTech reduced the ratios and spaced groups apart so that we wouldn't all be inside the wreck at the same time. Had they not done so, I would've been more vocal about my preference for remaining outside. This is not a dive for people who get claustrophobic, although if you're in a small group of competent divers, it's not stressful.

The wreck has only been down for 2 years so there's not a lot of life growing on it yet. They've put ample cut-outs in the hull and ceilings so that you can (almost) always see an exit from anywhere in the boat, so it's more of a swim-through dive than a true wreck dive where you'd want to lay a line. That being said, you're unlikely to see much unless you're carrying a light.

The wreck is relatively shallow. The propeller is in about 75' and most of the wreck is in the 20-40' range. This makes it a good introductory site for aspiring wreck divers since you can penetrate the wreck and still stay within 100 linear feet of the surface.

I'd do the dive again, but will wait a few years until it's got more life on it. And I'll be staying on the outside.

Visited February 2013
Thank Joolz604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
371 reviews
128 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 239 helpful votes
“Special connection for US service members”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

I had read the USS Kittiwake is a Top 10 Wreck Dive in the Caribbean, and by all accounts they were right. Prior to diving off Grand Cayman, my dive experience was limited to a few Wisconsin lakes. I have only my OW cert, less than 12 dives and this will be a dive I won't forget anytime soon. Any and all divers should experience this wreck dive, and I am already planning a return dive on our visit back next year. OW divers can enter the wreck with a guide and explore three levels. Large cut outs provide natural light into the wreck and she's been gutted of anything that would pose a safety hazard. Coral growths are extremely limited, but give it time. I would highly recommend Ocean Frontiers (East End), they partner with Wall to Wall Diving out of The Lobster Pot Dive Center nearby.

This dive was very meaningful as well, and holds a special connection for US service members and families. I was raised in a Navy family, parents, a grandfather and Uncle serving in the USN. Having lived on several Naval Bases to include Norfolk, you don't forget the smaller ships such as the USS Kittiwake. As an adult who served in the military, you make special connections with people, places and things such as this beautiful ship. It's hard to describe to anyone who hasn't served or been raised in a military family. I am grateful the USS Kittiwake will forever be on display, and look forward to many more dives and new coral in the coming years. Don't forget to take home your dive chip (proof of entry on BCD) showing your diver number on the USS Kittiwake wreck!

Visited February 2013
1 Thank goose3nbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
204 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
“Not much reef”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2013

Fun to see an underwater "planned" shipwreck, but no plethora of fish or corral. Nice reef nearby though...

Visited February 2013
2 Thank DocRenee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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