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Grand Cayman’s Kittiwake Is Toppled by Tropical Storm Nate
Smithsgold - 10/08/2017 9:48 PM
Category: General
Replies: 8

Grand Cayman’s Kittiwake Is Toppled by Tropical Storm Nate

One of Grand Cayman’s most-popular dive sites — the artificial reef site Kittiwake — was impacted by Tropical Storm Nate as it first began developing in the Caribbean. The 251-foot-long ship was sunk in 60 feet of water near the Sand Chute dive site, close to Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Launched on July 10, 1945, the former U.S. Navy vessel USS Kittiwake ran countless rescue missions for 54 years until she was decommissioned in 1994.
According to eyewitness reports Sunday, October 8, the popular shipwreck has been toppled on its port side. It may also be resting on the nearby reef.
Jason Washington, who dived the wreck on Sunday, told Cayman 27 the Kittiwake is now 20 feet deeper.
Local divers confirm the Cayman Islands Tourist Association has closed the wreck to divers, fearing it may be unstable.
The Kittiwake was acquired by the Cayman Islands government in 2008 and was sunk as an artificial reef in 2011.
Tags: Grand Cayman Caribbean And Atlantic News
Eric_R - 10/09/2017 9:31 AM
Can you imagine the force that was applied? Looks to be in good shape.
FtMyersTom - 10/09/2017 2:48 PM
The Kittiwake is small as artificial reefs wrecks go at 225ft long and 2200 tons and sits in 65ft of water. The top is 15ft from surface. Coast Guard regs would not allow her to sit that shallow around here.

"Water depth must be sufficiently deep to avoid creating a hazard to navigation. Minimum clearance above the reef should accommodate the draft of the vessels expected to operate in the vicinity"

Generally here that is 60ft to highest point. But where the Kittiwake sits no large ships go by. They put it where they did so snorkelers could see it. When our boat got there we had to wait for a mooring ball because 3 boats full of snorkelers were there. A way to make more money. You could freedive the entire wreck if so desired. Also if you wanted you could shore dive it. I asked if I could and they said they discourage it because of boat traffic.

It’s not a very far swim from Cemetery Beach and if you go just after it’s light and use a flag the boat traffic isn’t bad until around 9 when the trips start. You would have to stay on the surface to save air but next trip........????hhmmmmm

Compared to the Spiegel Grove she’s 510ft long and 11,200 tons. Her anchors alone weight 12 tons. When they finally got her sunk she laid on her starboard side in 130ft for 3 years until Hurricane Dennis set her on her keel. Just imagine that force.

I’m always fascinated by the power of nature. Did you see the photos of the water Irma sucked out of the bays along the west coast? The water was gone as far as you can see. They sad it was a good thing the eye cut in half and didn’t pull that water back at full force or the storm serge would have been devastating. Mother nature at her best.
Scubagal_godive - 10/10/2017 2:26 PM
WOW...thanks for posting.
Smithsgold - 10/11/2017 12:13 PM

Great news, the Kittiwake is open for business! There is some pretty severe damage to Sand Chute where the wreck leaned against it during tropical storm Nate. You can see this early in the video. Some of the rooms inside have quite a lot of sand making for possible silting issues. Other than that, all is good!
covediver - 10/30/2017 12:41 PM
I dived the Kittiwake last year. Interesting dive, but having done it once, not sure there is much utility in doing it a second time. Does its new orientation cause any problems for divers becoming disoriented? When she sat on her keel, passageways made intuitive sense.