Three years ago, I did my first dive on the USS Kittiwake.  That blog post from 2014 can be found here.  (http://micho.org/cayblog/?p=2678) A quick recall – the Kittiwake is a former US Warship that was decommissioned in the 1990’s and purchased by the Cayman Islands in order to make an artificial reef for diving.

So after 3-years and I am now equipped with a GoPro underwater camera, the level of photography will be much enhanced!

Since my last dive at the Kittiwake, there have been a few changes.  Changes that have been caused by the weather.  The first change is that the boat shifted closer to the reef formations.  Still a good distance away, a storm a year ago or so moved the boat a number of feet westward. The other change is that the “wheelhouse” aka where they steer the boat, is no longer present. A storm this winter which had some big currents ripped the roof of the wheelhouse apart.  Oh well – nature slowly taking back its place I guess.

From the surface, the Kittiwake does not look like much – but we can already see that its a big ship.  It sits in only 50ft or so of water.

Almost immediately, we can see the large school of Horse-Eye Jacks.  These fish “adopted” the Kittiwake almost as soon as the ship was sunk in 2011.  They are a very large group now.

In this video you can get a good feel for how graceful these fish are and how many there are swimming around.

Here is the newly “open air” wheelhouse. 🙂

Now we go inside the ship.  Here one of my fellow divers enters … following the dive instructor who clearly knows where he is going.  In any case, there are many cut-outs and a fair amount of light that gets inside.  Someone with claustrophobia would probably not enjoy, but everyone else will 🙂

Here is the video of most of the inside visit.  Near the end when I look up, that is the former smokestack – very cool!

Since the Kittiwake has been sunk for almost 6 years now, nature has certainly been adapting and taking back its place.  Here are a few shots of formations around the ship.  First is … well I don’t know what this is! 🙂  Some kind of coral tubes – the longest one was around 2ft long and very pretty.

Some more kind of coral.  A lovely shade of blue with a yellow base of some sort.  As you can see, I don’t really know what I am looking at, a part from the fact that this pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In every small area, life has moved in – coral, sea urchins, small & large fish, etc.  When you take the time to look around at the small stuff here, there is so much to see.

I’m very pleased with my second Kittiwake dive. Its also a great wreck dive for novice divers who want to do something a bit more exciting.  The dive instructors will give you a guided tour both inside and out.  definitely a lot of fun and a must-see for anyone diving in Grand Cayman.