Edit Blog Post
Published: June 16th 2015
Diving the Kittiwake
When I moved to Darlene’s apartment I had already done eight dives with Don Foster’s dive shop. I gave some thought to what I wanted to do with the time remaining in Grand Cayman. I wanted to do the snorkel trip to Sting Ray City, and visit the Botanical Gardens, and I decided to go ahead and book the Sunday dive on the well-known wreck, Kittiwake, with the dive shop. I figured these were activities that most tourists do and people might ask me about.
Usually the dive shop requires four divers to do this dive as it is quite far away, however when I arrived I discovered that the dive was four staff members and me. Luckily some of the staff were new and needed experience on the wreck in order to guide paying guests, so even though there were no other paid divers, I had the opportunity to dive the Kittiwake.
The USS Kittiwake, a 251 foot former US Navy submarine rescue vessel, was sunk in 2011 as an artificial reef. It lies in 60 feet of water and the top of the
smoke stack is only 20 feet below the surface. We had near perfect weather and calm seas and equally important, there weren’t boatloads of other divers and snorkelers at the site. I dove with an experienced dive master who was content to let me take my time and take photo after photo of the ship and her fishy inhabitants.
I love to take photos of ships and other man-made structures underwater. Light and shadow make even ladders, windows and engine housings interesting subjects. There is often an eerie quality due to limited visibility. You can imagine men sitting at the tables in the mess hall. Looking out the windows from the wheel house, you almost feel like you are in the aquarium and the fish are staring at you. The dive master told me check out the mirrors in the bathroom (head) as we swam by them. The radiating cracks make for an unusual reflection. Unfortunately I couldn’t capture this with the camera because the flash distorted the view.
The Kittiwake is five stories tall, but it doesn’t seem that deep. We swam through passage ways, over decks, and into the engine room. We
saw oxygen cylinders, thick chains from the bow to the anchor, and the stern with its huge giant prop.
One of the permanent residents is a large deep blue parrot fish. I tried to capture a photo of one of many arrow crabs that hide in the corners of the walkways. I found the schools of tiny fish framed by the large round window in the mess hall an interesting photo challenge. And of course, the other transients with tanks on their back who prowl the outer and inner sanctums of the wreck, are good photo subjects, too.
My dive was a total success. I felt like I was diving with a buddy and we were in no hurry. When it was finally time to go back to the dive boat we set off through the water almost casually, seeing a bit of the surrounding reef on our way up.
When reviewing my photos I realized I had many reasons to do this dive again.
Tot: 2.34s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 11; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0299s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb