Scuba Diving Photos
Diving Purpose-Sunk Wrecks
A post on a scuba chat board inspired a hunt: In the days before Rob Maldonado and a friend headed to Grand Cayman for a wreck specialty course, they learned of a commemorative plaque on the Kittiwake placed by a family. A simple request followed: They asked their instructor to see this marker.
Turns out, Divetech instructor Ondrej Hindl had never happened upon it. Sponsors who helped finance the sinking had hung small signs throughout the 251-foot long ship — these he knew about.
“They’re in cool, funny places. DAN has theirs right next to one of the recompression chambers,” Hindl says.
Inspired, the group scoured the ship during the course, eventually finding the target. They wiped it clean and sent a photo to the family, touched by the gesture.
It’s the sort of story the reef was sunk for.
“Kittiwake is at 60 feet,” says Hindl, “So if you do it on nitrox, your deco limit is nothing and you can play there all day.”
When to go: Grand Cayman offers warm water year-round; seas are calmest April through November.
Operator: Divetech (divetech.com) is a rebreather-friendly technical dive training facility.
Price Tag: The wreck specialty course costs $450 per person and includes academic training and four dives.
They’re often two camps divided: those who seek out only “real” wrecks, and those who happily dive artificial ones. And yet, the ships served in the same fleets, the same wars — the difference is only fate. Real shipwrecks suffered tragic blows; ships that become artificial reefs often survived similar attacks, staying afloat long enough to allow the plug to be pulled at a precise moment in a precise location, widening the field of potential visitors. Shipwreck aficionados court history, artifacts, adrenaline. Those who know these artificial reefs well could argue that they pack these very same thrills — if you just know where to look.