Scuba Diving the Kittiwake in Grand Cayman 2019

Bucket List Tick! Scuba Diving the Wreck of the USS Kittiwake, in Grand Cayman. I have so many friends in the Cayman Islands that it was kind of ridiculous that I hadn’t dived the Kittiwake before. We put that straight almost as soon as I landed at GCM airport.

Why was Scuba Diving the Kittiwake on my bucket list? First, her history. She was the first US Navy ship intentionally sunk outside of US waters and throughout her naval service, had a storied career as an Auxiliary Submarine Rescue vessel.

Also, I wanted to show the Kittiwake as a great wreck dive for beginner scuba divers. She was so well prepared and has lots of easy swim-throughs. If you’re thinking to start wreck diving, the Kittiwake is a great into to the scuba specialty.

Thirdly, check out the viz we got!

Grand Cayman, I love you! I can’t wait to go back!

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Follow my awesome Dive Buddy Menno’s adventures – the dude is truly epic and very well travelled:


Huge thanks to Jo and the Team at Dive Tech for their help in making this series of films and for the awesome dive service as well as to the venerable Mr. Tony Land, Dive Tech GM, for the outstanding drone footage. If you’re diving Grand Cayman, except no substitutes! Book your dives here:

Here is a super cool video of a sister-ship to the Kittiwake in action. It’s is a 1970 U.S. Navy training film shows the procedure used to rescue the crew of a submarine stranded at the bottom of the ocean. Footage of the Submarine Rescue Ship USS TRINGA ASR-16 (Kittiwake was ASR-13) is used in the film. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section:

…AND here is the full service history of ASR-13 for all you Wreckheads out there!


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See our specific products used in the links above, and for a full list of the gear James keep in his dive bag, see his Gear List.
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Meet James Blackman

With a career in diving spanning twenty years, James has seen a thing or two in the dive industry. James grew up on the Southwest coast of Britain and learned to dive in the frigid waters of the English Channel. If your first dives were like being placed in a cocktail shaker full of cabbage soup and you come away with a love for the sport, then you know it’s going to be a life-long pursuit.

James spent his twenties in the British merchant marine which afforded him the opportunity to travel to and dive in far flung locales… 177 countries and counting. Between stints onboard a variety of vessels, James used his shore leaves to level up his scuba training… Rescue diver in Tanzania, DM in Indonesia, Instructor in Honduras, Tec Instructor in the French West Indies.

His last ship before moving to a shore-based life style was an expedition ship where he notched up some of his most impressive dives, including briefly holding the world record for most northerly scuba dive… 82 degrees north in the Russian arctic; diving the Amazon river; the Antarctic; and virgin reef systems in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Moving ashore in his early thirties, James took on the role of General Manager for a luxury dive operator in St Martin and never had a dull moment! Hollywood visited the island and called upon James’ underwater skills for on-set safety. When Cat-3 hurricane Gonzalo devastated the area, James switched hats to salvage and public safety diver to help with the recovery.

Scuba Diving has given so much to James in his life… and first on that list is his brilliant wife Karina whom he met whilst teaching her AOW class! Yes, that old cliché! James and Karina are also business partners and co-owners of two power-house scuba brands. Miami Technical Diving has become the premiere scuba training facility in South Florida. Tired of seeing other dive shops compete in a ‘race to the bottom,’ James decided his model for teaching scuba would focus on keeping the quality as high as possible; using the best gear possible; teaching beyond the minimum standards on a 1-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio. The fullness of the MTD training calendar shows that people – student divers – prefer to receive premium, quality tuition, as opposed to cheap and fast.

James is the personality and knowledge broker behind ‘Divers Ready!’ a super influential Scuba Diving YouTube channelwebsite and brand. In just a year, Divers Ready! has become the fastest growing You Tube channel in the Scuba Diving niche, with 1000s of new divers joining every month. Their weekly videos range from Mouthpiece Mondays – where James shares his insider knowledge and opinions about controversial topics in the dive industry – to practical ‘hints & tutorial’ style videos, all with one simple goal in mind – to make you a better diver!

James and Karina started small group luxury dive trips for the Divers Ready! audience.

James and Karina live in Miami, FL with their rambunctious dogs; Ziggy The Husky and Bonham the Mutt, and their Maine Coon cat Foxy, who remains unimpressed.