The Cayman Islands are known worldwide for top-rated dive sites, including intriguing shipwrecks, that draw scuba divers to the exquisite beauty in the depths of the Caribbean Sea. For those who don’t dive - don’t despair! There is a safe, convenient and easy way to discover and explore these sunken treasures. Here are three of the most popular shipwrecks that are considered among the major tourist attractions in Cayman.
You simply can’t miss seeing this intriguing artefact - the wreck of the Balboa, a 375-foot freighter that sunk in a hurricane in 1932 off of George Town Harbour. Its engine broke down on its voyage from Cuba to George Town and the ship was then battered by hurricane-force winds and water. In 1957, the ship was considered a navigation hazard and was blown up by the Royal Navy. It rests in about 30-40 feet of water. It is said that the wood from this ship was used to repair houses damaged in the hurricane and to build a church steeple. Many nocturnal creatures like lobsters, crabs, reef squid and octopus reside in the Balboa.
Launched in 1900, this four-masted schooner was a little over 200 feet long and weighed more than 1,000 tons. In 1944, on its way from Ecuador to Cuba, the hull developed a leak, soaking the rice it was carrying. As the rice expanded, it cracked the hull, and the ship was forced to change course and head to George Town. In 1957, it was proclaimed a shipping peril and was blown up by the British Army Corps of Engineers. The Cali lies about 100 feet from shore in about 20 feet of tranquil water. It harbors barracuda, yellow snapper, and tiger grouper, among other marine creatures.
Located in a marine park in the waters off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, the USS Kittiwake is the most recent addition to Cayman Islands shipwreck sites. It has already earned a reputation as an extraordinary dive site and will definitely be the highlight of your glass-bottom boat tour in Grand Cayman.
The USS Kittiwake was a submarine rescue ship from 1945 to 1994, deployed in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian oceans. It serves as an artificial reef about 60 feet below the water’s surface. Goliath grouper, squirrelfish, urchins and horse-eye jacks are some of the marine creatures that can be seen around the shipwreck.
Be sure to plan an underwater excursion to explore the beauty of the waters off the Cayman Islands. The submarine and glass-bottom boat provide comfortable and enjoyable tours for all ages to learn about the rich history surrounding the Cayman Islands. So, don’t wait! Book your tour today to see these amazing shipwrecks.