The Ex USS Kittiwake is a 251 foot long Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship that was part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet until it was decommissioned in 1994 and is one of the top 10 purposely sunk wrecks to dive. A five-minute boat ride brings divers to the site where the vessel sits upright and intake about 60 feet down on the sandy floor. During the season, thousands of silversides fill the interior of the ship while Black Jacks, Groupers and Snappers swim through feeding on them. Large Barracuda lurk around the wheelhouse while large schools of Creole Wrasse and Horse-Eye Jacks swim in circles around the ship’s funnel. Southern Sting Rays and Spotted Eagle Rays feed in the sandy bottom surrounding the wreck.
Trinity Caves is a beautiful West Wall Site located at the North West Point. This spectacular dive site consists of 3 main “caves”, or swim throughs, weaving throughout the top of the wall. Be sure to look for Spotted Lobsters and other small crustaceans that make their homes in the nooks and crannies. As you head out of the tunnels and over the edge of the wall precipice there is a stunning coral pinnacle mushrooming from the edge of the wall. Be sure to make at least one circuit around this beautiful structure that is covered in deep water gorgonians and sponges. Large schools of Grunts float above the coral reef as you make your way back to the line.
Eagle Ray Pass is a stunning North Wall site located just out of the Main Channel. As the name implies, there is an abundance of Spotted Eagle Rays that like to cruise along the edge of the drop off. A dense coral archway brings us out onto the wall at a depth of about 80 feet where the drop off is very sheer and very dramatic. Large Hawksbill Turtles feed on the large amounts of brown sponges. If you are lucky you may encounter a Hammerhead shark. A school of Yellowtail Parrotfish display their mating dances at the base of the mooring line.
La Mesa Reef is a favorite West Side reef site. La Mesa, which means “table” in Spanish, is a dense coral reef plateau rising up to 20 feet from a flat sand bottom. This coral “table” is completely covered with dozens of different schools of grunts, jacks, groupers and snappers. The schools of fish are so dense that you can actually “herd” them as you swim through their masses. A beautiful coral overhang boasts Azure Vase Sponges with Arrow Crabs inhabiting their holes. Barracuda float lazily mid water as you complete your safety stop.
Sting Ray City is the most exciting 12 foot dive you’ll ever do! Located in the North Sound, more than 20 Southern Sting Rays swim around, over and on top of you as you kneel in the sandy bottom, looking for a hand out of their favorite snack, squid. The females are the largest, about 3 feet across, looking like big portabella mushrooms. The males are much smaller, only about 1 ½ feet in diameter. Then we have the juveniles coming in for a piece of the action. It is a must do dive and the experience of a lifetime getting up close and personal with these beautiful, gentle and magnificent creatures.