Dateline, January 3, 2011, Grand Cayman - Media Day photos courtesy Lorna Whitfield
On December 25th, 2010 all who love diving the Cayman Islands got a serious Christmas present when the 251-foot Submarine Rescue Vessel Kittiwake was towed into the protected waters off Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Last minute preparations are underway for her to be sunk on Wednesday, January 5th at a designated site off the western shore of Grand Cayman.
I was hoping to be there to see the festivities in person, but other deadlines interfered. Gratefully, Lorna Whitfield, a talented photo pro and resident of Grand Cayman, agreed to cover the event for Alert Diver and sent me the photos below.
Seven years in the making, the Kittiwake is a project of the Ministry and Department of Tourism in partnership with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). CITA provided financial and project management support and will be managing the Kittiwake's dive site, once the vessel is sunk. A broad cross-section of CITA's membership has provided varying levels of sponsorship for the project. The Divers Alert Network is likewise a proud sponsor of the Kittiwake project.
The 5-deck, 2200-ton Kittiwake was originally commissioned as a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy in 1945 during World War II. After 50 years of service the Kittiwake was decommissioned in 1994.
USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) Submarine Rescue Vessel:
Length 251 feet
Speed 16 knots
To follow the progress of the Kittiwake sinking stay tuned via the official website at http://www.kittiwakecayman.com.
To see photos of the Kittiwake being cleaned at the shipyard in Virginia, see http://stephenfrink.blogspot.com/2010/05/kittiwake-grand-caymans-newest.html