Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Wake for the Kittiwake

Any submariner that sailed with Subron 6 or 8 over the years will instantly recall the USS Kittiwake (ASR-13). Every time the Ustafish left the pier while I was a lookout, I would take a good look at the KittyKat and pray that I would not have a need for her services while I was gone. (Why not, it beat looking at the tender.)

She was commissioned back during THE BIG ONE, WWII and served faithfully until she was sent to the James River Fleet in 1994. She had a few run ins at the D&S piers. In 1974 she hit the USS Finback and in 1984 she hit the USS Bergall but this sub sailor still liked having her around.

Well, time marches on and word comes today that the Kittiwake has been acquired by our good friends on Her Majesty's Cayman Islands who plan to sink her for an artificial diving reef for tourists with an aqualung. There is some irony in knowing that this ship that was designed to send divers down to save submariners' lives will now be on the bottom of the Caribbean as diver's attraction.

I wonder why, during all my time on the Spanish Main, didn't the Ustafish pull into the Caymans? I went there on my honeymoon cruise and found it to be a great port. Maybe it's not seedy enough for the fleet.

So long, Kittiwake! I would love to get down to the Caymans and dive on the KittyKat!

1 comment:

Kittiwake PM said...

Hi -

I am Nancy Easterbrook, Project Manager for the Cayman Kittiwake project. We would love to see all of the Kittiwake's crew in Cayman and will be putting together a special invite to the dedication service in a few months. If all goes according to plan, we hope to tow her to Cayman in June/July 2009.

We hope that the reefing project will increase the lifespan of the Kittiwake and serve to remember the maritime history that we all share.

Please contact me if you'd like to be kept on our 'update' email as we progress this project forward. Thanks kindly, Nancy