Showing posts from August, 2012

Diver Magazine Wreck Story Sidebar #3 Russian Destroyer

Cayman Brac  “The Russian Destroyer”
Wrecked  - Diver Magazine Feature by Stephen Weir September 2012. Sidebar 3

The Russian destroyer was actually a Russian Patrol Frigate based in Cuba. It was Patrol Vessel 356 until just before her sinking when she was named the Dive Captain Keith Tibbetts
Length 330’ Width 42’ Commissioned in 1984 Decommissioned in 1992 Sunk in 1996 Last passenger on ship – Jean Michelle Cousteau Armament – Two 5” deck gun.
Reef Divers, Cayman Brac visit the Destroyer almost daily, and occasionally will dive her at night.The Cayman Aggressor live-aboard usually dives her weekly.When conditions are right, she can be dove from shore.
Reef Divers at Brac Reef Beach Resort Cayman Brac 1-800-594-0843

Full Story: 
YouTube Video of a dive on the Russian Destroyer by Stephen Weir;postID=77624708288664…

Diver Magazine Wreck Story Sidebar #2 Soto Trader

 Cayman Wreck Story - Diver Magazine September 2012

Little Cayman - The Wreck of the Soto Trader
MV Soto Trader Commissioned: 1940s. Decommissioned: 1975 Date lost: 04/04/1975cause lost: fire Dimensions: 120 Ft Length - 30 Ft Beam Cargo at time of sinking: Beer. Construction equipment. Vehicle. Note: no beer has been found on the wreck this century. (I’ve looked) Conch Club Condos and Conch Club Divers Phone: (345) 948 1026 (561) 283-1715
P.O. Box 58, Little Cayman. KY3-2501, Cayman Islands Conch Club Divers in Little Cayman
Phone (345) 948-1026 (832) 460-9127
Little Cayman Beach Resort and Reef Divers Phone: (345) 948-0124
The Southern Cross Club Little Cayman Tel: <

Diver Magazine Wreck Story Sidebar #1 Kittiwake

Cayman sinking story by Stephen Weir

Tale of the tape The World’s newest diveable artificial reef – this month.
Ex-USS Kittiwake ASR 13 - Chanticleer Class Submarine Rescue Ship ASR Built by: Savannah Machinery and Foundry Co of Savannah, Georgia, USA Keel Laid: 5th January 1945 Launched: 10th July 1945 Commissioned: 16th July 1945 Decommissioned: 30th September 1994 Displacement: 2290 TONS Dimensions: 251 ft Length - 42 Ft Beam - 15 ft Draft Machinery: Diesel Electric Propulsion - 1 Shaft - 3000 BHP for 15 Kts Complement: 85 Officers and Sailors

The Kittiwake shipwreck is in a private park and attraction that ismanaged by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. All divers to the Kittiwake shipwreck are required to pay an entry fee (which added to your dive shop charges). - Scuba Divers = $10 Cdn/US

571 NW Point Road, West Bay
345) 946-5658
345) 946-5659 fax There are over a dozen other operators who will take divers and snorkelers to the Kittiwake. For a…


Three Artificial Reefs. Three Days of Diving. Three Cayman Islands
September Issue. Diver Magazine.

By Stephen Weir
The buzz is back. Cayman Islands, best known for their reef walls, gin clear water and a high standard of dive services, is attracting wreck divers these days because of their growing inventory of artificial reefs. Have just threedive days and want to see the underside of all three Cayman Islands?There are underwater world-class military shipwrecks(well, two and a worthy commercial wreck) that have been sunk close to shore to allow for diving almost any day (or night) of the year on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. A year and a half ago the Cayman Dive Operators Association sank the USS Kittiwake on the North End of Grand Cayman Island’s 7-Mile Beach.Ever since, a Canadian run dive shop has been modifying the remains of the retired US Navy submarine tender, to make it both diver and snorkel friendly.It is now the hottest wreck dive in the Caribb…

Cayman Wreck Story. Flying to Grand Cayman from Canada and the US sidebar #4


Up in the Air about Wreck Diving off the Cayman Islands

How To Get There
Non Stop Service: Air Canada services the Caymansfrom Toronto three times weekly in season, reduced service the rest of the year.West Jet services the island three times weekly in season.
Other airlines:
American Airlines (Miami) Cayman Airways (Chicago / Dallas / Havana, Cuba / La Ceiba, Honduras / Kingston, Jamaica / Miami / Montego Bay, Jamaica / New York / Panama  | Tampa / Washington, DC / Cayman Brac) United Airlines  (Houston / Newark) Delta Airlines (Atlanta) US Airways (Charlotte / Philadelphia)
Late breaking news
Just as Diver Magazine was going to press, Jet Blue Airlines announced that beginning in November it would be offering, three times weekly, service between Cayman Islands and New York and Boston.Jet Blue is a favourite discount carrier for divers living in Ontario using the Buffalo NY and Detroit Mi airports.

Read the Diver Magazine feature by Stephen Weir, September 2012 cover story at:

Diving the Tibbets, err the Russian Destroyer, err the Koni II class anti-submarine frigate

Diving Cayman Brac's Historic Russian Destroyer
Off the north shore of Cayman Brac, in 1996, while film cameras whirled, Diver Magazine columnist Jean Michel Cousteau rode a decommissioned Cuban/Russian warship 30 metres down to sandy bottom close to shore. One of the world’s first artificial reefs for divers, the well publicized sinking made a worldwide statement about turning weapons of mass-destruction into eco-friendly tourist attractions!
The wreck is the only diveable Russian built warship in the Western Hemisphere.Prior to sinking, the 285 ft long ship (known as number 356) was named the Captain Keith Tibbetts after a local dive operator and businessman.The name hasn’t stuck too well, more often than not she is called the Russian destroyer even though she is a much smaller Koni II class anti-submarine frigate.
16 years after her sinking underwater journalist Stephen Weir, wearing a mini-underwater video camera strapped to his mask, revisited the crumbling wreck for a feature a…

You Tube - Snorkelling on the Kittiwake


Shipwreck to hold you breathe for!

My wife and I are going to Little Cayman on October 5th to photograph spawning coral (full moon phenomena every fall in the Caribbean).  Thought it was time to post videos on YouTube from my last trip.  Picture above is a frame grab from a short video I shot while snorkelling on the wreck of the Kittiwake.  She is an artifical reef off Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island.  Diver Magazine will soon be publishing a feature on three shipwrecks on three Cayman islands. 

(No idea who the snorkeller is!)

Italian Helicopter's Washington PR office flirts with Linked In to find Canada PR experts

It was the promise of American money dropping into my lap that got my attention.  All I had to do, the LinkedIn messages suggested, was to help a US based lobby group protect the reputation of an Italian helicopter manufacturer that could soon be in the cross-hairs of the Ontario Provincial Progressive Conservative Party and the Toronto Star. Piece of cake! The Italian company has sold helicopters to the province’s Ornge Air Ambulance operation at a possibly inflated price and people want to know why.At stake?  AgustaWestland’s ability to sell Italian made military helicopters in Canada and the United States. It is a great assignment for someone like me.  A little background: Three months ago Dan Hill, Washington Lobbyist for AgustaWestland helicopter (European military / civilian manufacturer) made contact. I gave him a price, a suggested plan of action. He then disappeared ... all in a coupla weeks.  Recently …