The saga of the Kittiwake door

It’s easy enough to get carried away at a live auction; there are countless examples of people bidding over their budget in the heat of the moment.

Then there are other individuals who can afford what they have bought, but didn’t quite think through how they might get their new purchase home again.

One of these people is Jerry Beaty, associate publisher of Dive Training Magazine and Dive Center Business.

“After seven years of hard work – done mostly by Nancy and Jay Easterbrook – and a lot of money, the ship was down and I had dived her,” Mr. Beaty said. “As associate publisher for Dive Training Magazine we had been the very first financial sponsor for the project. We were all a bit giddy and on some euphoric high. That evening at the celebration party the mood was relived and joyous.”
And so came the auction for various items, beginning at 8pm, Mr. Beaty recalled.

“One item was this door off the dive deck of the ship. I started bidding to try to make sure we got as much as we could for it, when I realised I had just bought it.

“That was the first time it hit me that I had bought a 6-foot door that weighs several hundred pounds, it was in Grand Cayman and I lived in Texas. Too big to carry and too heavy to ship – I had a problem,” he said, sagely.

The adventures continue

Then Jay Easterbrook suggested approaching the captain of the tug boat, America, which had towed the Kittiwake from Norfolk, Virginia to Grand Cayman.

“We did and not only did he agree but he offered that one of his crew was from Texas and would drive it down in his pick up. Well, we did just that the next morning and that was to be the last I saw of that door until just the other day,” Mr. Beaty said.

This being the Kittiwake, things were never going to be as simple as all that, of course.

“Seems the ship ran into trouble in the Florida Keys, then was rerouted to the Gulf of Mexico and what other adventures I’m still not sure,” he said. “But, now one year and two months after that door sailed away it is safely in my possession. It will soon be hung in my den with a video slide show of the history and sinking of the USS Kittiwake playing next to it.”