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This old ship: new reef and dive site

The USS Kittiwake will be sunk in the waters off Grand Cayman Island. The USS Kittiwake will be sunk in the waters off Grand Cayman Island. (Tim Mullane)
By Kari Bodnarchuk
Globe Correspondent / December 5, 2010

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Strap on your diving gear and get ready to explore the USS Kittiwake, a decommissioned submarine rescue vessel that will be sunk in the waters off Grand Cayman Island this month. At the dive site off Seven Mile Beach, snorkelers can visit the bridge of the 251-foot-long ship and look down through the smokestack and open hatches, all expected to lie about 15 feet below the surface. Divers can explore the ship’s five decks and all of its compartments , including the engine room. The Caribbean Sea submersion project marks the first time that a US Maritime Administration ship has been donated to a foreign country for the creation of an artificial reef. 345-949-8522, www.kittiwakecayman.com

China’s treasures in sight Ninety objects belonging to China’s 18th-century Qianlong Emperor are on display at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum until Jan. 9, in the exhibit “The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures From the Forbidden City.’’ The paintings, wall coverings, furniture, architectural elements, cloisonné and more come from Qianlong Garden, the emperor’s private retreat in a hidden part of Beijing’s imperial complex, and none has ever been on public display. The Mandarin Oriental, Boston is offering a special Forbidden City Treasures package that includes one night’s accommodations, round-trip transportation for two to the museum by private sedan, two admission tickets, a private guided tour, entry to the Yin Yu Tang House (a 200-year-old Chinese house reassembled on the museum grounds), and daily American breakfast for two at the hotel’s restaurant, Asana. Rates start at $765. 617-535-8880, www.mandarinoriental.com

KARI BODNARCHUK