Tuesday, June 4, 2013

GO TO: Aruba

Alright, Aruba is not a prominent dive destination like neighbouring islands of Bonaire or Saba. But when I was working on the small Caribbean island the past six months, I noticed it has a lot to offer.

 Crystal blue waters under a bright sunny sky has attracted tourists to Aruba for years.
 Note: My photographic capability is not proffesional.

Aruba is a perfect family destination. The beaches are vast and among of the most beautiful in the world. Eagle Beach was voted the 4th best beach in the Caribbean by Traveler's Choice 2013 from Tripadvisor. And Baby Beach is resting on a good 15th place. 
Planes filled with Americans land every day on Aruba. Aruba is a very popular destination for Americans. Aruba has gone a huge transformation in the last decades, the island is filled with a restaurant of every possible American fastfood chain and the largest beach, Palm Beach, has transformed to a strip of high rise hotels, restaurants, casino's and shops. Personally, I am not a big fan of it. I prefer the low-key pensions and remote locations.
Let's move over to scuba diving on Aruba. People who celebrate their holidays on Aruba don't come for diving in the first place. Most tourists who take a walk on the beach and see a sign with TRY SCUBA DIVING will try it. So you have a lot of beginners or first-timers. And Aruba is a perfect location to take an introduction dive or to get certified. The waters are relatively calm and shallow. 'Scary sharks' usually stay out of Aruba's waters and there is an abundance of marine life.

A school of Yellow Grunt fish at Arashi Reef.

Also for advanced divers, Aruba has interesting things to offer. For more challenging dives, divers can go to the south or eastcoast. The eastcoast is normally very rough and because people usually don't dive here, the reefs are still very intact. The south and westcoast has a varity of wrecks to offer and the southcoast has some nice slopes with beautiful soft and hard coral. Snappers, jacks, barracudas, moray eels, angelfish, parrotfish, drum fish, lion fish, sea turtles and spotted eagle rays are common in the Aruban waters.

French Angelfish.

As I mentioned before, Aruba has a lot of nice wrecks to offer. The most famous one has to be the SS Antilla. The Antilla is the third biggest diveable wreck in the Caribbean! The Antilla was a German freighter and was sunk during the Second World War. It sure has a lot of history! The wreck lays on her portside with the bow positioned towards the island. She rests on a maximun of 17 meter/75 feet. Unfortunately, 
the wreck is destroyed pretty badly and still parts are falling of, making it dangerous to penetrate. The dive is perfect for beginners as well as for advanced divers.
One of my favorite dives in Aruba is the Jane Sea, a wreck in the south coast. The Jane Sea is perfectly intact and she stands majestically upright on the sea bottom, around 70 to 90 feet. The wreck is easy to penetrate. Beside the wreck is a beautiful reef, making the dive perfect for a wreck/drift dive on the reef.
The Sonesta Airplanes is also a very good dive in Aruba. Two air planes were sunk in the south coast. The planes are close to each other. One of them is quite damaged but the other one is perfectly intact. The best thing to do at this dive is to go inside the intact air plane in the back, then swimming al the way towards the cockpit. The chairs inside the plane have been removed making this very easy. Make sure to go really slow, because in the main time you will be ascending. You will enter the plane around 85 feet and leave the plane around 60 feet. If this is a little out of your skill level, it is a good idea to look through were once were the windows of the cockpit inside the plane.

Part of the Debbie II at Blue Reef.

I hope you enjoyed my first post on this blog! I have a lot of ideas so more will follow. I also want to add that this is not specifically a blog to read for divers. Of course I will be writing a lot about diving. If you are not a diver, I hope that maybe one day I can inspire you to go diving! Maybe you're thinking about it already! If you really think it won't be for you I only can say: I hope you will enjoy your 30 percent of the earth. 

Chao, Liselotte

All photos in this article are taken by me. 

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