Aruba is one of the most southerly of the Caribbean islands, with excellent living conditions for the multitude of nationalities who inhabit the place, coupled with the fabulous weather which it receives all year round. The friendly nature of its residents is one of the reasons many tourists return time and again, but the wonderful water sport opportunities are also a chief lure. Sailing and snorkeling are hugely popular, but for many it’s the chance to dive in Aruba that is the major factor for a return visit.
The dive sites are numerous, with the vast majority located off the southern and western coasts in protected areas, and offer the divers the prospects of swimming amongst a vast array of magnificent marine life. However, undoubtedly the one thing people look forward to more than anything else when they take a dive in Aruba, is the guarantee of exploring one of the half a dozen or so ship wrecks that can be found just off the island.
There is so much history lying around the shore of the tiny Caribbean paradise, much of it dating back to the second world war. An oil refinery in the area was seen as being of strategic importance at the time, and so became a target and this lead to a lake tanker named Pedernales, becoming the fist ship to get torpedoed. The two end sections were saved, but the mid-section sunk – this attracts a constant stream of people to explore what has become known as the Phoenix of Aruba.
Another famous wreck is that of the Jane Sea, which many of those who dive in Aruba have commented on having an eerie resemblance to that of the bow of the tragic liner The Titanic. The ship was deliberately sunk after major engine failure, and has become a top diving attraction. The Star Gerran is another ship that has been purposefully sent to the bottom of the waters, this one is located in the front of the high rise hotel area. However, this particular wreck has gained a rather unfortunate tag as the Cinderella of all Aruban shipwrecks, due to its origins in Germany, and the fact that it only attracts a fraction of the divers.
There is a very good reason for that fact, as many tourists are attracted by the largest cargo ship in the whole of the Caribbean, The Antilla. No Aruba diving adventure ever feels complete without a visit to this monster of a ship, measuring over 400 feet in length and another to be intentionally sunk, this time by its captain, to ensure it never fell into the possession of the allied forces. Folk travel from all corners of the globe to glimpse this historic vessel, which sits approximately one mile off the North West coast and is now seemingly home to some of the most spectacular looking marine life in the area.