Map of Diving Locations
(West side of Aruba)
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Huge waves crash around the Cudarebo Rocks at the northernmost point of the island. On calm days, divers and snorkelers will encounter a multitude of fish here.
The steamer Californian was stranded on the rocks jutting out from Aruba's northwest coast.
Skeleton Cave, which can be entered between the coast and an enormous piece of broken rock, got its name when human bones were found here. It has not been established if they were from the Indians that lived in Aruba's caves long ago.
Artifacts from the wreck of a French Bark stranded on the rocks near the Natural Bridge wash ashore at nearby Andicuri Beach from time to time.
Black Beach was named for the rounded black stones that line the shore. It is the only bay on the island's north coast that is sheltered from the waves, allowing for safe diving. Many sea fans, fish and lobsters can be seen in the clear waters here.
At the entrance to Barcadera the coral grows thin due to the sand, which is the enemy of all coral - Only the bigger kinds, like staghorn, elkhom and pillar coral, grow near the reef islands. Further out, on the edge of the bank and out of reach of the sand, the other corals have a better chance of survival.
Just in front of the Renaissance Island (22) are two submerged planes (23) that make an interesting dive site. The reef widens and improves again from here to the harbor exit of Oranjestad (24). Past that is the harbor reef, with clear waters and an abundance of extremely high soft corals. Sometimes it feels as if you are swimming in the woods with strange trees all around. At the foot of this reef lies a tugboat (25), about 80 feet deep, that is the home of two giant green murenes.
This part of the coast has the calmest conditions for diving. The waters are shallow far out to sea, and there are widespread reefs and seagrass fields. All kinds of shells live here, octopuses abound, barracudas hunt for prey and many types of rays vying their way past.
The Pedernalis was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II. Rescuers towed it to shallow water and cut out the damaged middle part. The two halves were welded together, and the ship served as a troop transport for D Day.
The Rum Runner was an old wooden Danish fishing boat converted for tourist cruises. When it was no longer serviceable, it was sunk. It is now a habitat for fish, lobster and turtles, with corals and beautiful anemones growing on the hull.
The largest wreck in the South Caribbean, the Antilla, was a German freighter confiscated at the start of World War II. The German crew opened its valves and let it sink rather than be confiscated. This is a very popular day or night dive site, where everything that lives under the sea can be seen. You can pose for a photograph in the Captain's bathtub, which lies beside the wreck.
© Harry Buikhuizen - Reproduction Prohibited.