Scuba Diving Locations
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Note: Location markers are meant as indications.
The Vera is a freighter that sank near Aruba in 1954 on its way from South to North America. The crewmen, who were saved by an Aruban captain, claimed that the cargo was Nazi gold and valuables.
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.
Father Piet Cave
Father Piet Cave can be reached from Rincon Beach by snorkelers. The waters are shallow, and the snorkeling conditions are excellent in both the cave and the clear lagoon at Rincon.
Many colorful fish inhabit the wreck of an old tugboat, the Captain Roger, lying just off the coast at Seroe Colorado. A steep coral reef nearby is accessible from shore.
At the Shark Caves you can get very close to sleeping nurse and sand sharks.
Punta Basora is the easternmost point of Aruba, from which a narrow reef stretches far out into the sea. On calm days, divers will see tuna, ballyhoo, eagle rays, stingrays, barracudas, dorados, hammerhead sharks and hawskbill and loggerhead turtles pass by on their way around this point of the island.
A wide reef stretches out along the coast by the Pet Cemetery-resplendent with elkhom and staghom coral, different kinds of finger and pencil coral, giant brain coral, mustard-hill coral, sea fans and the encrusted, leafy and square types of stinging coral. The reef continues on past Baby Beach, where it becomes narrower and steeper until you are past the Esso Club. Schools of sturgeon pass by, along with curious trunk and cowfish, triggerfish, large and small parrotfish, damselfish and gobies.
The widening reef past the entrance to the bay is very colorful, with an abundance of soft corals waving their branches in the currents. At Submarine Island, there is a deep ravine where you will see schools of large groupers.
Zeewijk & Savaneta
The stretch of reef from Zeewijk to Savaneta is very narrow, as the water becomes quite deep very close to the shore. There is less coral here, but more shells are found, a sign that nature divides its bounty evenly among its inhabitants.
Isla di Oro
The diving is excellent at Isla di Oro, where a wide stretch of reef grows far out along the shallow bank. French, gray and queen angelfish will swim up very close to you; porcupine fish can be seen hiding in the crevasses; brightly colored trumpet fish dart in and out among the coral and green moray eels peek out from their holes to see who is passing by.
Hole in the Wall & Mangel Halto
The Hole in the Wall is a very popular dive spot, since you can dive with the current past the steep and narrow reef wall all the way to Mangel Halto. At Mangel Halto, the current pushes you through the sandy channel back into the lagoon, where there is a beautiful, shady beach ideally suited for an afternoon of sunning, snorkeling or picnicking.
The Kappel is a relatively recent (November 2009) 51' wreck strategically placed on the sandy sea floor next to the Mangel Halto reef at a shallow depth of 35ft for easy access. Situated near the beautiful Mangel Halto Reef. A great dive site where anything from Green Moray Eels to the tiniest reef life can be seen on a dive.
The waters surrounding Palm Island are a colorful dive site, where the reef stretches on and on, hidden behind the serene mangroves of the reef islands. This part of the island's reef system, all the way to Oranjestad, is only accessible by boat but is very interesting, with its immense diversity of marine life. There are crevices in the reef where nurse sharks sleep during the day, allowing you to get very close and even touch them.
Jane C Wreck
The wreck of the Jane C lies just outside the coral reef west of Palm Island. The sea has taken possession of the wreck corals grow profusely on the steel plates of decks and cabins, and soft corals wave in the currents that flow in and out of the ports. This is a good spot for a night dive, when the polyps of the corals come out and the wreck seems enveloped in a halo of colors.
The Wall is a beautiful reef inhabited by a multitude of green sea turtles during egg laying season, from May to August. Diving over the edge down this steep wall is an exiting experience-gorgons spread their long branches; dark crevices and grottos hide groupers, murenes and burrfish. On the upper part of the reef are fine examples of star coral, flower coral and black coral, while enormous sheet corals abound closer to the shore. Grooved, knobby and smooth brain corals grow ever,/where in between together with scroll and ribbon corals. Rockbeautys, damselfish and porgys swim back and forth, while jackknife fish peer from under coral mounds. You could dive here for weeks and see something new every day.
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.
Renaissance Island, Two Submerged Planes, Oranjestad Harbor, Tugboat
Just in front of the Renaissance Island are two submerged planes that make an interesting dive site. The reef widens and improves again from here to the harbor exit of Oranjestad. 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, 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.
This wreck is located about 2 miles west of the Holiday Inn Resort and Hadicurari beach area. This coaster was built in Germany in 1964, and is 225 feet long. It is sunk at the dept of 60-65 ft and the wreck lies on its side. Expect to see ample quantities of small mouth grunts, barracudas and French Angel Fish.
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.
Information courtesy of Harry Buikhuizen.