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Day 19 - Oranjestad, Aruba

When & Where

semi-overcast 79 °F

The first in the ABC group of islands, Aruba is a favorite among Holland America guests and their repeat cruisers for its rich and unique culture as well as its stunning picture perfect landscape. It's very difficult to be unhappy in Aruba, an island that has only emerged as a major tourist destination and has therefor preserved a rich and colorful history.

Weather was actually a warm 79 °F, and partly cloudy.

Luckily, there was no language barrier in Aruba as locals are fluent in four languages - Dutch, Papiamento, English, and Spanish. This is evident in the vibrant combination of European customs and Latin influences. Aruba boasts some of the most pristine white sand beaches in the Caribbean. There is great natural landmarks such as the Natural Pool, and The Natural Bridge. There are also family friendly activities like going to the Ostrich Farm or Butterfly Farm.

I was excited for this stop as it would be my 2nd 2-tank dive with Red Sail Aruba. I was a little put-off at first as once we were in the boat and on our way, the dive master told everyone to set up their own equipment. After thinking of this, I was happy they did this as a Diver, you are suppose to know how to set everything up yourself. Even though it had been a long time for me, it was a great refresher to put it all together. A true self assurance.

We enjoyed a wreck dive at the Antilla - known locally as 'the ghost ship. The Antilla is a German freighter that was scuttled by the Germands in 1945 and is the second-largest wreck in the Caribbean at 400 feet long. Covered by giant tube sponges and coral formations, the wreck is surrounded by lobsters and many kinds of tropical fish. The Antilla dive has a maximum depth of 60 feet for approximately 40 minutes of bottom time.

Once we got back on the dive boat, and on our way to our second dive site, it did rain a bit and got a bit cold....so we all sort of huddled together and kept our dive suits on to keep warm. Thankfully, it was just a passing shower, and didn't affect our next dive.

The second-dive took place on a shallower wreck - the Pedernalis. The Pedernalis is an oil tanker that was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II. The wreck's several large pieces are spread out between coral formations, making visible cabins complete with sinks and other fittings, as well as the tanker's pipeline system. The area around the Pedernalis wreck is known for its many types of groupers and its bounty of angelfish. The dive had a maximum depth of 25 feet for approximately 40 minutes.

Once the dives were complete, and we were heading back to shore, I truly became aware of my initial haste and realized that as a scuba diver, you learn how to set up your equipment to become an Open Water diver. I think because it had been a while since my initial dive, and my previous dive in Mahahual, I had only put my equipment together a few times. Thankfully, Red Sail got me back to feeling comfortable in setting up my own equipment. They did double check everyone's gear before anyone went into the water, so it puts you back at ease.

Until Next Time,

Posted by Sluggoaafa 12:19 Archived in Aruba Tagged vacation america holland rotterdam carribean aruba hal oranjestad Comments (0)

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