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While in the land also known as ‘One Happy Island’ aka Aruba, I got to do a few dives.

Two open water dives were off a chartered boat with tour guides from Jads Dive Center and one was a shore dive with no tour guide at all – just a buddy!

Prior to this trip, I had never experienced the freedom of diving without an instructor and the feeling was liberating!

Kristen Colapinto in Aruba

Kristen Colapinto in Aruba - Jeweled top, shorts and canvas beach bag by Charlotte Russe!

Aruba’s Southern Coast has some pretty amazing dive sites from extensive coral reefs, sunken planes and even a sunken German warship from World War II- the Antilla. At 400 feet long, the Antilla is one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks and has a pretty sad, but fascinating story.

“When Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the relationship between the two nations was obviously strained. As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this extended to Aruba. The Antilla was a German U-boat supply ship that was anchored off the coast of Aruba at the time. When a contingent of Dutch Marines told the Antilla to surrender, the captain asked for an extension, and the Dutch accepted and gave the ship 24 hours to surrender.

Read More After the Jump…

The Antilla was fairly new at the time, and rather than see her turned over to the enemy, the captain decided to scuttle the ship. After putting the crew ashore, he heated up the boilers, which were amidships, and opened the seacock. When the cold sea water hit the hot boilers, they exploded, ripping the ship in half. It sank in eight minutes.”

Aruba’s reefs are also home to some pretty large and colorful fish, lots of crabs and giant sea turtles. While I wasn’t lucky enough to see any giant sea turtles (who are apparently busy nesting on Eagle Beach)  – I did see schools of bright purple fish, a rather un – intimidating silver barracuda, and plenty of large beds of coral covered with sea life. Also, I enjoyed seeing a few French Angelfish which are yellow and black, lots of rainbow Parrotfish, and a few Grouper fish.

Photos are best viewed with the PicLens…

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I even saw a couple of lion fish, which are not only intruders to the Aruba coast but also extremely dangerous!!! One sting from one of the lion fish’s venomous dorsal fins and you better hope you get to a hospital in time!

lion fish

lion fish

Despite the close encounters, at no time did I feel unsafe. In fact, up to depths of over 100 feet below the surface, flowing with the ocean’s current, I felt completely at peace while exploring the sea bed.

Scuba Diving off the coast of Aruba

Scuba Diving off the coast of Aruba

Photos are best viewed with the PicLens…

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Before leaving the island, I even stopped by a Jads Dive Shop and bought my very own mask and snorkel – pink and black – the prettiest one I could find (which also fit my face perfectly with it’s silicone lining and smaller frame)! At $150, I had no idea that dive gear was so pricey. The fins and wetsuit are on hold until my next trip – but given the amount of diving I have done this year, I am sure they will be well worth the investment!