Aruba has several wreck dives that were intentionally sunk and others that suffered an attack. We had snorkeled the SS Antilla Wreck and enjoyed the snorkel so much that we decided to come back with our dive gear.
The SS Antilla was 397 feet long, had a 55.4 foot beam, weighed 4,400 gross tons. She was built in 1939 by Finkenwarder at Hamburg and was powered by two steam turbines.
Although she was a brand new German vessel, the ship was sunk intentionally by her captain. She was an unarmed ship used by the Germans to supply their submarines during WW II. She was nick-named the “Ghost Ship” by the allies who were never able to locate and attack the ship outside of neutral waters.
When Germany invaded Holland in May of 1940, the ship was moored
just off the shore of Aruba which is a Dutch territory. The local law enforcement immediately asked for her surrender but gave her captain a day to think about it. That night the Antilla was scuttled in order to prevent the ship’s capture. Her captain and crew were detained for the rest of the war in a prisoner war camp on the island of Bonaire.
The Ship now rests in 18-22 meters of water off the south side of Aruba.
She is one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean and rests intact on a
sand bottom making this one of the best wreck dives in the area.
Disclaimer: Sorry for the funny color on the photos, we forgot the red filter and I could not photo shop it well. But here you go…
Timing is everything when you give this site as you don’t want to be there with all of the tourists from the charter boats. There are a few windows during the day where the site is empty, but by the time we jumped in another dive boat and a small charter boat arrived. Once in the water, you quickly come to the stern of the boat which is only in about 12 meters of water.
The majority of the ship is covered in marine life including giant tube sponges, and coral formations.
We came across a couple of giant puffer fish and enjoyed following them around their home town.
Matt had camera duty so he captured me swimming around: