Caribbean Cruise – Aruba!

January 27, 2015 at 8:43 am Leave a comment

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On January 5th our cruise ship arrived in Oranjestad, Aruba.  I was so excited because this was the stop where we had scheduled a snorkeling trip.  I had contacted Captain Rene’s “Private Snorkeling Aruba” site and set up a trip for 5 of us.  We headed out in a taxi to MooMba Beach.

MooMba Beach

MooMba Beach

Susie, Karen, Jon and Charles waiting for Captain Rene

Susie, Karen, Jon and Charles waiting for Captain Rene

As soon as I met Captain Rene I realized he was Dutch (I love my Dutch heritage) so I immediately liked him!  It turned out that he was exceptionally nice, funny, helpful and just a joy to be with during our trip.

Heading to our snorkeling site with Captain Rene

Heading to our snorkeling site with Captain Rene

Our time snorkeling was fantastic!  We saw lots of fish and coral, and just enjoyed floating around in the water.

Having a blast in Aruba!

Having a blast in Aruba!

Next we headed to Malmok Bay to take a look at the sunken ship Antilla.  This ship has an interesting, very short history.

"Antilla" by unbekannt, Foto aus dem Jahr 1939 - http://willemsubmerged.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/antilla-1-copy1.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antilla.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Antilla.jpg

“Antilla” by unbekannt, Foto aus dem Jahr 1939 – http://willemsubmerged.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/antilla-1-copy1.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

SS Antilla (1939)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SS Antilla was a Hamburg America Line cargo ship that was launched in 1939 and scuttled in 1940.

Antilla was built for trade between Germany and the Caribbean.  On 15 July 1939 Antilla left Hamburg on her maiden voyage, which took her to the Caribbean. On 9 August Antilla left Curaçao for Galveston, Texas, where she loaded 3,000 tons of sulphur for Europe. En route the captain received several coded messages directing him to leave main shipping lanes and to alter their ships’ names and appearance, communicate only in code and return to Germany as soon as possible.  If the ship was not able to return to Germany within 4 days he was to find refuge in neutral ports.

On 1 September, the day Germany invaded Poland, Antilla sailed for neutral Curaçao. However, en route the captain learnt that Willemstad Harbour was already full of German merchant ships, so he changed course for Aruba and anchored in Oranjestad.

On 10 May Germany invaded the Netherlands so the Dutch government ordered the seizure of all German ships in the Dutch Antilles. The German crew immediately started scuttling Antilla. They were not going to hand the ship over to the Netherlands.  At 0500 hrs the Dutch marines boarded the ship. The Marines escorted the crew ashore in a lifeboat and handed them into the custody of the Royal Marechaussee.  By the time the Netherlands Coastguard came back to board the ship, they found it on fire and sinking.

Antilla lies in Malmok Bay, Aruba in just 60 feet of water and is one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks and a popular dive and snorkel sites because of its location in shallow waters.

The sunken ship Antilla

The sunken ship Antilla

Because of the rough waters, I wasn’t able to see the ship.  But Charles snorkeled out and was thrilled to get a chance to see it.

After a beautiful afternoon on the water, we reluctantly headed back to shore.  The rum punch that was served on our way back made it a little easier to accept our trip was over 🙂

Susie, Charles and I enjoying our rum punch on our way back to shore

Susie, Charles and I enjoying our rum punch on our way back to shore

Next stop – Curacao!

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