Aruba – Part 3May 3, 2006 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Travel, Travelogues | Leave a comment
I worked part of the day on Monday while Scott and John golfed and then baked in the sun in the afternoon. We hit the jackpot as far as dining experience – or rather they hit the jackpot when they handed us the check. The place was called the Flying Fishbone. It is located away from town right on the sand at the waters edge. One of my top 10 dining experiences ever – excellent combination of company, food, service and and incredible location. Everyone had their shoes off so they could put their feet in the sand. The food was superb.
Won $90 on the LA Clippers NBA Playoff Game, then lost $80 of it at the craps table. Lot's of Casinos here but they are small compared to Las Vegas. We had another great dinner in a totally different location off the beaten bath in downtown called Que Pasa. More reasonably priced. Very hot and humid though since the buildings were blocking the breeze.
Scott opted to sleep in and sunbathe at the beach instead of diving with John and I, said he has a mild hernia. Had one of the best dives yet – the 400+ ft wreck of the Antilla – the largest wreck that you can dive to in the Caribbean. It sits in only 50ft of water. It lies on its side so even snorkelers can see it. It is like diving a wall since it is about 40 feet wide. Pretty incredible experience. Here are pictures followed by some history.
In 1939, the Germans secretly deployed numerous U-boats across the Atlantic to the coast of South America. Five of these submarines were to make the ABC islands their base. Called the Neuland Gruppe, their mission was to attack Aruba and Curacao's refineries and to torpedo tankers carrying crude oil to the refineries from the Venezuelan oil fields in Lake Maracaibo. Serving as a supply boat for these submarines was the Antilla, a 400-foot German freighter, built in 1938 in Hamburg. Under the guise of a peaceful, commercial freighter working in the neutral waters of the Dutch islands, the Antilla secretly housed all supplies needed for the submarines and their crew, including a deadly arsenal – torpedoes, mines and other munitions.In 1940, Germany officially went to war against Holland and Aruba's Dutch powers demanded the surrender of the Antilla. But the captain of the Antilla went about sabotaging his ship – overheating the boilers, opening valves, closing drains and, finally, he blasted a hole in the side of his freighter. The ship sunk in less than 60 feet of water; the mast and chimney still emerging from the water.Lying on a bed of superb white sand, not far away from the coast and protected from the swell, the Antilla is a golden wreck for today's divers, a real war treasure. In the immense hull, the light plays through the portholes. Swarms of silversides fill the cargo hulls, creating elaborate circular forms as they pulsate in unison before your eyes.You can easily be led astray, down the endless corridors of the wreck, where you can still find some locked doors.