Day 5 of our MSC Divina Cruise – Scuba Diving in Aruba
Day 5 was one of my favorite days of our MSC Divina Cruise. I was about to say “easily my favorite”, but then I started thinking about other days ahead of these and how much I loved them, too, and now I just can’t pick a favorite because there were so many great days.
Today we would be pulling into Aruba and we were super stoked. About a month before, we had gotten our scuba certification and this would be our first time diving in the Caribbean. I had made arrangements before our trip with Happy Divers Aruba to go Scuba Diving in Aruba. I researched a few places on trip advisor and this one had, what I felt, to be the most genuine reviews. The reviews also talked about how they kept their diving groups small, which was very important to me. Some outfitters go with groups way larger than they can manage, and that just opens the door for accidents.
Getting off the cruise ship in Aruba was relatively easy, but once we exited the port gates we weren’t quite sure where to go to meet the driver. We stood around, confused, for about 5 minutes, and then luckily our driver came walking speedily up to us, apologizing for being late. Island life means few roads, and unpredictable traffic. He was so nice and friendly that any frustration we had with our initial confusion and wait quickly melted away.
We drove in a van about 10-15 minutes from the terminal where the MSC Divina docked to a small dock where our captain was waiting, gear and everything already on board. There were two guys from Europe joining us – they didn’t talk much, likely because of the language barrier,but they seemed nice enough. Our captain drove us away from shore for about 5-10 minutes and we prepared to make our descent. They went over the safety instructions, and our driver/now guide made me feel so incredibly comfortable with what would be my first real-deal dive. I’m pretty terrified of the ocean – I’m a good swimmer, but terrified of what I can’t see below me (damn you, sharks). Luckily, once we got to the bottom of our dive location, I was so enamored with everything around me that I didn’t even think twice about any sharks that might be lurking nearby. It was such a peaceful and serene experience – we got to see a sea turtle up close (check out the video below to watch!), which was our primary objective, but also saw this huge crustacean with tentacles that were about a foot or two long, as well as a ton of beautiful and awesome fish.
Unfortunately, I haven’t perfected the art of not using my hands while diving (I’m Italian, what do you expect?) so I went through my air a bit faster than I should have. Our guide took us to the top to get to the boat safely, while the Euro dudes stayed close by down below. He descended back to them to finish up with them for about 5-10 minutes, and then they joined us on the boat.
Next up, we drove to a nearby ship wreck – the SS Antilla Shipwreck. The area was SUPER crowded with snorkelers and some other divers – our first dive was great because there was nobody around, so this was a bit of a change. We took a nice break for about 45 minutes before descending once again. Quick history lesson: The Antilla was docked off the coast of Aruba as a product of tensions from the War in 1939, and the crew ended up scuttling the ship as an alternative to having it taken over. It’s now a very popular dive site.
We geared up and then descended, circling around much of the sunken ship. It’s amazing to see how much wildlife has setup shop! No sea turtles here, but we did see an eel and a bunch of beautiful fish. It was pretty eerie, and towards the end I actually started getting cold (it was February, after all), but it was still a beautiful dive.
We spent a chilly 10 minutes heading back to the dock after a great set of dives, and were ready to grab some food! Back on shore, we paid for our dives (they took credit card, which was nice), and then headed to the restaurant right on the shore rather than walking around trying to find something else. The food was fine – we got burgers, but, to be fair, their menu wasn’t exactly geared towards any authentic local flair, so a burger was fair game. We enjoyed a cocktail or two, and then walked down the beach.
Once again, as beautiful as the beach was, we were ready to get back to the comfort of our beautiful ship. We bought some souvenirs, and took an inexpensive cab back with enough time to relax for a bit before dinner.
Dinner, as usual, was delicious. However, so…okay. One of the Yacht Club perks is that after 8 or 9pm (I can’t remember which now), you can order delicious Italian style pizzas directly to your room. Our waiter at Le Muse told us that it was imperative that we find a night to indulge, and maybe skip dinner that night. HA! Yea right. Skip dinner. Instead, we tried to eat a light-ish dinner, with every intention of ordering pizza. And. I’m not one to miss a food goal. So, we finished our dinner and wine, walked around the inside floors for a bit listening to music, and by 9pm we were in our pj’s with the pizza menu in our hands. We settled in as we waited for the two pizzas to be delivered, and watched ourselves a little Lie to Me (have you watched? It’s on Netflix – go watch, I’ll wait here…seriously…it’s really good). I’m pretty certain we were asleep before 11pm….but it was all so well worth it.
Day 6 of our MSC Divina Cruise – Relaxing Day at Sea
The next day was another day at sea. We did the usual – DEFINITELY went to the gym after our Fatty McFatty night, lounged on the pool deck with my grandparents, hung out in the Top Sail Lounge listening to The Martian on audible, and finished up with another delicious dinner at Le Muse – no pizza, this time.
Next up would be Panama, then Costa Rica, and finally Mexico. We weren’t even close to being ready for the adventure to end…
Stay tuned for adventures in Panama!