There are many dive shops on the Island of Aruba, however, one of the most popular and the most professional that I have dealt with is known as Red Sail. If you are traveling to the island, you will find one of their agencies at almost every major hotel on the island and they also have a location downtown near the Cruise Ship terminals.
Even though there are numerous ships scattered throughout the area, there are three that I feel are must see. They are rich in both history and in sea life. They are:
1) Pediernalis Depth: 25 Feet
2) Antilla Depth: 50 Feet
3) Blue Reef Depth: 70 Feet
The Dive Masters for Red Sail are the best my wife and I have been around in all our travels diving. They take a lot of pride in what they do, and make it a point to fully give you the history of the dive location; also they explain how the ships came to rest at its current location. One of them was even able to help my wife overcome her issues with sea sickness that she experiences when we surface after our dives.
All the dive shops in Aruba are more than happy to rent you your gear if you decide not to travel with your own. My wife and I travel with everything but our weights and tanks. These are supplied free of charge on all dives that Red Sail offers. The waters off Aruba are very clear and warm enough that we are able to dive down to around the 70 foot mark and still don’t find a need to wear a wet suit. There is very little thermoclines in the waters off of Aruba.
If you are interested in just doing some shore diving while in Aruba, you can visit a location known as Baby Beach on the far south side of the island. There, you can rent dive or snorkel gear locally and just dive from shore. There is very little current at this location and the fish life is abundant.
For the vacationer that wants to experience the world down under, but have not taken the time to get certified. Red Sail does offer a PADI Open Water Certification course or you can choose to attend their basic skill course in the pool at one of the local hotels. After the morning training session in the pool they then take you out to one of the ships that are shallow, less than 25 feet, and will take you down to explore that ship location. Twenty-Five feet is the deepest they are allowed to take someone that is not Open Water Certified.
Another option for tourist is a place called Palm Island (Owned and operated by Palm Tours). On Palm Island they offer two types of underwater exploring:
1) Snuba Dive: This is where you are attached to the surface by a line, but swim as if you are still diving with everything but the tank.
2) Trek: This is where you are attached again to the surface with an air line but you have a helmet on that they pump air into. The helmet looks a lot like the people in 20,000 leagues under the sea.
People we have talk to tell us that the only dive location better in the world than Aruba is Bonaire. My wife and I are already trying to plan for our trip there to see if they are right. Once we do dive Bonaire we will share it with you and tell you if it truly is better, we cannot imagine anything better than Aruba right now.
One of the first things people who are interested in scuba diving must do is learn about the various pieces of equipment needed. The list of necessary gear is not very long and it is possible for beginners to rent certain items until they gain more experience. Individuals learning to dive will usually need at the minimum a mask, fins and dive rig.
The mask creates an air pocket around the eyes since the human eye is unable to focus underwater. A mask also encloses the nose to allow the user to adjust to pressure changes in deep water. Tempered glass in the faceplate will not fog up like plastic and will not produce jagged edges if broken. Optional features include a purge valve to eliminate water and prescription lenses for individuals who normally wear contact lenses or glasses.
Divers wear fins on the feet to have a large, flat surface to push water away. Since the legs propel the body through the water, it frees up the hands to explore the surroundings. Some people prefer adjustable fins with an open heel and these require the user to wear wet suit booties for protection. The full foot version slips on like a loafer and is not adjustable.
The rig consists of a tank and dive regulator. The tank is a cylinder containing compressed air. Most tanks are made of steel alloy or aluminum allow. The regulator attaches to the cylinder valve and converts the highly pressurized air to the pressure required for normal breathing.
Many beginners will start out renting a rig until they become familiar with what is available and have the experience needed to choose something for long-term use. The professionals working at a local dive shop can answer questions and help beginners get started. Scuba diving is fun activity for individuals who like a little adventure with their recreation.
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