Tired of diving shipwrecks and looking for something unique to pique your interest underwater? How about the opportunity to dive and explore not just one, but two airplane wrecks and be able to swim through them as well? Aruba, a 33-kilometer (21 mi) long Island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, can offer you the chance to do just that.
Aruba has two sunken airplanes an YS-11 and a Convair 240 (or a DC-3) both intentionally sunk as an artificial reef for Scuba Divers rest in the same waters becoming major dive attractions and a must-do dive for anyone visiting Aruba.
The Convair 240 or DC-3 (debatable) is a 40 seater aircraft 74 ft (22.76 m) in length, which was confiscated during a drug-bust in the late 1980s and later sunk by the authorities as an artificial reef. The aircraft was sunk shallow in the Sonesta reef just off the coast, but has moved to a depth of 80 feet after Hurricane Lenny hit in 1999 which also cut the fuselage into two big pieces. Other parts of the plane are located at a depth of 45 feet on the sloping reef. The Convair 240 is still penetrable, and divers can easily explore the interior of the fuselage offering divers a fantastic photo opportunity. The Convair 240 is resting in the Sonesta coral reef, which is a sandy bottom reef surrounded by soft corals and colorful sponges.
The second airplane is a Japanese manufactured NAMC YS-11 turboprop passenger airliner belonging to Air Aruba which had outlived its service and was donated to the Aruba Water Sports Association who in 2004 sunk the 60ft long passenger airplane weighing close to 13 tons and it came to a rest at 45 feet with its tail section resting at 75 feet making the airplane appear poised for take-off. The cockpit is still intact, though the nose cone has fallen off, and it is possible to dive through the fuselage of the airplane. The YS-11 is presents an eerie sight as its resting on its landing gear with its nose pointing towards the island inclined upwards almost as if it wants to lift-off from the Sonesta reef.
Both the Convair 240 and the YS-11 airplanes are situated close to the shoreline and can be easily accessed by boat or by a shore dive. These wrecks are simply alluring owing to the ‘out-of-place’ feeling you get when sighting an aircraft underwater, and are truly unique photo opportunities for divers.