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March 2004 Vol. 19, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Do a Little Touring Too

from the March, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Caribbean Explorer II offers optional land tours of Saba, Statia, and St. Kitts. Not only were the tours interesting, but it was also nice to stretch my legs and meet local people. While I missed a dive to take each tour, it was well worth it, and I didn't miss a dive site.

Saba's cliffs rise dramatically 3,000 feet from the sea. Low-lying clouds frequently cover the conical peaks. "Uncle Joe" Levenston offers a 2.5-hour guided tour for $20/per person. The scenery of the island is great -- better than "Uncle Joe" (who would be well served by a microphone since people in the back of his van couldn't hear him) pointing out every tree, building, and house from the dock in Fort Bay through the six ecosystems of the rainforest leading to Mt. Scenery. The views from Saba are magnificent, especially those overlooking the four villages with colorful red roofs to the vast waters of the Caribbean.

Guide Joseph Percival took three of us on a three-hour tour of the lush, volcanic island of St. Kitts, where sugar cane is still harvested by machete. Goats, the island's "lawnmowers," graze by the side of the road. Driving out of Basseterre, we passed egrets nesting in trees (to protect their young from mongooses) and a landmark exhibiting petroglyphs of the Caribs. Seventyfive inches of rainfall preserve the lushness of the island's botanical gardens. A batik factory in the garden is high on the list of cruise visitors.

We had insufficient time for a visit to St. Eustatius, but tours are usually offered there as well. I was sorry to miss it, since the visits to the other two islands were well worth the missed dives.

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