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Dive Review of Se Saba/Daphne's Cottage in
Saba/Netherlands Antillies

Se Saba/Daphne's Cottage, May, 2005,

by Tom Garber, Ca, USA . Report 1768.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Channel Islands and Catalina Ca, Cozumel, Roatan, Grand Cayman, St. Eustatius
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 70 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Follow Divemaster or Dive your own computer.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Interesting subject matter. Saltwater rinse tub only on boat.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This is my favorite Caribbean island thus far. There are only about 1200 people there and the atmosphere is very laid back and relaxing. The Dutch village of Windwardside has enough restaurants, pubs (2 that we know of) and stores to provide everything you need with enough variety to keep things interesting for at least a week. If youre into resorts and nightlife, try another island. The scenery is spectacular and the diving rates with the best that I've seen in the Caribbean. I did 15 dives and never repeated a dive. With only around 25 30 dive sites, that speaks well for the dive operation. The dive masters asked us where we wanted to dive each day and did the best they could to accommodate all of the divers.
The briefings were informative and the dives were all good. We actually preferred the intermediate depth pinnacles, with greater bottom times and more sea life, over the deeper pinnacles. The boats had between 4 and 10 divers daily. The van would pick us up around 8:45 for the 15 minute drive to the harbor, we were usually back at the harbor around 1:00 after 2 dives. If you wanted to do a 3rd afternoon dive, the boat usually departed by 2:00 or so. I couldnt seem to muster up much interest for a night dive, but I think if I would have pressed the issue; Sea Saba would have taken me out without any other divers. They are a very organized and well run operation.
We did a multi island 2 week trip with stops at St. Eustatius (see St. Eustatius report) and St. Maarten, although we didnt dive St. Maarten. We booked our trip through Beth Jansen of Dive Saba Statia. Although a little confused in making our arrangements in the beginning, she got everything arranged and even called to check on us after checking our flights with Win Air and finding out that we had been involuntarily rescheduled.
Win Air is without a doubt, the worst airline that Ive ever dealt with. The planes appear to be safe with skilled pilots, but the ground staff couldnt care less about your baggage or lack there of or what flight you actually reserved. American Airlines lost our gear on the first flight from California, however it took WinAir 2 ½ days to get it to us on Statia. According to American, they had it the same day we departed the states. We made 4 flights with them (only booked 3) and never once traveled with our baggage. We couldnt even bring carry-on on the last flight back to St. Maarten. There was no head wind for take off, so the plane could not carry the extra weight. It was always a weight issue, since they travel fully loaded with passengers on all flights. Cant argue with the laws of physics, but you best be prepared to be without your stuff for awhile. We usually received our bags the same afternoon.
The planes had a hard time landing on the short 1,000 ft. runway for about 3 days during the week, so would either turn around and head back after looking at the wind sock or not come at all. After all, this runway is about the size of an aircraft carrier without the arresting gear. Even at that, when they do land, they only use about 300 ft. One guy waiting for his wife had her finally show up on the ferry after 3 days of delays. If you like to travel with your stuff and expect to go at the flight times you reserved, suggest you book The Edge, which is the ferry.
All in all, we truly enjoyed our time on Saba and Statia and if we did it again would skip spending any time on St Maarten. WinAir just made things more of an adventure, which is why we chose Saba in the first place.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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