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Dive Review of SeaSaba/Juliana's in
Saba/Netherland Antilles

April, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Mary-Margaret Scholtens, AR, United States (1 report)
Report Number 4147
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
0-25 dives
Where else diving
Vortex Springs in Florida. 
Deadman's Reef, Grand Bahama.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
no decompression limit; back on the boat with 500 psi; instructions not to
touch anything in protected marine park; on one dive we were told not to go
below 110 ft.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
     As a new diver, with only 18 lifetime dives, I'm afraid I've set the
bar quite high with my first dive trip being to Saba.  I might never go
anywhere else!  I had heard so much about the incredible diving of the
protected reefs in the waters surrounding this little known volcanic
island. I had heard that Seasaba was not your average diving center, but a
real concierge service type place--one of the very best.  I had heard that
staying at Juliana's was like staying with family.  Everything I heard was
completely true.
     Saba has one of the shortest commercial airstrips in the world.  The
wind has to be just right for the Winair, from St. Maarten, to land. Even
then, the plane appears to be heading straight into a mountain wall before
it abruptly turns and glides onto the shortest commercial airstrip in the
world, coming to a stop just before the runway falls into the ocean below;
quite an adventure. Then Garvis Hassell, the taxi driver, from one of the
oldest families on Saba, gave us a historical tour as he drove us to our
cottage.  He was a good friend by the end of the trip. It is not hard to
get lost as there is only one road on the island, "the road that
couldn't be built." It snakes and hairpin turns its way through Hell's
Gate and then up to Windwardside where we stayed.  But for diving we
continued on down the other side called The Bottom, where the docks and the
medical school are located.  Don't think that because this island has a
medical school that it is very big at all.  Less than 1500 people live
there.  The villages are so quaint, the people so kind.  No crime and
everything is neat and clean. The streets are very steep so be prepared to
walk uphill. 

We began our first day with a hike to Mt. Scenery.  The views are great
with all the red-roofed houses, but most days the tip top is covered in a
veil of clouds. The trail of old moss covered steps and boulders is
surrounded in rain forest, lush and tropical.  Many different species of
life are still being discovered in Saba.  

The diving with SeaSaba is professional and efficient.  The schedules are
set up for you, the service is excellent with the divemasters help you get
tanks on and off and have your gear set up for you everyday and rinsed and
put away for you after the second dive. There are two dive boats and much
care is put into making sure divers with similar skills are placed on each
boat. Divers were not placed with snorkelers, beginners not placed with
advanced divers until the divemasters knew what they could handle. As we
hung out on the boat between dives, DM Troy offered cookies or fresh cut
pineapple and told us more of the wonderful history of this Dutch island. 
I felt like I was in extremely competent hands with Seasaba.  They gave a
dive breifing before each dive. They drew maps of the site and showed which
way we would go and what to look for.  

Saba has beautiful untouched reefs teeming with life.  The coral is
beautiful and healthy.  The fish, turtles, sharks, eels and rays are
numerous. One group saw whales. You can find many interesting phot-worthy
small creatures, too.  There are also resident frog fish and two
seahorses,(one very pregnant), lettuce sea slugs, spotted snake eels, and
yellowhead jawfish--even spawning tube sponges. The divemasters pointed out
lots of interesting life, but divers were able to explore on their own as
well.  The sand is mustard brown in some places and when you put your arm
in deep into the sand, it is hot, proving that this volcano is not extinct
but meerly dormant.  Reef life flourishes on the giant boulders that have
fallen from the steep cliffs and the lava flows below the surface. There is
a small wall with swim throughs and ledges with lots of interesting life
lurking underneath. On the Windward side of the island there are true
limestone reefs that can be visited when the weather is just right. Saba is
known for the pinnacle dives.  To reach the top of the pinnacles, we
descended to about 100 feet and then explored the abundant life, too deep
and protected to ever be harmed by hurricanes.  You can gaze down into the
abyss below and then look out into the far blue for approaching big
animals. We saw a black tip reef shark that decided to hang around us for a
while. The schools of fish are bigger. Really something to see.

Juliana's has cottages and rooms with a pool and Tropics Cafe which has
great food.  The cottages are tucked into lush tropical flowering plants
with front porches and hammocks.  Our bathroom was uniquely outside!  Open
the bathroom door and the boulders of the mountain form the back wall. Real
orchids and flowering vines grow from the crevases in the rocks.  A little
bird with a yellow belly joined me in the shower each day, bringing a new
meaning to singing in the shower.  Juliana's is owned by Johanna and Wim.
Her father headed the project to make Saba's waters a protected marine
park.  They were great.  

Saba has no beaches or highrise hotels and everything closes after dinner.
So this quiet island paradise is perfect for divers, hikers, and nature
lovers, but not for the average beach bum.  Visit for lots
of great information on Saba.  You won't be disappointed diving at Saba.
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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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