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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's in
Saba

Sea Saba/Juliana's, Jun, 2005,

by Lucius "Bud" Foster, MN, USA . Report 1772.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving California, Lake Superior, Hawaii, Jamaica, Cozumel Mexico, Anguilla B.W.I., S. Florida & Florida Keys, Bahamas, Roatan Honduras, & Palau
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Back on boat with a minimum 500 p.s.i.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The two dive boats run by Sea Saba have a large plastic container filled with saltwater for the cameras to stay in while on boat. Reason for saltwater and not fresh, no running water at dock. However, it keeps the cameras wet between dives so that they do not dry with salt water on them. They also provide a condensation hose (fresh water) at the rear of boats to rinse cameras. Camera/video storage under bench seats or in saltwater bucket.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I arrived to Saba on a short flight via St. Maarten on WinAir Airlines (www.fly-winair.com). The air strip is on the only flat space on the entire island. As you land you look up the enormus green beautiful cliffs that were oviously formed by volcano. The first thing I thought of was "I wonder how the locals drive these steep tight two lane mountainious roads?" Well, I was quit impressed with the two drivers Garvis and Manny that work with Sea Saba (www.seasaba.com). They pick you up and return you to the airport and drive you two the docks and back every day for diving, and yes very safely however, for those of you who take dramamine, take it so it starts to work just before the daily ride down the mountain to the dive boat docks every day. Sea Saba basically arranged everything for me. I started by sending e-mails to the few dive operations telling them I was coming for diving and where they thought I should stay. Lynn Costenaro, co owner with husband John Magor, of Sea Saba responded within 24hrs and e-mailed me information on everything including all the different places to stay that ranged from basically living off the land and enviroment to, we will massage your toes and feed you grapes while you relax in a spa type joints. It was obvious pretty quick that Sea Saba was the right operation. They took care of everything from airlines bookings with winair, reservations at resturants daily, transportation needed, were to go and what to do. By far I have never seen a dive operation take as much care of their divers visiting as Sea Saba does. Everyone that worked at the shop and on the dive boats were educated, wonderfull, and always quite pleasant. One of the dive intructors "Steve" always cracked me up because he sometimes sounded like Robin Leech of "Lifestyles of The Rich & Famous". I can always tell the way a good dive business is run by how there Divemasters (all Sea Saba's Divemasters are PADI Instructors) treat and care for the customers. They clean, hang, and store your dive gear on the boats everyday, have your gear ready, set up, and in place when you arrive, make sure everybody gets to dive there profiles, and will not dive a site if the currents are to strong or any un-safe issues arise because there are always other places to dive if one place is not happening. As far as the diving in Saba, It has the healthest reefs I have ever seen in the Carribean and Tom Van't Hof is the die hard enviromentilist responsible for getting the government to establish The Saba National Marine Park in 1987. It was established with the objective to preserve and manage Saba's marine resources. It was not developed to repair a damaged enviroment like most, but rather to ensure the continued quality of an extraordinary resource for the benifit and enjoyment of everyone. Tom has also been responsible for similar projects in Bonair and Curacao, some land base projects in Africa, and stopping dynamiting coral reef projects in Indonesia with the locals. Tom is also the father of Johanna van't Hof co-owner with husband Wim Schutten of Juliana's Hotel (were I stayed while in Saba) and Tropics Restaurant on the grounds. My room had two double beds with plenty of dresser and closet space, cable TV, instant coffie machine, mini fridge, a covered patio with a beautiful view of the jungle and ocean below, including a hamock to relax after a dive and fall asleep on, and hooks to hang wet stuff. The restroom had a single sink, standard john, and two people size stand up shower. There was no A/C but was not needed because the mountain cool air breeze came through the room everynight to keep you feeling perfect while sleeping and the sound of the tree frogs and leaves blowing in the slight wind mezmorized me to sleep everynight. Also, they have wireless internet so I could e-mail whoever I needed to with my laptop and the wireless service worked from my room at the pool or at the restaurant. That was a real plus for me. And for those of you who do not bring a laptop, there is a meeting/conferance/library room with a computer and printer on 24/7 for e-mailing home or what ever you need it for. Johanna and Wim made me feel like I was staying in there backyard cabin and I was an old friend visiting. It felt like a bed and breakfast and they cooked me meals of my choosing. Wim and I hit it of right away beacuse he was raised in California like myself and had that "hey dude" laid back mentality. Johanna and Wim do not have children but have two really cool dogs (labradors) Kane and I believe Thor that never sat in the resturant (not that it would of bothered me) but were always around to greet you and give you a lick if you like. The dogs will also go on hikes with you if you like. The hiking is breathtaking and not to be missed. As far as the restaurants on Windwardside (walking distance from Juliana's), they were all great and the food was always fresh. My favorite was the raviolli at Brigadoons and the smiles of Marylene who served me. Saba is clean, tropical, has awsome diving, great photo opportunities below and above water, no poverty, quite, crime free, and just what you would close your eyes and dream to go to with just three clicks of your heels after rush hour traffic and the local news of the daily negetivity stomping down your city life. I will defintely go back.
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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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