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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's in

June, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Lucius "Bud" Foster, MN, USA
Report Number 1772
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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, &
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Back on boat with a minimum 500 p.s.i.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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
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 $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
I arrived to Saba on a short flight via St. Maarten on WinAir Airlines
( 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 (  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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