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Dive Review of Sea Saba in

July, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Chuck Levine, PA, USA
Report Number 1806
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, St. Vincent, Turks and
Caicos, Florida, Pennsylvania, Bonaire
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
surge, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
130 feet, no decompression diving with computers  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Saba is a beautiful, clean and friendly island. Connections on Win-Air are
efficient and an experience to itself: landing on the world's shortest
commercial runway on the side of an extinct volcanic island must be
experienced! The handmade road winding up and around the mountainous island
is a remarkable testament to human engineering and perseverance (20 years
to build).

Windwardside is a quaint collection of stone houses with red galvanized
roofing planted on the side of the island hills. We stayed at Iris House, a
private cottage within walking distance of many tiny but well-appointed
restaurants and groceries, and just down the road from Sea Saba Dive
Center. The house is in need of repairs and updates, something the
off-island owners are reportedly going to take care of in August 2005.  The
rooms are small, the beds uncomfortable in the high humidity conditions.
Water pressure is low for the showers, the toilet leaked enough throughout
the week to deplete the water cisterns (water is collected from rains and
stored in the cisterns). Roosters crowing at 0400 each morning (and
throughout the full-moon nights!) made for restless nights and early
morning awakenings. Being somewhat isolated from other divers prevented the
usual pre/post diving kibitzing that we're accustomed to doing on vacation.
We'd have preferred to stay at Juliana's with the other divers we met
during the week.

Sea Saba is one of the oldest dive operations on Saba, and the store is
well-stocked with "T's and T'ings" plus the required PADI
paraphernalia. Owners Lynn and John were off island on their own vacation
most of the week we were on Saba, but Caroline kept things under control in
their absence. Sea Saba has two boats, each of which could hold 20 divers;
they limit each boat to a maximum of 10 divers plus two instructors working
as DMs. All 24 dive sites within the protected Saba Marine Park are within
a 5-15 minute boat ride from the Fort Bay harbor. As much as we wanted to
dive the famous pinnacles, strong currents plus the age of one of my girls
prevented us from diving them. We did get to dive the intermediate
pinnacles, though.  Other than one dive with >3kn current and
not-insignificant surge, all dives were very good with viz of 50-75ft.
Corals, sponges, and reef life were bountiful and healthy, and following
the DM was beneficial on most of the dives as they know the sites well.
Despite reports of a hammerhead and other reef sharks, we only saw a single
nurse shark.  Many turtles, many typical caribbean reef critters, most
unafraid of divers.

Restaurants are small and intimate, staff attentive, food very good to
excellent. Brigadoon for dinners, and Tropics for breakfast were our
favorites.  Family Bakery wheat bread is nirvana on earth! Nightly themed
meals, including slide shows and info about the ecology of Saba clearly
demonstrate the pride the Saba people have in their home.

Downsides: [1]Having to fly Continental out of Newark. I'd seriously
consider either USAirways out of Philadelphia/Charlotte or American via San
Juan before I'd ever use Continental again. Delays, lame excuses, lack of
apologies for same. [2]Being in a guest house situated away from other
divers. [3]Diving with new divers daily: because one of my girls is 14
years old, we seemed to always be on the boat with the newly arriving
divers, therefore "easy and intermediate" dive spots and profiles
daily. While understandable for safety reasons, it was not easy to develop
rapport with a group of divers over the course of the week as we've done on
previous vacations. Coupled with our isolation at Iris House this made us
feel distant.
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