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Dive Review of Sea Saba in
Saba

Sea Saba, Jul, 2005,

by Chuck Levine, PA, USA . Report 1806.

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

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 feet, no decompression diving with computers
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 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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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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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