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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Julianas] in

July, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by G. Tripp Jones MD, SC, US
Top Contributor   (52 reports, with 4 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5645
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Caymans, Truk, Bonaire, St. Lucia, Belize, Grenada, Bahamas, Turks and
Caicos, Australia,Roatan, etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
81   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Back on boat 500 psi.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
This was our dive shop's (Wateree Dive Center in Columbia, SC) 3rd biannual
"mystery" trip. We were given clues and not given the final
destination until one week prior to the trip. We flew from Charlotte to St.
Maarten and transferred by Winair to Saba. This is a short 20 minute
flight, but the landing on the "postage stamp" runway (1440 feet)
is hard to describe, but leaves you breathless. The road over the mountain
took 20 years to build and is an engineering marvel. The view is
indescribable and is breathtaking. The hotel, Juliana's, is simple, but
more than adequate. We asked for and got a fan to help with the warmth. Not
all rooms in the hotel are airconditioned and most of the time, was not a
problem. The onsite restaurant is very good  and the food is really better
than the usual fare. We had breakfast every morning and left by taxi for a
20 minute ride to the "harbor" where the dive boat is moored. Sea
Saba has a shop in town (Windwardside) and 2 boats moored in the harbor.
The briefings were adequate and the staff seemed good. Amy is a sweetheart
and good divemaster. We were told that all 17 of us would be one one boat,
but this was not the case on the morning of the first dive or thereafter.
Nitrox was available and the readings were consistent. All dives were led
down the bowline to the mooring.

The diving is good and the water was fairly clear and "green".
Most of the dives were good, with fairly good viz with good fish life. The
pinnacles were dived one day and was a good dive. All dives were led and if
you got ahead of the leader, you could be chastised.

The worst dive was Diamond Rocks. The boat is moored to a block at 85 feet
and you follow the bowline down to the block and swim over to the pinnacle.
The currents were varied and at times very brisk. Two divers had to return
early due to low air and others ran low. The currents became very brisk,
and the viz dropped. There was not a lot of coordination among the staff
and 2 divers ran out of air on the ladder.Several divers notified the
divemaster of low air, but did not feel like they were acknowledged. It was
not a good situation, and our group was experienced, not rookies.
Recommendations to the staff were given, but not necessarily accepted as
constructive recommendations. This was not a good second dive of the day.
With poor viz, they need a line from the pinnacle to the mooring block with
possibly a buoy at 20 feet or so attached to the line so to make it easier
to get to the block. All dives were down the bowline to the mooring, and we
were instructed to stay at 20 feet and descend together, which is a problem
with that many people at that depth.

The people of Saba are warm and the island is beautiful. I really enjoyed
the trip and our group enjoyed the entire trip, except for the one dive at
Diamond Rocks. Saba is a special place with wonderful people and
unbelievable views. Just don't get any little bit in front of the leader.
You could get your fin pulled just as you were taking a picture, as
happened to my wife. All in all, this was a good trip.
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All Saba Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to 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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