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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's Hotel in

Sea Saba/Juliana's Hotel, Jul, 2006,

by Todd Lichtenstein, NJ, USA (Contributor Contributor 12 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 2590.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This is a pleasant Caribbean dive location. The coral is ok, though there's lots of algae. Very few large pelagics, not a lot schooling fish. Some turtles -- we saw at least 4 or 5. Lots of jellyfish near the surface -- minor stings, nothing serious. Interesting small critters: seahorses, flamingo tongues, arrow crabs, lettuce-leaf sea slugs, several varieties of colorful shrimp. The grouper population seems much diminished from our first visit in 1988.

The entry from the dock to the boat can be difficult, and reverse is even trickier. There is no ladder or gang plank. I wish they could devise an easier system. I have been around boats all my life and I say this as an experienced sailor.

The island is quiet and the people very friendly. Thanks to the fairly new medical school there are now some very good restaurants. The prices are less than half that of some of the other Carribean islands.

We dived with Sea Saba. Their operation was run very efficiently. We were picked up at our hotel at 8:45a by a van which took us down to the dock about 1500 ft below the town where we stayed. We did a two tank morning dive which usually ended around 1pm. If you wanted to do a third afternoon dive you could not go back up to the hotel. You had to either bring food with you or buy some at the one restaurant down by the dock. You only had about a half an hour between when the boat tied up at the dock and left again. They do have Nitrox and they encourage its use. We dived with Nitrox 32 the whole week and it cost us $59 per person extra. Boats are not crowded -- never more than 10 divers on our boat the whole week. Sea Saba often ran two boats, organized by the experience level of the divers.

Juliana's Hotel is not elegant but is clean and perfectly serviceable, and very conveniently located in Windwardside. Rooms have balconies, and ocean-view rooms look out over nothing but rain forest and ocean -- lovely. No a/c but ceiling fans provide adequate cooling at night. Some rooms have ventilation on three sides. Rooms have refrigerators, coffee service, TV. Free internet is available for guests. Rates include free breakfast, though only a limited selection is actually free; most selections, like Wim's terrific French toast, are available for a surcharge. Staff and managers work hard to assure their guests' comfort, and there's a charming population of cats and dogs.

Restaurants on the island are very good. Among the best were a great french meal at The Gate House, wonderful lobster at Brigadoon, good pizza and burgers at Saba's Treasure, and excellent burgers, Dutch fries and sandwiches at Tropics.

Be very cautious about hiking on Saba. Not necessarily because of the altitude, but because the trails can be very slippery with wet moss-covered stones. We also found that the information we were given as to the level of difficulty of the trails was totally wrong. We did not hike up to Mt. Scenery, but we did go on the Sandy Cruz trail which we found extremely difficult and arduous. Regardless of what anyone tells you to the contrary, if you intend to hike, bring hiking boots.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Belize, Caymans, Galapagos, Papua New Guinea, Channel Islands, Cocos, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits enforced,most of diving as a group with the divemaster; usually the only time limit was NDL
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 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments They did have a rinse tank on the boat, but I had to ask them to fill it with water the first day. Not really set up for photographers. There were a few people with small still cameras. I was the only one with video.
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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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