Saba is a very small (5 square miles) but one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean. All of the homes and structures are maintained in excellent condition.
There is no real beach on Saba.
The diving is mostly deep water pinnacle diving and there are opportunities to see Hammerhead sharks. Divers should be comfortable and trained to dive to depths of 100-110feet to be comfortable diving in Saba. There are shallower dives too.
Saba Divers and Scouts Place
We visited Saba in August of 2006.
We were scheduled to fly from St. Martin to Saba on Winair, but our plane was delayed in San Juan Puerto Rico. We missed the flight. We were able to catch the Dawn II Ferry at 5 pm. It looks more like a freight boat than a ferry, but it does have room for about 20 passengers. The Ferry cost $40 each way and it takes about 2 1/2 hours to make the crossing.
Saba is a very steep mountain that pops out of the water. The Roads are extremely twisty and steep. It is the prettiest of all of the caribbean islands that I have visited. All of the buildings are white with red roofs and everything is very clean and well kept. Many of the island’s have the ‘slum’ look with cinderblock buildings, wrecked cars on the side of the roads and trash piles in the back of homes. Saba had none of this. The short 15 minute taxi from the islands only harbor to Scouts place quickly showed the new comer that this island is different.
We reserved a “Luxury Cottage Room” it was adequate. It was small, but clean. It had a very small deck with a view of the ocean. The room had a small refrigerator, coffee maker and a TV. The TV remote and TV were different brands, but it worked the old fashion way of pushing the buttons on the TV. The screen would pop up with a message of calling an 800 number to prevent loss of service every hour (TV was of interest due to 2 storms/ Hurricanes in progress). After the speech from the owners of “conserve water” and “If it is yellow, let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down” and “take very short showers and use the waste paper basket for toilet paper”…. I would not describe our room as a “Luxury Cottage.”
Scouts Place had their own restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was good and varied. However, I am the type that likes to explore and visit other restaurants for local flavor. The Swinging Door Restaurant is a very short walk and has Several BBQ nights. My Kitchen (Mijn Keuken) was an excellent restaurant that was a 5 minute walk from Scouts Place. My Kitchen is a place you must try if you visit the Windwardside, Saba.
Scouts Place owns Saba Divers. Saba Divers has Nitrox for free (same price as air $43 per dive). The dive shop is located in the harbour which is a 15 minute taxi ride from the hotel. The taxi fare is included in the dive price.
The diving is done from an older boat that would comfortably hold about 8 divers. There is very little shade and not much sitting room. 3 tank dives do not return to the dock between morning and afternoon dives. Basically it is 3 dives in a row with 60 minute surface intervals. Bring your own lunch and water. There is no food on the boat. They supply water in refilled water bottles. The refilling of water bottles was really tacky. The boat has no head.
The boat did not have a rinse tank for cameras. I dive with a Subal housed Nikon with dual strobes. They showed me a 2 gallon bucket that they suggested I put my camera in. After about 15 minutes of discussions on letting salt water dry on a camera and the costs of a flood they brought a 30 gallon trash can and filled it with salt water. Remember, conserve water. On shore they had 3 tanks for rinsing gear. 1 for wet suits, 1 for BCD’s and one for regulators masks and computers. I guess the regulator one will have to work for cameras too. They never changed the water in these tanks and the water was about 4 inches deep. The wet suit tank was quite murky after 4 days.
Our divemasters were fairly new to the island and did a decent job of trying to make everyone safe. They did not have the experience to know where all the critters were. They basically gave you a tour of the site pointing out the larger more obvious critters. They went too fast and too far for my tastes. I never asked to dive my own profile since I really do not think they would let me. As a photographer I like to hang way back to avoid the other divers. When I did this they asked me to stay closer.
If there are any new divers or inexperienced divers you will not dive the pinnacles since the shallowest dive on a pinnacle is about 90 to 100 feet. The deep pinnacle dives are not that great. The shallower dives are much better. The hard coral is bleached and much has died and is covered with algae from the bleaching event the occurred caribbean wide in 2005. There are still areas of soft coral that are quite colorful and healthy. There are flamingo tongues,
leech head sea slugs,
3 different colors of lettuce sea slugs,
cryptic tear drop crabs,
day swimming octopus
and other creatures to be found. If you dive slow enough, you will be entertained with some beautiful creatures. Sea horses and frog fish were not found. We did 1 muck dive around the boat moorings. This is not a “regular site” but if you like small critters and muck diving you will enjoy this area.