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Saba | Caribbean Explorer | Dive Sites | Prices
 
Saba, St Kitts & St Eustatius


Saba, or "The Rock", as it is popularly known, is the remains of an ancient volcanic plug that rises sheer from the depths of the Eastern Caribbean. With no beaches and a small population, Saba remains a time capsule of quaint colonial buildings and smiling, friendly people. Hanging baskets full of colourful flowers adorn every balcony in the pretty capital, The Bottom, set within the caldera of this long extinct volcano. The charming village of Windwardside, set high on a saddle between to hills, has some of the most commanding views in the Caribbean. Despite being only 5 square miles in area, Saba has some of the most exciting and untouched diving in the eastern Caribbean. Saba's volcanic pinnacles are quite unique; the most outstanding is Third Encounter, a pinnacle rising from over 1000ft of water only a few hundred yards from the shore. The highlight of a dive here is a swim through open water to The Eye of the Needle, a thin granite spire rising from vast depths to within 70ft of the surface. It is a magnet for clouds of reef fish, large groupers and patrolling black-tip sharks. Hard coral growth is as profuse here as on many the Indo-Pacific reefs.

Rare in other parts of the Caribbean, flying gurnards are often seen resting on the sand, their fins spread like a butterfly's wings, in supplication to the sun. Forests of sea fans sway in the currents, sprouting like trees from a forest floor. A wealth of invertebrate life can be found on the reefs of Saba; nudibranchs muching away at sponges, small anemones playing host to delicate pink shrimps, multi-coloured sponges of every concievable shape and size. One of Saba's best kept secrets are its resident frogfish, little nondescript blobs of yellow or orange that look remarkably like sponges. They sit upon the reef waiting for an unsuspecting dinner to swim too close...

An overnight steam from Saba takes you to St Kitts, where two wrecks, Talata and River Taw are home a wonderful array of soft corals, morays, snapper and bigeye. At night the wrecks come alive, with marbled morays free swimming in search of food, turtles resting under sheets of decking and giant basket sponges oozing across algae fields and hydroids. The surrounding turtle grass beds are home to arrow crabs, porcupine fish and gaudy ragworms. Palmers Paradise Reef rests below the battlements of Fort Brimstone, and the reef is littered with a number of ancient anchors, now encrusted with corals. Huge barrel sponges sprout for the contours of the reef, and schools of barracuda will circle you inquisitively.

Saba's reefs are protected by the Saba Marine Park, set up before they were ravaged, as they have been in Florida and other parts of the Caribbean. You will find few finer and more pristine marine environments anywhere in the Caribbean than at Saba. Because of the lack of beaches, diving is best done from a live-aboard dive vessel. This also facilitates access to three islands on the same weekly itinerary. The new Caribbean Explorer II affords such an opportunity.

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