Overview: On the whole Saba is a great dive destination for underwater photography or video, diving is easy and the marine life isn’t overly wary of divers. I would recommend a dive vacation here. The island is very special where only 25 seater planes can land and hence restricted amounts of tourists come here, leaving the island largely unchanged after 150 years of habitation. Saba is an inactive volcano and shaped like one. The locals are all friendly and their only source of income is diving and hiking tourism. But both are well managed.
Fish Life: I was disappointed to only see a nurse shark and no other ‘big’ animals. I remember seeing plenty of reef sharks on my past visits. All the dive sites are in the marine park so there are plenty of fish and especially large groupers.
Reef Health: The corals and sponges were abundant but there was significant algae growth on these deeper reefs. This surprised me because there is minimal pollution or rain water run-off from the island. There are no beaches to speak of, what sand there is is black/grey and so does not reduce visibility. Very little gets deposited on the reefs. The depths around the volcanic island are very deep and the currents keep the reefs clean.
Highlights: The highlight for me was Diamond Rock. You can easily dive all the way round. Max depth of 80 feet but theres so much life at all levels you don’t need to go deep. I would liked to have dived this more than once, next time I will.
Dive Centre/Boat Service: We dived with Saba Deep and ‘big’ Mike was our dive leader. He has dived Saba for more than 30 years and is very knowledgable about the diving and marine life. The service was excellent as were his dive briefings. Our equipment was cleaned and stored each day and on the boat ready for us every morning. Absolutely no lifting was allowed, perfect.
First Time/Return: I recently had a fabulous dive trip to Saba. I was returning after a 24 year absence and very keen to re-dive the pinnacles -: Outer Limits, Third Encounter and Twilight Zone.
Current/Vis: The visibility was excellent and there were masses of fish, especially very large groupers. All the dive areas are in the Marine Park, as mentioned above, so spear fishing is prohibited. Although local divers are currently encouraged to spearfish any Lionfish they come across. Lionfish were introduced by accident from an aquarium off Florida some years ago and have no natural predator in the Atlantic or Caribbean Sea. They are also ferocious feeders.
Favourite dive site: Outer Limits, Third Encounter and Twilight Zone. The pinnacle dives were pretty awesome especially the ‘Eye of the Needle’ which is a slender pinnacle a short distance off Third Encounter. It is covered in corals and sponge growth and plenty of fish. A wide angle lens is needed to do it justice and good visibility. The shallower second dive sites such as Ladder Labyrinth and Tent reef have masses of interesting small species and macro subjects. We saw a beautiful Yellow head Jawfish on the Labyrinth, a highlight for me. I would have taken more video but it was at 55 feet and I ran out of bottom time. They have a dive site called Hot springs, where the sand is warm and bubbles come up.
Marine Park: Diving is a major tourist industry here so they take great care to protect the reefs. The Saba National Marine Park was established in 1987. www.sabapark.org
Other: If anyone wishes more information about Saba please feel free to get in touch.
Hotels: There are a number of small hotels here and nothing large, all personally run by people who love the island. It is also possible to rent houses if you prefer. There are a handful of shops and restaurants but on the whole this is a ‘go back in time’ kind of place where most habitation is high up in the luck vegetation.