Diving and Snorkeling in Saba
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Diving and Snorkeling
Saba is one of the world's premier scuba-diving destinations. Visibility is extraordinary, and dive sites are alive with corals and other sea creatures. Within ½ mile (¾ km) of shore, seawalls drop to depths of more than 1,000 feet. The Saba National Marine Park, which includes shoals, reefs, and seawalls rich with corals and fish, is dedicated to preserving its marine life.
Divers have a pick of 28 sites, including Third Encounter, a top-rated pinnacle dive (usually to about 110 feet) for advanced divers, with plentiful fish and spectacular coral; Man of War Shoals, another popular pinnacle dive (70 feet), with myriad fish and coral; and Ladder Labyrinth, a formation of ridges and alleys (down to 80 feet), where likely sightings include grouper, sea turtles, and sharks.
Snorkelers shouldn't feel left out: the marine park has several marked spots where reefs or rocks sit in shallow water. Among these sites is Torrens Point on the northwest side of the island. Waterproof maps are available from the marine park, the Saba Conservation Foundation, or dive shops.
Expect to pay about $50 for a one-tank dive, around $90 for a two-tank dive. There is also a mandatory $3 dive fee imposed by the Saba Marine Park plus a $1 per night nature fee and a $1 charge per dive for the hyperbaric chamber.
Saba Deep. If you're looking for a very personal, one-on-one dive experience, try Saba Deep, which tends to take out smaller groups. The company offers PADI- and/or NAUI-certified instructors. They also offer Nitrox diving. Fort Bay. 599/416-3347. www.sabadeep.com.
Saba Divers. Saba Divers offers multilingual instruction, making it a great option for anyone interested in meeting international divers or in practicing their language skills. It's the only outfit on the island that allows its customers to dive with Nitrox for free. Windwardside. 599/416-2740. www.sabadivers.com.
Sea Saba. All of Sea Saba's excursions are accompanied by at least two dive instructors and can include up to 10 divers on one of two 40-foot boats. The staff is both knowledgeable and jovial, making a day on the boat illuminating and enjoyable for any diver. Windwardside. 599/416-2246. www.seasaba.com.
Sea and Learn. Every October, local dive operator Lynn Costenaro, of Sea Saba, orchestrates an event that has become an international attraction. Sea and Learn is when pharmacologists, biologists, and other nature experts from all over the world descend on Saba to give presentations, lead field trips, and show off research projects, all of which are designed to increase environmental awareness. Past events have included monitoring undersea octopus checkpoints and studying the medicinal value of indigenous plants. There are even special events for kids. And best of all, it's free. You can sign up online. 599/416-2246. www.seaandlearn.org.
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