Tuesday, April 08, 2014


We had a great time on Saba.  It is one of the unspoiled Caribbean islands.  There are no beaches, just great jagged cliffs reaching up to a height of 877 meters.  The cliffs are quite unstable when it rains the soil becomes loosened and big boulders come tumbling down the hills.  The villages on the island are perched on the side of hills, there being very little flat land anywhere on the island.  This island belongs to the Netherlands and apparently Queen Beatrice has commanded that all the houses be either white with red shutter or white with green shutters with red roofs and the effect is a fairyland in the villages, it is all very neat and clean.
We made four dives on the island and it certainly lived up to it's advanced billing as the best diving
spot in the Carribbean. The coral on the underwater walls was amazing with reds, oranges and purple
hard corals combining beautifully and in one spot the delicately coloured soft colours swayed gently in the surf.  The sponges varied from brown upright ones with mouths that were 40 cm across, to light purple stems as big around as a pop bottle, superb.  We saw nurse sharks sleeping under coral overhangs, spotted eagles rays gliding along and turtles flippering slowly by us, not in the least concerned.  The variety of fish was awesome, I bought a good fish identification book and started learning their names.  We were only going to do two dives and then figured what the heck we probably would not be in such a great spot for quite awhile so signed on for two more.  
The next day we decided to tackle the island's peak, Mount Scenery.  We took a cab up to the 
trailhead and made our way up the over one thousand steps to the top. 
The whole trail was a series of  stone and cement steps, sometimes there was three paces between steps so your legs got a rest from constantly stepping up.  The change in the vegetation was very noticeable and we were in virgin rainforest at the top. The giant elephant ears, the bromeliads hanging off the mahogany trees and the large ferns made a very lush forest.  Most days the top is clouded over and it was no different the day we went up.  We spent the last twenty minutes of the climb in dense cloud, that left up dripping wet.  

Although we did achieve the summit we unfortunately could not enjoy the view. On the way 
down we left the steps and took a nature trail to Bottom the village further down the mountain.  I had forgotten my map and we were heading down, unsure of the way, we were about to turn around when we met a young couple form Canada. 

He was from Sask. and she was formerly from Venezuela, they had a map and once we figured out we were on the correct trail we continued down with them.  It was nice to share stories with them, her parents had gone to school in the city where our daughter Jennifer spent a year on an exchange in Merida. Once past the village Barry and I continued down to the port.  The road is very steep and my ankles were sore from the constant breaking.  We descended the whole 877m that day.  The roads were only built in the 1940's so before that the paths that we took were the only way to get from village to village. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Saba, although the anchorage was really rolly once night.  I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  We are currently in Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin.  It is a duty free island and one of the premier vacation spots.  There are four cruise ships in town today and our boat is buffeted by the wake of boats ferrying holidayers back and forth.  We have purchased a new camera so perhaps our pictures will improve.  I have worn out the sandals I bought in Australia 2  and 1/2 years ago, the soles are both split under the ball of my foot and I managed to find a waterproof pair of Merrils that I put on in the shop and wore for the rest of the day without getting blisters or killing my feet so all is good.  We are hoping to head up to the British Virgin Islands on Thursday if the weather holds.