Sunday, March 11, 2007

Saba Island

My captain decided we should return to West End, Tortola, my winter neighborhood, since he would again be traveling for his day job. But first we would add a little more distance to our journey to feed my hunger for another island and sail to Saba Island. Our departure was unexpectedly riveting and alarming as we tried to avoid and yet crossed paths with the big-boat fleet racing, each of us sailing at top speeds due to 24kt winds under full canvas.

The passage to Saba (SAY-bah) was fast and breathtaking as we watched her once volcanic peak grow with our approach. Upon reaching Fort Bay the fetch and rough chop prohibited us from safely going ashore to customs and immigration. To buy time we picked up a distant mooring where the winds forced us to have lunch down below. With an uncomfortable sea state and no relief in sight, we decided to take advantage of the wind and set sail for Tortola. Our landfall was not meant to be this time.

It does not take much research to learn that Saba is unlike other Caribbean islands and that Sabans have much to be proud of, including their tolerance of differences. I hope to experience it in person someday, but in the meantime I will share some fun facts. Saba is 5 sq miles and about 1500 people reside here where nearly every step you take is either up or down hill. Five completely separate temperature zones exist (try packing for that!) and visitors come for her village charm, ecotourism, hiking and diving, which is reputed to be the best in the Caribbean. There are no beaches, instead her steep shores fall into the sea in depths often too deep for anchoring, so it may be easier to take a ferry or plane from Sint Maarten.

Now you want to visit Saba too, don’t you?

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