The diving was extraordinary! We’d been putting off going to Saba until we had our AOW certification and some experience under our belts and I’m definitely glad we did. We were able to dive all of the sites with complete confidence and focus on the unique underwater topography that makes Saba so special. When we first started diving, I said I’m not going below 50ft! I always had some magical number that was the max I’d go. Now a few years later I couldn’t get enough of the deep sites, who would have thought!
The island is surrounded by a marine park that’s been in place since 1987 and all of the sites we visited were very healthy & full of life. All sites are accessed only by boat and were within 15 minutes from the harbor.
The highlight of diving in Saba are the pinnacle sites. The pic to the right was taken from the bottom of Man O War Shoals, one of two shallow pinnacle sites. The other is Diamond Rock which is the only pinnacle that breaks the surface and gets its white color from bird poop! We loved both sites for different reasons but being at the base of Diamond Rock (80 ft) and looking up to where it breaks the surface was one of my favorite dives there.
My absolute favorite sites were the deep pinnacles. Even on nitrox these were short dives due to the depth. The first one we visited was ‘Twilight Zone’ and I’ve never experienced anything like it. The most shallow part of the site starts at 80 feet with most of the dive at around 100-105ft. The descents to these deep sites were surreal …. just dropping down into the blue, unable to see anything but blue all around until the pinnacle slowly comes into sight from the depths. I’ve replayed this descent in my mind over and over ever since. The pinnacles themselves are covered in corals & sponges and there were lots of friendly groupers, sea turtles, sharks & eels at all of them.
‘Third Encounter’ is the site where the famous ‘eye of the needle’ is. After descending to the main part of the site, you must swim out into the blue at around 100ft to find the ‘eye of the needle’. On the way to it there’s a point where all you can see is blue, I loved this, it felt so mysterious and made me feel so small. Then you see it, a narrow pinnacle just jutting up from the 1000+ foot bottom to around 90ft with nothing else around it. I just can’t put into words how stunning these sites are. I guess you’ll just have to go and see for yourself! After swimming around the needle we went back into the blue to the main site where the mooring line is for a slow ascent back to the boat.
Creature Sighting Highlights
- Twilight Zone – three nurse sharks sleeping together under a ledge. How cute is that!
- Third Encounter – one of the largest turtles I’ve ever seen, peacefully swimming around. Also, a nurse shark sleeping in a crevice. The best part about this shark was seeing it come into sight on the descent, from just the outline of it to full sight.
- Tent Reef – long snout seahorse! Finally! After over 70 dives and endless time spent searching for one, I finally saw one and it was awesome. It was a juvenile and on the move looking for its own personal territory to claim. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to watch it for a few minutes.
- Man O War Shoals – surrounding the base is a sandy bottom with a huge field of garden eels. I’m not sure if a group of garden eels is called a field but that’s what I call it. We took a great video of a spotted trunkfish blowing in the sand looking for food with the eels in the background. I’d upload it here but my free blog account won’t let me 🙂
- Third Encounter – two very large green moray eels fighting! They went at it for a good minute while we watched from close by. When they finally broke up both were visibly scuffed. I’ve never seen eels interact with each other before, that was a lucky find.
We’ll definitely be going back to Saba! I can’t live the rest of my life without experiencing the pinnacles at least one more time!
Warm thoughts to all!