Sunday 24 Feb, Saba day 3: Scuba diving and rough ferry ride back to St. Martin.
Early rise for an action day again. But not exactly bubbling with energy as I hardly slept last night.
After another very yummy breakfast we get picked up by taxi and head down to the harbour where the Sea Saba diving boat crew is waiting for us. And we make it clear that we want to dive a pinnacle today. Our proposal gets voted for, no objections, so a pinnacle will be the first dive of the day. Hurray, that’s what we came here for.
The shallowest pinnacle is at the Twilight Zone dive site and it starts at a depth of 80ft With Nitrox we should dive to max 100ft to be well within the limits. So this site should be good. The ride there is relatively quick, but the sea is very rough. Hm, is this a good idea?
Before we have too much time to think about sea condition, our equipment is ready and we do a backward roll into the sea. The descent is along the mooring line and as we get deeper we start seeing the pinnacle. Quite a sight.
It’s not a large surface to explore, as we just go around the tip of this underwater mountain. But the sea life is amazing. We immediately see several Caribbean reef sharks, a large barracuda, a large adult hawksbill turtle, nassau grouper, lion-fish, and the usual variety of small colorful exotic fish. We are mesmerized. Well, in between looking at our gauges to make sure we don’t go below the allowed depth, which distracted me a fair bit. But overall it was a very interesting dive, glad we managed to tick off a pinnacle dive.
The peaceful feeling of the diving ended when we got to the surface, the dive boat pitching next to our heads and its transom lifting more than one meter and then slamming back down. This is my least favorite part: acrobatics to get back on the boat, with all the dive gear pulling me down. And in these sea conditions it was frightening. Glen was there to help me out, as usual, and I was returned to the safety of the boat in one piece.
For the duration of the surface time we returned to the harbour to pick up another diver. He works for an engineering company and they have successfully finalized the project they worked on for the last 10 weeks: installing solar panels and making Saba energy efficient. The entire island now runs only on the energy produced by these solar panels, and all the cables are run underground.
For the second dive we go to a nearby site, Tent Wall. The sea is slightly less rough here, but I don’t feel like going in the water again. So for the second dive Glen goes without me, with the mission to capture the best findings on camera for me to watch later. He surfaces 45 minutes later, pleased with what he saw.
Once the diving is finished and we are dropped off in the harbour, a race against time starts. The ferry for St. Maarten leaves at 3.30pm. So we have two hours to return to the hotel, shower, pack, check out, go to dive center to settle the bill and get our log books stamped, and if some minutes to spare have some lunch too.
Despite the taxi which was late 20 minutes, we do achieve all the above and actually sit for a rushed but decent lunch in the hotel.
It is quite sunny today and feels warmer than in the previous two days. And as the taxi drives us on the bendy road for the last time, we are in agreement that Saba is a beautiful island. Unspoiled, clean, tidy, very friendly people, well managed, very good restaurants. We are very glad we came to visit, although our stay was a bit short.
The ferry ride back to St. Maarten was a rather rough one to say the least. The movement of this high speed catamaran slamming into the waves could be described as a spinning washing machine on a roller coaster. We’ve had plenty of waves washing right over the top of the cabin, and passengers moving from one seat to the other hoping that they would feel less sick. And to add to the “adventure”, a floating line got caught around the bow and the crew had to pull it in. Glen gave them a hand to bring it in. Very long line, several hundred meters, and has been in the water for a while as it was covered in barnacles.
After 1h40’ the uncomfortable journey ends and we are happy to step back on land. Immigration process was quick and back at the yacht club we are very happy to find the dinghy exactly where we left her. Then a long (15min) dinghy ride across the lagoon and into Marigot Bay, where we are relieved to see Cloudy Bay. But how is she rolling and pitching… We were looking forward to return to our bed, but looking at her rolling as we are getting closer, I don’t think a good sleep will be part of the equation tonight.
Happy to be back onboard and find the batteries at 95%, we chill out with a tea in the cockpit and start making plans for our next move. This Marigot Bay seems to become more uncomfortable by the day, and we need to get out of here. Hopefully Anguilla will treat us better.
The rest of the evening is spent onboard, unpacking and watching a couple of episodes of the next detectives series. The plot of which we have failed to catch. We must be really tired, better go to bed.