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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's Hotel in
Saba/Dutch Carribean

Sea Saba/Juliana's Hotel: "Saba - The Unspoiled Queen of the Carribean", Nov, 2019,

by Todd Hathaway, NJ, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 11236 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our local Dive Shop (Divers Two in Avon, NJ) was running a group trip (aprox 28 divers) to Saba during the first part of November. My 15yr old daughter hadn’t done any ocean diving since getting certified (she had only been in Lakes, Springs, and back Bays), so this seemed like a great opportunity to get some quality diving in. We flew to St Martin (SXM) and caught the Dawn II ferry the same day over to Saba. The Ferry company (Saba C-Transport) arranged ground transport in St Martin, both coming and going, which worked out perfectly. The trip to Saba is about an hour and 45 mins via ferry, but is a pretty ride (although seas were a bit rougher on the way back). The other option is to catch a short (15/20 minute) flight on Winair – it’s a bit more expense, but it will save some time.

On arrival in Saba, the dive operator (Sea Saba) met the group and shuttled us & the gear up to our hotel (Juliana’s Hotel) in Windward Side (the Dive boats leave from the harbor in the town “The Bottom” – about a 10/15 minute taxi shuttle to Windward Side). The next morning, after breakfast, Sea Saba picked up the gear, and brought it to our respective boats. Sea Saba did a great job keeping the large group organized. We had 12-14 divers per boat, and they had our gear set up, ready to go on the first day out. The gear was kept on the boat for the duration of the trip (then rinsed & delivered to the Hotel on the day before leaving).

The diving was structured as 2 tanks in the morning, with an optional additional tank in the afternoon / or a night dive (leaving the dock just before sundown). There were 3 dive-masters on each boat. Two dove with the group (one led, one brought up the rear) and one stayed on the boat. All dives had a thorough pre-dive briefing which gave a plan and overview, and set times / depths which we adhered to. There was a full range of experience on the boat, from newbies like my daughter to instructors. The dive-masters were very attentive and helpful – we learned a few new “hacks” to make the diving go very ”smooth” and they were very good with my daughter.

Being November, there is always the risk of weather. We had windy conditions on a couple of days, which kept us repeating some sites, but it was all done with safety and comfort in mind. There are plenty of options (dive sites) to choose from – some protected from the wind, some not so much - but I don’t feel that the weather diminished the trip in a meaningful way. We enjoyed all of our dives. All of the sites we dove were within 10 minutes of the harbor. We also had a couple showers, but they lasted 10 minutes and then were gone, sun back out or a beautiful starry night. Visibility was normally in the 40-60 foot range – there were a couple times where currents would stir up the sand all of a sudden and bring viz down to 10-20 feet, but it wasn’t like that very often. On the pinnacle sites and some of the deeper reefs, we had probably closer to 80 feet of viz. At the end of the trip, the Sea Saba shop provided us with a print-out dive log of the dives, which made logging our own that much easier.

When we weren’t diving, we would get together for lunch or dinner or visit the local grocery store or shop – Sea Saba helped organize larger dinners, which was great, but there were times when we just did things on our own. We arrived on a Saturday, dove Sunday through Thursday (some of the group dove Friday morning) – and spent Friday hiking the Tide Pools. We also took a taxi into “The Bottom” and did some exploring - climbing down to the old Custom House “ladder” (a big stairway down to the water’s edge – like a giant Stairmaster – fair warning!). Some of the group climbed to the top of Mt Scenery (aprox 2900’ elevation).

All in all, the food was fantastic, the people were friendly, the diving was gorgeous – no complaints at all. Everything is in US Dollars and the electrical outlets are the same as in the US. Cellular service would work, but not like in the US, but that’s fine. The hotel Wifi was good.
Websites Sea Saba   Juliana's Hotel

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo, Costa Rica, Hawaii, various pools.
Closest Airport SAB Getting There We flew to SXM (Saint Maartin) and took the Dawn II ferry to Saba (1hr, 45 mins) - You can also pick up a 15 min flight from SXM to SAB on Winair.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 81-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-80 Ft/ 3-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions No Deco Dives / 60 minutes max
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments We were a big group, about 25 divers on 2 boats - many GoPros, a couple small housings, one larger housing DSLR - I personally used a GoPro - There was a rinse bucket on the boat that was fine for GoPros and the smaller housings. I imagine the bigger the set-up, the more amenities needed.. The Crew was very responsive, I you have a specific need, I think they could accommodate.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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