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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's in

Sea Saba/Juliana's: "Great trip but....", Nov, 2021,

by Mark Etter, PA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 11829 has 1 Helpful vote.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Great island! Wonderful people and fantastic scenery. I'm hoping to go back soon with my wife. Next time I will hike more and dive less. Juliana's was great, low key, and very relaxing. Windwardside village was quaint and safe. Each night we went to a new restaurant. Town is walkable and locals were very friendly. Hung out at the Swinging Door with Eddie. A great place! Great meals at Chez Bubba and the Eco Lodge. Food also great at Juliana's when they are open. Great hiking everywhere. Diverse butterfly species too. Definitely needed an expert taxi driver our week. Peddy rocks!

Diving is good but limited to only about a dozen sites. We had moderate winds that kept us in Tent Bay for the first 2-3 days. Fortunately, we saw reef shark on almost every dive when we went deeper. There are huge green turtles with remora and occasional eagle rays. Saba definitely has the biggest green turtles I have ever seen! Unfortunately there is not much coral left. Diamond rock and Man o' war sites are good. There are lot's of turtles and a few octopus. Regrettably, Sea Saba declined to take us to the sea mounts including Twilight zone. They did not seem to care very much about separating experienced divers from open water students on our charter. To their defense, a diver was lost on the nearby live-aboard early in the week. Very sad.

I sensed that they are having difficulty coping with Covid. One of the guides was very anxious and rude to divers on the boat regarding covid precautions. It seemed to take at least 3 days to get warmer attitudes from the crew but in the end it was fun. The guides varied from great to rude and overly controlling. Fortunately they accommodated us later in the week. I think the pandemic has increased the stress on dive boats. I suspect time and more vaccinations will help people's comfort.

In summary, I loved the Island, the locals, and Juliana's. The island seems better suited for eco tourism and hiking. The diving is good but there was too much stress on the boat. Maybe I just have unrealistic expectations. And finally, take the plane and skip getting stranded at sea at night. Cheers!

Websites Sea Saba   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Komodo, Anilao, Palau, Cuba, Ambon, Lembeh, Alor, Bunaken, Raja Ampat, Misool, Kri, Caymans, Egypt, Maldives, Australia, Dominica, Truk, Hawaii, Silver Banks, St Lucia, Bonaire, Curacao, Provo, St Kitts, Barbados, Nevis, Cozumel, US Virgins, North and South Carolina, etc
Closest Airport Saba Getting There JFK to St Maarten, Boat or small plane to Saba. Public Ferry sporadic and not currently running on Saturdays (Really?) Private Charter from Sea Saba broke down at night time. Definitely take the small plane next time!!

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70-80 Ft/ 21-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the guide depending on who's on the boat. Too rigid for experienced divers who like to take good pictures.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Good photography opportunities if you have an experienced guide who respects your skill level. Otherwise, follow the leader and/or get reprimanded on the boat for not following the guide (at 35' no less!) Crew great with handling cameras. Maybe better to go as a group and discuss photo plans before they add others to the boat. Some guides great with nudibranch ID. Overall great experience when the right guides are on the boat!
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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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