|The Island of Saba|
When I was looking at the charts of the Caribbean a few years ago, I saw a Little Island named “Saba”. In my mind I knew I was going to visit this Island when I get there. The name has a familiarity in my world. Saba is a word in Farsi that means a gentle breeze, and I also have dear friends of mine like Dr. Saba. All that is a good reason to visit this Land.
You can see Saba 30 to 50 miles away since it’s so elevated. Saba has been on the horizon since we were approaching St. Martin from St. Croix almost a month ago. This Island is very steep for the amount of land it’s on. It’s 3000 feet on a 5.5 square miles of land. Most cruiser’s don’t bother visiting Saba because of the unprotected anchorage and is slightly difficult to get to (big northerly swells makes it an uncomfortable passage). But Earthling style is to visit and go to distant places that are untouched and unspoiled.
We are on a mooring in a hundred feet of water and the vertical mountain looks like a tall wall. It’s a surreal feeling to experience this. It makes you feel small and subconsciously scared. We would not even be able to anchor right here, since 100 feet of water needs at least 400 to 500 feet of chain. Big thanks to the Sabans that put these moorings here.
Saba is also a marine park and if you like to scuba dive or snorkel, here is one good place for that. Every time we come to a new place, it’s like a wonderland. We have never been on this land and there is so much to see and explore.
Before entering this wonderland, we had a surprise visit by the Dutch coastguard. Two gentlemen came aboard, checked all the documents, recorded information, searched the boat and left. Anytime you deal with officials, you have to be nice, polite, and courteous and give them whatever information they need. Even though I dislike to have a random person come aboard my home and search through my belongings, I don’t have a choice! We thanked the coastguard for giving us a visit and keeping these waters secure!
Since a while ago we already had decided to camp out on Saba. We put Earthling on a mooring by Fort Bay, packed a tent, sleeping bag, and enough food for 24 hours and rowed ashore. At the check in we were informed that you are not allowed to put up a tent and camp overnight or have a bonfire on the island, which was a bummer. The few roads on Saba are almost vertical. The first road from Fort Bay up the hill to the to the town “Bottom” almost broke my back. I wish I could put the tent on one of the many goats on the roadside to carry it up for me. Within a short time we were 1000 feet up in the skies. As you get up on Saba, you get into a rainforest and the view becomes more and more magnificent. You see trees, plants, flowers and fruits that you have never seen. And when you pass another person, you definitely must greet. Vehicles pass by and wave and it seems like everyone knows each other. At least everyone respects one another. As we are hiking the trails up the mountain into the jungle at higher elevation, I’m concerned about where we are going to sleep tonight. There is not enough time to get back to the boat before dark and we have to find somewhere to settle down. Along the trail toward the “Windward” we sighted an Ecolodge. Just as I’m picking up a tropical fruit underneath a tree, a four wheeler approaches and the owner Ben greets us. What kind of fruit is this, I asked him. It’s a Golden Apple, Ben replied. A Golden Apple is something between a mango and an apple. It’s very juicy and sweet, and its seed looks something like a blowfish. We connected with Ben and he offered us to set up the tent on his property right by a small pond. He also pointed out a fire pit that was covered in big banana leafs. He said, if you clean it up, you can use it. I started chopping the plants and leafs around the fire pit with a machete. Thereafter, we laid all the leaves underneath the tent for more cushioning. Ben has made a little utopia here, and named it Rendez-Vous. There are 12 or so private lodges and all are solar powered. He grows most of his vegetables and has a restaurant, where some locals hike to for dinner. It didn’t take long before the tent was up and the fire was going under the full moon. In the fire we wrapped potatoes in foil and some left over pasta from the night before in banana leafs. Dinner was just about ready and Ben came over and to give us a bottle of Merlot as a belated Christmas gift. It can’t be better than this.
The next day we hiked to the “Windward”, which is the other town on Saba. We met and talked to some locals that have been living on Saba all their life. People here are so welcoming and hospitable. This adventure on Saba was the first and might be the last time we visit this pretty island. The memories of it will be a part of our lives forever.
Love from Saba
To view photos of Saba, go to Earthlingsailor’s page on facebook.