La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala

SABA – A TINY DUTCH CARIBBEAN ISLAND

31 December 1969 | a spiky volcanic rock only 13 sq km - highest point is 887m named Mt scenery- very aptly named.a back-to-nature island – below the clouds, and below the water
the northerly swell came rolling in and we rolled too! – so only a short, stunning stay.

IMAGE sailing to Saba.
In mid march we set off from St Barts to sail south-west 28 miles to Saba. We made an early start and enjoyed a glorious day sail in clear blue skies and light winds with the main and lightweight coloured genoa for the whole run. On this clear visibility day, watching this tiny volcanic island rising steeply from the deep ocean with its peaks touching the clouds as we got closer and closer was an impressive sight. The island was so lush and green as the high mountains trap the constantly passing moisture from the clouds. The purpose of our visit to Saba – only one of the group of small islands that ‘brush the clouds’ was to hopefully do some scuba diving. Saba has a well-established marine park with world renowned diving. Saba is a challenging stop for yachts as the water is so deep around the island you cannot anchor, and anchoring is prohibited in the Marine Park – so on our arrival in the southern port of Fort Bay we thankfully found a empty buoy. As it was Saturday afternoon we didn’t know if we would be able to check-in, or if as the situation on many of the other islands there would be a hefty overtime charge on weekends – anyway all OK - $US 20 to check in and out, both at the same time. Then we needed to go across the harbour to the Marine Park Office to pay to be on a buoy in the park , a minimum charge for 4 nights– another $15 for. Now it was onto the drive shops in the harbour to make an enquiry about the diving arrangements. We knew before coming here that we could not dive without the supervision of a dive company – but we have all our own gear, so we were just looking for a pickup and return to our boat. Well it doesn’t work like that here in Saba! The price for 1 dive was $50 each even though we had our own gear – and another $15 each to collect us from the boat....so I don’t think we will be diving here. We headed around to the Marine Park on the western side of the island to Wells Bay to check it out and maybe do some snorkelling in the shallow waters here and around the famous White Diamond rock. We were with just 1 other yacht and the area was lovely, enjoying a beautiful sunset right into the water. All was OK until well into the night when a north swell started to roll on in – making us feel like a tiny cork on the rise and swell of the long rollers. By Sunday morning the nearby beach to land the dingy and all possible snorkelling areas were untenable today due to the swell – so no snorkelling either! So now its plan B – to take a look around the inland of the island. We motored back to Fort Bay close inshore to take a look at the famous 800 steep hillside steps up to the original stone customs house. In the days before Saba had a secure port area everything that arrived – cargo and people was hauled up to the Customs House via this 800 step vertical staircase – named The Ladder, a pretty amazing historical sight. Once safely back in Fort Bay on a mooring we took the dingy into the port to take a look around the island. There are only 2 towns on the island, not with very imaginative names – The Bottom (because its at the bottom) and Windwardside, (because its on that side). This is a Dutch island with only 1800 inhabitants, but we were to see a very formal, clean and well maintained island with good infrastructure and community services – all courtesy of the European Dutch government. We hitched our 1st ride with a born and bred local who was in the government here, but now retired. We had a very interesting and informative chat as he drove us up the steep, switch-back road to the furthest village – Windwardside. You could get the feel of a tight-knit community with the locals hocking their horns, and the odd wave to greet and acknowledge neighbours and friends – everyone knows everyone else! It was Sunday so not much was open – but there isn’t much here anyway. The little stone and or concrete white-washed cottages all with red corrugated iron roofs and traditional ‘Saba‘ green shutters were very picturesque, looking more like an 18th century Celtic village than an Caribbean Island. All the churches we passed were full of people and full of song, giving a lovely lilt to the fresh mountain air. After a wander here we walked along on the road toward the next village – it was getting hot and steamy by now and thankfully our next lift did not take long – a St Vincent man who had come to live and settle here 12 years ago – we were able to talk cricket with him. We walked around ‘The Bottom’ village and a few craft and art shops were open to take a look. Whilst waiting for our final lift back down the steep mountainside back to the harbour we had time to take in some of the impressive infrastructure – a very good underground electrical system and street lights all with new LED lighting. The villages were well kept and the landscaping around the streets, school and government buildings was well done – much better and thought-out than many of the other islands we have visited. It is obvious that Sabans enjoy a relatively high standard of living. Our final lift was from a retired Dutch couple who came here with government jobs and have chosen to stay-on and make this little island there home. After one night on the mooring off Fort Bay – pitching and rolling – we see off. Our short trip to Saba was interesting and enjoyable – even if we didn’t get our feet wet. We got to see and feel the small-island life of this very different Caribbean island.

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Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti