Jumping off Sea Saba’s 12m dive-boat, which offered plenty of space for dive-gear, cameras and divers, we headed down into open blue, seeing only the thin mooring line. It was near 25m before the top of the Needle came into view, and at first glance it seemed to be moving.
A massive school of creole wrasse was swimming speedily back and forth across the small rock formation.
Getting closer, it was clear that there was no shortage of life. There were huge orange sponges, plenty of coral, and barrel sponges as big as divers that covered every inch of the rock.
Fish of all sizes, from tiny juvenile spotted drums and lettuce-leaf sea-slugs to huge parrotfish, made the small pinnacle seem like a busy mega-city, bustling with life.
Unfortunately, even with nitrox our deep dive seemed short before we had to start making our way back to the surface.
Usually diving is all I care about in my travel plans. If the diving requires sleeping in a tent, I’ve done that; not to mention bunk-beds on liveaboards so small that you can’t turn over without hitting various body-parts.
It’s all worth it to glimpse the magic of the underwater parts of our Earth.
That said, as I returned to Queen’s Gardens Resort after diving I found myself watching the sunset from the resort’s steep perch overlooking the island and ocean below while sipping a lavender gin and tonic. I won’t complain when I don’t have to rough it.
The island of Saba is so much more than just diving. This hidden Caribbean gem has topside activities almost as exciting as the diving. Well-maintained hiking trails criss-cross the island both horizontally and vertically. Lush green forests filled with flowers, birds, butterflies and adorable geckos could keep anyone entertained for days.
For those seeking more of a culinary break, Saba offers only a few restaurant options but the quality is high. In the town of Windward Side, several establishments are within walking distance of hotels and housing rentals.
My mouth waters at the memory of Brigadoon’s chocolate mousse and the pasta at Tropic’s Café. But my dive-buddies and I were staying at Queen’s Gardens on the other side of the island, which has its own onsite restaurant.
Post-dive gin-sipping at an open-air bar famous for its creative gin drinks (more than 50 types of gin are available) we spent the evenings indulging in nightly changing dinner menus creatively combining both Caribbean and European flavours with the use of fresh, sustainable products.
Stomachs full and sleepy from diving we returned to our suites with ocean and mountain views from open windows that brought in a fresh sea breeze.
Time spent on land was almost as good as that spent under water.