Diving on Saba
The Pinnacles (5 dive sites) The fascinating Pinnacles that rise from the ocean floor up to depths of 30 m (100 ft) were formed by past volcanic activity and are nourished by deep ocean currents. The Pinnacles are covered with corals, sponges and other invertebrates. Abundant fish life, including large groupers, jacks and turtles are attracted to this area and provide a spectacular diving experience. Shark encounters also occur on occasion around these waters. Black-tip reef sharks, Gray reef sharks and Nurse sharks are the most common species sighted. The most unique structure not to be missed is the Eye-of-the-Needle, a pinnacle that rises up to 17 m (55 ft) just off the deep blue waters from Third Encounter.
The Ladder Bay Area (5 dive sites) The original steps that Sabans used to access the island are known as The Ladder. Prior to the building of the Fort Bay, harbor goods were brought by boat to the rocky shore of the leeward coast. Sabans carried the cargo by foot up the nearly vertical stairway to the village. Diving in this area unveils Saba’s volcanic origins. If you bury your hand in the sand where it is yellow/brown in color, the temperature differences of the sea floor become quite evident. Large boulders and gray sand dominate the area and the most common species of coral are Star Coral, Brain Coral and Gorgonian. Curious Barracudas may approach divers very closely.
From Torrens Point to Diamond Rock (3 dive sites) The large spires at Wells Bay and Torrens Point form a protected cove, an ideal location for snorkeling or shallow diving. Underwater caves and tunnels are interesting structures to explore and divers can encounter many aquatic life forms. Schools of Blue Tangs, Goatfish, and Parrotfish are characteristic in this area. Man ‘O War Shoals and Diamond Rock appear to be submerged and semi-submerged extensions of the Torrens Point headland. They do not exceed depths of 25 m (80 ft), allowing for more bottom time to explore the rich waters and enjoy the magnificent fish life that abounds. Schools of Black Durgeons and Barracudas swarm around the mooring lines, Black-tip sharks merge into the blue, and Stingrays hover over the gray sandy bottom. Walls and rocks are covered with colorful sponges, smaller corals and sea fans. Be cautious while diving around Diamond Rock because of strong currents. While this site may present challenging diving conditions, it also attracts abundant sea life.
Tent Reef Area (4 dive sites) Just west of the Fort Bay harbor is another unusual geological structure known as Tent Reef. It is an extended rock ledge that starts at only 4 m (13 ft) deep but becomes progressively deeper as you head northwest. The ledge is deeply undercut at some points, providing shelter to large snappers. It turns into a sheer wall that gradually becomes fragmented and appears as a series of steep coral outcroppings separated by deep sand channels. Tubular sponges, Elephant Ear sponges, and Black coral dominate the steep wall. Tent Reef is also a favorite site for night dives with frequent Octopus, sleeping Turtle and Spiny lobster sightings.
East side diving (8 dive sites) Diving on this side of the island depends on suitable weather. However, visibility tends to be exceptional when the weather is calm. Most of Saba’s diving offers views of coral encrusted boulders of volcanic origin, but only Greer Gut and Giles Quarter are true coral reefs (i.e. made out of limestone). Diverse species of reef fish and other marine life, along with the white sand covering the sea floor, provide a very different diving experience compared to Saba’s other sites. Exposure to the Atlantic side yields the development of hard coral structures more often than soft coral. Close to shore, well-developed Elkhorn coral formations occur, although the risk exists of periodic destruction by wave action and storms. The coral branches are fragile; however, they tend to recover quickly due to high growth rates.
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