All These Ancient Ruins Make One Indifferent To Time

To the far north tip of the Isle of Skye lie the ruins of Duntulm Castle, late of Clan Macdonald, who, not unlike their Macdonald relatives did at Armadale Castle on Skye, punted on their castle in 1732 and built a glorified farmhouse out of its stones a few miles south.   Seriously?

Dave the Busdriver tells us a local legend: the clan abandoned the castle after the infant son of a chieftain who lived there fell out of window while in the charge of a nursemaid, dashed on those rocks you see below.  Sufficiently bad juju that they set the nursemaid adrift in the Atlantic sea in a tiny boat.

The Isle of Skye continues its artwork clouds, dramatic landscape, and green fields beneath a bright sun.  No doubt it’d be just as dramatic beneath the gray clouds and rain. Onward we go.

May The Ox Be Ever In Your Flavor

Cove Bay and Old Booby Hill, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Cove Bay and Old Booby Hill, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Hey folks…long time, no post, eh? The site is undergoing a reorg now that my remaining Saba pictures have dwindled down to nothing, so that you can enjoy other pictures of the world I inhabit and image. So postings may be a bit scarce for a little bit until I finish that exercise, which involves recategorizing all my Saba posts.

This view from the Cove Bay “beach”–temporarily replaced now that the Wells Bay disappearing beach has reappeared for a bit on the western side of Saba–was the first view of Saba I saw when I arrived on Dec 2012, as it lies a short walk below the airport. You’ve seen pictures in earlier blogposts of the climb up Old Booby Hill, and even the long exposure shot of Cove Bay without the little rock barrier shown here.

Cheers to the new Dutch King, by the way. Seems like a well intentioned royal.

Living At Risk Is Jumping Off The Cliff And Building Your Wings On The Way Down

East Dropoff, Windwardside, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
East Dropoff, Windwardside, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Oh, I loves me the Ray Bradbury quote that makes up this blogpost subject line. I’d like to think that the four month sabbatical I took on Saba and the months around it comprise a crossroads of sorts, and after a few discussions with my closest friends, it certainly has that possibility.

It’s not that easy to get to the dropoff in this picture, due to the dense vegetation that surrounds the occupied core of Windwardside village. You have to ramble down the winding rolling Road until you get to the English Quarter (the eastern settlement side of Windwardside), where you can make some cut throughs or paths you can take OR you have to have friends in cottages perched on the tops of the cliffs, which are many, relative to the general population. Regardless, the views from virtually anywhere in Windwardside range from the benign to the spectacular, typical of this l’il island that could.

Your Heartbeat Is Music That Assures You Will Survive Even When The Whole World Leaves You Alone

Victor and His House, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Victor and His House, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Victor is a well known face to Saban locals, hitching rides back and forth between his house in St John’s (shown here), The Bottom, and Windwardside. He’s related to Eddie Hassell of Swinging Doors back through generations, and he has an fascinating history on Saba that’s a story in itself, tangled up in dark mystery and rumors, and a long stint in a mental home (he’s been out for many years). I got the sense that the island looks after Victor in a subtle way. In all my conversations with him–and there were many–I never found him the least bit violent, odd or strange. He’s a very low key fellow, smiling and generally happy, remarkably articulate in one on one conversation, friendly, and openly talks about his past if asked. The one memory he does continue to bring up is that of a lost love he had and was engaged to marry, only to have it dissolve through events out of his control. Of course, all of this is his recollection, but I tended to believe him, as he was remarkably consistent on the details. Victor’s house sits below Thais Hill, at the start of the switchbacks that descend to The Bottom. If you visit Saba, you are almost certain to run into him…wave and say hi, and he will wave back, as so many friendly Sabans will.

Duck Billed Platypus Slaps His Dancing Tail In Big Sky Country

Looking Up Ridge Below Dancing Place Trail From Giles Quarter, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Looking Up Ridge Below Dancing Place Trail From Giles Quarter, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

This pic is from the bone dry days of early March in Saba, rambling along the Giles Quarter coastline and aiming the camera up past the ruins of the old beekeeper rocks, the cloud on the edge of Mt Scenery to the left, Peak Hill in the center, Booby Hill and The Level to the right. Note how very dry this is….it hardly even resembles the Caribbean.

These Cliffs Are No Country For Old Men

Thais Hill And The St John's Flat From Fort Hill, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Thais Hill And The St John’s Flat From Fort Hill, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Now that the April rains have come at last to slowly refill bone dry cisterns, lets give a pictorial nod to Saba’s rugged side during the drought, the intimidating cliffs and contours from below, the high and wispy stratus clouds with no moisture, the tough beauty that caused Columbus to skip trying a landing at the island after circumnavigating it.

Interesting to note: they are now clearing the foreground spot in this picture with an eye towards wind turbines. Alt energy on Saba? If true, most excellent.

Avatar Cloud Beast Freaks Out Grandpa So Much He Spits Out His Dentures

Angel Clouds and Cliffs, Mt Scenery Summit, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Angel Clouds and Cliffs, Mt Scenery Summit, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

My last hike on Saba was an easy ramble up Mt Scenery with my island amigo Fred Bower, who in his five and a half years on the island, hadn’t made it up the mountain. We stopped plenty for photographs, and although it was cloudy up top so views were curtailed, it was still otherworldy enough to afford Fred the views everyone else had referenced. Now he’s off to Costa Rica with his wife Kelly (a longtime Sea Saba boat captain and dive instructor) for some more craziness, of which I confess I am jealous. Kudos for them!

I dig this photograph not because it’s a great photograph, but while I stood there with the clouds racing over the cliffs, and just a peak view of the ocean and Statia and the green cliffs from the Scenery summit, I felt like it was the kind of cloud view the movies so often portray, and eventually an angel or some otherworldly creature (Avatar?) pops out, flies around, freaks everyone out, then everyone watches in awe as the beast zooms and zigzags around. Ah, well. There goes my imagination again. Enjoy! I’m back in San Francisco, but still going through my archives for worthy pix. Not many more, I promise.

The Mountain God Shakes His Mighty Fist At The Shark That Nibbled On His Toes

Saba View From Tent Reef, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Saba View From Tent Reef, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

One of the most stunning diving sites on the island of Saba lies literally in view of the harbor. A five minute boat jaunt out of Fort Bay gets you to Tent Reef, which has dynamic swim through channels, overhangs, deep walls, and abundant, brilliant beautiful reef and aquatic life. It remains a favorite of many of Saba’s dive instructors.

Saba itself shows its dry, rugged cliff sides from the Tent Reef dive boat; clicking to see the full sized picture, from left to right, you can see the triangular Tent Rock peaking above Great Hill, Paris Hill, Bunker Hill (the dominant foreground hill), a peak view of Thais Hill, the St John’s Flat with houses on the cliff, and finally, the lower Fort Hill above the harbor. You can also see the utility road that winds around from the harbor to the corner of the reef, the southwestern corner of the island. This is rugged, lovely country, constantly changing with the effects of wind, water, and other weather.

T-3 days, and not counting, honest. A final ramble up Mt Scenery via Bud’s Mountain Trail….it rained yesterday…a light long drizzle that didn’t fill cisterns, then harder last night, albeit a short rain. Bridge water until the rains of April, odds are.

Keeping It (Sur)Real In Saba

Telephone Lines, Windwardside, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Telephone Lines, Windwardside, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

The rise of Instagram on the Web has been interesting to me. The program allows ordinary folks to take their digital smartphone pictures and rough them up to look like old Instamatic or Polaroids, so its retro throwback all the way. In that vein of thinking, I kept looking at this picture of a Windwardside road with the telephone lines strung haphazardly to every house, which poses an artistic challenge. My final Jeopardy answer was to rough the picture up, heap some good old film grain on it, and now I’m pleased with the sort of surreal picture that results. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you’ll see it’s definitely a real picture, but when you pull back on it…this unusual image of the village emerges. In the end, its undeniably Saba, which is what I wanted. It could be nothing else in the world with this combo of colors, cottages, and tropical contours.

The Road May Be Life, But That Doesn’t Mean You Can Skateboard On It

The Road Out Of St John's Bends Around Past Old GEBE
The Road Out Of St John’s Bends Around Past Old GEBE

My time is ticking, running out here on Saba, and just when I think I’ve run out of images to show, I confront The Road I take to Windwardside from St John’s every day, often 3-4 times a day, and see an artistic perspective I didn’t catch before. That’s today’s pic, the descent out of St John’s after I climb out of the Flat, and bend around past the old GEBE station, where the plaintive bleats and brays of goats on the ridges and cliffs continues, the wind sometimes moans in the cleft between the mountains, and the fog tops Mt Scenery. I dig this place, I really do. Guess I’ll be back in a few years…