In greener times in 2012, my morning ritual was to pop my sandals on, cook up some bacon & eggs, and sit outside on the stone steps to the cottage, and this view was typical on stormy mornings that would always turn out to be sunny by early afternoon. I’d type a little of my story out on the iPad and inhale the fresh air. It didn’t suck.
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.
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.
Generally speaking, for Saba jungle images I took while I was there, I have to reduce the saturation of the color green, because it’s so incredibly green on your way up, it tends to blow out your eyes ability to pick out detail. I let the green be in this picture, so you can really get a sense of the kinds of jungle flora around you, on trees, ferns, plants, and the man made volcanic stone walls that line some of the hike to Mt Scenery. It’s the most strenous official trail on Saba, and I summited ten times during my four months there. I always discovered something new and delightful.
For those of you who’ve summited Mt Scenery, this particular structure is very distinct and unique on the scenery path. Care to guess where on the path it is?
The title refers to an obscure pulp film from the 70’s that I recall enjoying a lot because of the rather lovely and scantily clothed ladies in it. Not on the AFI’s list of Top 100 Films, though.
Got home to San Francisco at 1:45am and woke up early today, visiting with my l’il nephew Kai, brother Doug, and wife Jen. We’ll see if the cats recognize me on pickup in the next day or two, and I’m back in the loft.
Unfathomable acronyms, part IX. YACSCASOV – Hmm, this’un sounds almost Russian or Eastern European….but it stands for Yet Another Charming Saban Cottage And Stunning Ocean View. Well, drink it in, friends, ’cause I sure am. The time is nigh, I leave tomorrow morning for San Francisco, and I’ve cherished every great moment or conversation turn on this island. C’est la vie. Life moves ceaselessly forward, and I ride the train to wherever it’ll take me. I’ll be back, l’il island…don’t know when.
A simple picture (converted to watercolor) of three old Windwardside cottages, lined up neatly in a row in the foothills of Mt Scenery. Something so orderly and cool about the way these villages sit on top of the Auld Rock just appeals to me, call me crazy.
Life moves at its steady pace here on Saba as I start collecting boxes to pack, plan a few last hikes, finish up my remaining dives to say goodbye to the aquatic life, and of course, make the rounds to thank the locals, expats, and friends I’ve made along the way. Life is good.
A Garden Of Earthly Delightful Scents
Yeah, I s’pose this could be any nice garden in the tropics, with bougainvillea, roses, and other plants, shrubs, and trees–whose names I remain blissfully ignorant of–lookin’ pretty. But no, this is Saba where such well tended gardens are rare. Scout’s Cottage is built into the hills of Windwardside below Mt. Scenery, a venerable cottage still visible in photos of Saba from late 1800’s/early 1900’s, and the current owner has really done it up, inside and out. Note that the wooden deck here is actually built around and on top of the main cistern for the house. That’s actually Maskehorne Hill in the background, whose views of Windwardside you may recall from this earlier blogpost.
It’s tantalizing and teasing to be in the middle of a draught and extreme water conservation on the island and see storms come within three miles of Saba, and drop all their water offshore. As this picture shows, it may be beautiful to look at, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. But then again, I did snap the photo, so there’s that consolation.
Remains Of The Day
Seahorse, Stingrays, Sharks = Underwater Happiness
Scuba divers new to a location, and particularly new to diving, as my visiting brother is, have no frame of reference for sighting (relatively) rare aquatic life around Saba. They simply think this is what those of us who dive often around here see nearly every dive. In any case, today, our bundle of smiles and energy Sea Saba dive instructor Kelly took us to the windward side dive site of Big Rock Market and 5 minutes later, we spotted bright yellow gorgeous seahorse wrapped around a rope coral, then he let go and started swimming around. Perfectly elegant and moving to be in the water with the little fella. Same dive had two eels (my first spotted and a baby green), stingray, bro’s first shark (nurse), and much much more. Of course, no one had a camera. Gaaaaah – sorry about that.