The more powerful of the two Sea Saba dive boats I dived with on Saba is Giant Stride, pictured here along with the teeny little work hard workin’ truck Johnny Boy that the SS crew uses to ferry daily gear, tanks, and water back and forth between the dive shop and the pier. I used infrared processing on this pic to bring out the clouds on the horizon against the foreground harbor, truck and boat. Cool beans, n’est ce pas?
Saba’s power plant, looking like a relic from the dawn of the Industrial Age, up close and personal an desaturated to a grayish black and white, with the color of the cliffs behind it. It continues to chug along its diesel self, except when it doesn’t, and then the island goes eery black if its night time, or just a little quieter if its daytime. It works.
Missed you, blog amigos, but I’ve got very few quality pictures left of Saba, so figuring out how to transition this to a general photo blog and archive off just the Saba pictures so they’re still accessible.
In the meantime, here then is The Edge, one of two ferries that shuttle folks between Saint Maarten and Saba.
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.
The series of diesel pipes visible on the main building in this harbor photo are the Linzy Power Plant, conveniently built down in the harbor such that when a hurricane warning is imminent, it has to shut down, thereby shutting down electricity to the island for the duration of the warning or storm event. Now, to be fair, they likely built it down there to have easy access to both cooling water and the diesel barges that come in weekly. Moreover, we had only a couple blackouts while I was on Saba, and power was generally restored pretty quickly; I’m told the plant prides itself on rapid restoration of power. I’m told the surge waves of most tropical storms that get within 100 miles of Saba reach the level of the Saba Deep sign on the far left of the cluster of buildings (click to see full sized photo), which means they fully engulf all the harbor buildings. Ah, rugged hurricane life on Saba. On the positive side, Saba hasn’t had a big hurricane event since Omar in 2008. Before that was Lenny in 1999 and Georges in 1998.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
10am WinAir flight out on this sunny Easter Sunday, a fifteen minute jaunt over to Saint Maarten, where I’ll switch off to USAir, bop over to Charlotte, North Carolina, then across the expansive continental US, landing in San Francisco International Airport near midnight, a taxi to my brother’s place in Bernal Heights, a sleepover, then a BART train to the city, where I’ll walk a couple blocks to my loft, pick up my keys, drop my bags off, journey to Sacramento via Zipcar to retrieve my furry friends Snoopy and Lucy; they will meow the whole way back, no doubt, as they are unfond of car rides.
*Sigh* Exit island life, back to city life. Saba is an utterly lovely island. If you haven’t been, then go. You’ll see. If you have been, well, isn’t it about time you planned that return trip? In any case, put it on your bucket list, regardless, and find all the places I took my photos. See, a scavenger hunt challenge 😉
As for this blog, it probably transitions from a travel blog to a blog of adventures in SFO, though daily blogposts are unlikely to continue…that’s high commitment with regular life. But that’s ok, I imagine. One writer’s sojourn to the tropics becomes a traversal through quirky city life.
So long, and thanks for all the fish! See you in San Francisco…soon, I hope.
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.
The Dutch Coast Guard frigate HMS Friesland visited the island the past few days on a routine drug interdiction pass through the Caribbean Netherland islands; yesterday it dropped off around 40 hyper fit Marines to visit Saba, they all chose to walk or run up the steep road to Fort Bay, through The Bottom, St John’s, and into Windwardside.
At the end of Fort Bay harbor’s longest pier is this boat bumper, which I thought looked kinda cool, all the worse for its wear. Not all of my Saba photos are grandiose visions 😉
Clouds, clouds, everywhere, and poor ol’ Saba is still dry as a bone. At least it’s finally a little breezy up high in the villages. It’s quiet out in blog land lately….anybody out there?