Heather & Elkhorn CoralThis was an amazing day! The winds were particularly light, so we got to dive on the Windward side of the island. The weather was perfect and everyone was excited for a fantastic dive. A couple of things were different today – first of all, Garvis came to pick us up, instead of the usual pickup from Manny. We will write about Garvis in another post, as he is one of our favorite people in Saba! The other thing that was different is, Garvis picked us up first and we got to ride up to the Level, to pick up the last two couples. Typically, Joel and I are the last pickups because we are close to Sea Saba – where we stop to check in with owner, Lynn Costenaro, before going to Fort Bay.

I love this trip in the van for two reasons. The first is that we get to meet everyone we’re diving with on the way to the boat. We all get to find out where everyone is from, where we’ve gone diving before and what brought us to Saba. The second is the amazing views on the way down to Fort Bay. Even after two years of coming to Saba and four months of living here, the views still take my breath away. Don’t be surprised if people aren’t sure whether to look at you while they’re talking or gape at the ocean, spreading out from drastic drops of green.

Getting On The Boat
Once at Fort Bay, we crossed over the Sea Dragon to get to Sea Saba’s second boat, the Giant Stride. As we passed by, we saw Sea Dragon’s crew, including Martin & Charlotte – a dive instructor couple who have just headed back to their home in England. There are many dive couples who work at Sea Saba, making it a warm, family-friendly place to be. For example, we caught Dick, one of our dive instructors for the day, giving a goodbye kiss to his wife, Paula. There’s nothing like true love on a beautiful sunny day – and it reminded me how great it must be to work together – out on the water, in the open sun. We will do another post on the dive couples of Sea Saba.

Garvis at Fort Bay Elkhorn CoralMr. Puffer fish

Dive Crew
Dick, Vivi and Alex (Alex was our boat captain)

Fellow Divers
We had many interesting divers on the trip today, Randy, Andrea, Sally, Larry, Bernadette, Bill and Mary. In fact, the whole group was from the US. Usually, we have a few people from Europe, so today was a bit different. Mary was telling us that they had just arrived in Saba from the British Virgin Islands (BVI). She and her husband had chartered a sailboat – must be nice, huh? They came to Saba because they had been in St. Maarten for a vacation a couple years ago and took a day-trip dive to Saba. Well, this trip (and their dive at Diamond Rock) got them hooked on Saba and they vowed to return.

We learned that the BVI had some good diving 20 years ago, but is not so great today. The coral is apparently not so great and everything is covered with algae. Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to remember this as Joel and I plot future dive vacations.

Dive Site Stats

  • Core Gut – Dive Site #27
  • Boat Ride: 25 minutes
  • Mooring: eyebolt/40 feet
  • Experience Level: all levels, except novice divers
  • Recommended Max. Depth: north (wall) 90 feet, south 50 feet
  • Current: usually none
  • Snorkeling: yes, when sea is calm

Dive Site Description
Core Gut is a phenomenal dive site – equally good for two very different dives – a shallow dive in “Smurf Villiage” (more on this in another post) or a deep wall dive. Today we did the deep dive. Dropping down to 80 feet, we headed north along the wall, which drops down vertically to over 120 feet. The wall is filled with sponges, including many encrusted varieties, and plentiful Gorgonians. A few coral species, such as Pinnate Black Coral can be found on the deeper part of the wall. After about 30 minutes, we came to a chute formed when rocks came down from the cliff above. This chute, which is estimated to be about 25 – 30 years old, is covered with colonies of Smooth Brain Coral.

Fish Sightings
For fish, we saw large Tiger and Nassau Grouper, big Bar Jacks, Bermuda Chubs and some Black Jacks. As I looked up, I was treated to what looked like zillions of fish swimming along the top of the wall – and with the sun pouring through and the waves gently cresting overhead, I was not sure where to look – it was too beautiful for words. As we approached the mooring line at the end of the dive, we were treated to a school of large tarpin, gleaming silvery gray, and calmly watching over us as we did our safety stop. They were good enough to hang around for a long time, allowing us to capture evidence of them on camera, and giving us plenty to see while we waited to ascend. They were still there, watching majestically, as we regretfully climbed the ladder onto the boat.

GrouperSpotted Cowfish