Tuesday, August 14, 2007

DIVER Magazine: August 2007

"So, where is the best place in the world to dive?"
As a regular contributor to DIVER magazine I'm often asked this question. The answer? Well, it all depends on what you're looking for. If your search is for a remote island in the Caribbean, with stunning pinnacles, plenty of marine life and bags of character, then you'll be looking for the island of Saba.
"Isn't that in Malaysia somewhere?"
No it isn't, that's Sabah - for reasons I cannot fathom, Saba still remains relatively unheard of. Bizarre as it offers some of the best dive sites in this region and one of my top five dive sites, 'The Pinnacle'. Rising at an angle from 60 metres to its peak at 30; this tower of coral and barrel sponges is only a few metres in diameter. As you spiral round the summit, take a look below, there's almost certainly going to be a shark patrolling the base.
Saba's signature dives are its pinnacles and seamounts - peaking at about 28 to 30 metres they always provide something of interest, shoals of jacks, collections of brightly coloured sponges, frogfish, sharks, turtles. And then there are the drop offs - stunning.
On dry land, the red roofs of the gingerbread style cottages and the people who occupy them take you back to the Caribbean of yesteryear. It's an overused cliche, but the people of this island really are the friendliest I have ever met (try standing on one of the roads for more than 5 minutes without being offered a lift). They also care passionately about their environment, the marine park is well run and where else would you find workers who built one of their roads around a tree, they just couldn't bear the idea of chopping it down.
And for the non-diver, or a diving day off, there is Mount Scenery. Like the underwater pinnacles around it, this island's peak is veiled in year round mist, its rainforest making for a challenging day of exploration.
So, back to the question, where is the best place in the world to dive? If it's the Caribbean you're thinking of, Saba, with its handful of quirky hotels, restaurants, rain forests, remote villages and of course, great diving, is your destination.
Brendan O'Brien
For further information on our trips to Saba, please click here

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