Quick Trip to Saba

14 Dec

Chris and I recently went on a quick trip to Saba. We really needed a weekend to relax before the crazy busy season really gets in flow. I know that some of you are thinking “Sally needs a break from St. Martin, c’mon!” But for those of you that know Chris, you know that he never seems to turn off. He is always thinking… thinking… thinking. At 9 PM last night I was making him watch Footloose with Kevin Bacon (can you believe that he had never seen it?) and the whole time he was looking through our website. This morning I came to work with an email from him (sent last night) with a list of changes for me to make to the website. My point is that for Chris to really relax and turn off, he need to be off island, away from it all. For that, there is no better place than Saba.

Saba is called the “Unspoiled Queen” of the Caribbean. This phrase isn’t just a tourist pull, it is true. With only 1,550 full time residents (there are an additional 300 medical students studying there) the island is small. It is a massive rock that juts out of the ocean and is made up of a potentially active volcano called Mount Scenery. The highest point on the island (Mt. Scenery) is 877 m (2,877 feet) and is the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There are only two ways to get there, ferry or flight.

We opted for the ferry as it was cheaper and also more convenient. Although flying is only 10 minutes and the ferry is an hour and ten minutes, with the ferry you don’t have to arrive 2 hours early, the airport is farther away from Grand Case than the Pelican (where the ferry leaves from) and we aren’t worried about getting seasick. (They sometimes call the ferry to Saba and St. Bart’s the “Vomit Commit” due to the constant yaw of the boat in the waves.) Once you arrive at the port you jump in a taxi and they take you up, up, up. Everything is “up” there.

So, we arrived at the ferry and let me tell you (it is so odd) that even before we got on the ferry Chris started to relax. We had breakfast at a little cafe before boarding and he was already cracking jokes and embarrassing me in front of the waiter. I know that a lot of you understand this, it seems that just the thought of vacation, just the hint of it, is relaxing. That is why I sometimes get those people who are planning their vacations and they email me 50 times before they arrive, or once they get back they are sending me photos (which I love by the way) and they are commenting on FB. It is because they want to try to prolong that “vacation feeling” and I totally know how they feel.

We stayed at Scout’s Place in the village of Windwardside. It is owned by our friends Wolfgang and Barbara. They also have a diving center there, Saba Divers, but this trip was a “NO DIVING” trip. I didn’t even want the briefest of reminders of scuba diving while we were away. The room was beautiful, with the most amazing view from our room.
Saba view
The first night it started to rain. Really rain. Lots of rain. Rain coming in all directions. The rain continued, and continued. You know what? We didn’t care. All the better reason to stay in bed and do nothing. To read and relax. That’s the thing about vacation, sometimes it doesn’t matter if it rains.

Around 1 PM on Saturday it cleared up and we explored the island a bit more. This is our third visit to the island. The first time was on a trip sponsored by the Saba Tourist office (in which Chris and I somehow got separated and while I was having a tour of the island in a mini bus with a bunch of ladies from various concierge desks of St. Martin, Chris was drinking Bloody Mary’s with the Saban Minister of Tourism! But that is a whole other story). The second time was for diving, so this time we decided to explore top side.

We went to the Tide Pools, which was like walking on another planet or something.

It was too rough to actually go in the pools, but it was still lots of fun. I figured out how to use the timer on my camera to get this photo of the two of us.

Probably the best thing that we did was go into Jo Bean’s Glass Studio. The name comes from the owner and artist, Jo Bean. When we first went in there were a few people mulling around the small studio, some talking to Jo. Jo had her head over an open flame (looked like a sideways Bunsen Burner to me) with a long stick of black glass. All around the studio are these wonderful glass trinkets, necklaces, key chains, hearts, mermaids, turtles. Amazing colors and textures. It made me feel like I was some kind of princess and the room was my jewelery box. A couple people left and I saw my opportunity. I was a little bashful (I’m much more outgoing in writing and underwater then I am otherwise), but I persevered.
“Hi. I’m Sally. From St. Martin. My husband and I own Octopus Diving.”
Her head turned up and she smiled at me. Jo Bean isn’t bashful at all.
“Well.” She said. “Aren’t you just exactly the people that I was looking for.” She immediately put me at ease and this started about an hour and a half of us chatting away about all sorts. When talking about her own art Jo Bean is especially animated.

“This one I love, you have to look at this one! Oh and this, I sell tons of these, aren’t they cute?”

She gave us a demonstration of how she makes some of her beads, and even let us make our own beads while we were there. Here is Chris and Jo Bean instructing Chris.

While working with the glass you get to wear these awesome glasses. Chris looked just adorable in them (I look pretty good too, don’t you think?)

It was so much fun. The best part is that I came away with some awesome necklaces, key chains, and other trinkets to sell at the dive shop. Jo Bean makes these wonderful dive necklaces and she is making custom designed, unique to us, Octopus Diving pendants and key chains. She gave me a quick sample of one and it looks great. I will post photos of it soon, and they will be for sale in the shop! I’m super excited! It was also really nice to meet Jo Bean, she’s a real character and has this quality about her that makes you both at ease and also intrigued. If you go to Saba visiting her studio is a must!
So… it was a relaxing vacation and now we are back in St. Martin hard at work. This morning there was a deep dive at La Renee and Stu had 3 open water students! My favorite part of the vacation was sitting with Chris, playing cards, reminding me of the days when we used to travel and had no responsibility, no stress, no worries, just where the next bus was taking us. We always play the same game, and it never gets old…. Here is a clip of Chris, truly relaxed in Saba.
Sorry the video is sideways, I’m new at this…

This is what we are saying, in case you can’t make out Chris’ accent.

Sally: “You’re on video.”

Chris: “That’s nice for me.”

Sally: “Do you have anything to say to all your fans out there?”

Chris: “Ride it like you stole it.”

Sally: “Are you having fun?”

Chris: “Endless.”

Sally: “You look like it.”

Chris: “That’s a nice big white swan behind us…. it’s huge.”

Sally: “I’ve seen it already, it’s fake.”

Chris: “It’s massive. It’s not fake, it’s real. It’s swimming backwards right now.”

Pan over to swan.

Chris: “It’s a real white swan. Otherwise, how would it move around the pool like that? It’s got legs, ‘in it. You just can’t see them.”

Chris takes swig of an aperitif.

Chris: “These shots are good, that’s our fifteenth.”

(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )

One Response to “Quick Trip to Saba”

  1. Greg December 28, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Isn’t SABA great ! Like a totally different world. I wouldn’t care to live there, but it was cool to visit. I mean seriously, who lives on a volcano ?!?! Made for some beautiful scenery and some crazy roads, and an even crazier airport ! I had to adjust for my stay at Scouts, just because I felt it had a, how should I say…”lack of privacy !” ( probably just the American coming out in me 🙂 But still cool. I got some great pictures from there. I got a very cool shot of the countryside being swallowed up by the fog one morning.

    Speaking of pictures, For Christmas, La Deana made me a coffee table book of my diving photos (not as good as yours, but still cool !) and you and the starfish are a celebrity in it ! I have to explain that photo to everyone who sees it and and gives me that funny look !

    Miss you guys, can’t wait to get back to St, Martin .

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