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In this issue:

One Giant Stride For Sea Saba...

Saba Marine Park Offers New Dive Site

Saba's Own Sistine Chapel In the Making

David's Drop-Off Sketch by Dick Litzel

Fort Bay, Saba - Saba's newest dive site, David's Drop-Off, was named after the Saba Marine Park's Director, David Kooistra. Only 10 minutes from Fort Bay, the new site's underwater landscape mirrors the dramatic cliffside cascading down from the island above. Located between Hole in the Corner and Core Gut, the white mooring for David's Drop-Off is anchored in the rocky area at top of the cascading wall that marks the start of the dive site.

A shift in the weather on Sunday, March 24, brought us clear skies, calm seas and a first opportunity to dive this new site located on our windward shores. The varied landscape of this dive starts with Purple Sea Fans and long Sea Whips that grace the shallows from 40 to 50 feet. Lava and coral encrusted boulders perch precariously down the gently sloping wall towards a white sand bottom at 120 feet granting the option of a shallow, deep or multi-level dive profile.

Jean Pierre of UltraMarina quickly altered Dick Litzel's initial tour on Sunday when he pointed out two dolphins passing just overhead but Dick was still able to get us the preliminary sketch of the site that you see above. Later on, a 5-foot Nurse Shark was discovered sleeping under a ledge and a mother and baby Hawksbill Turtle pair were encountered offering close-up observation. The many ledges and overhangs that David's Drop-Off features provide a wealth of macro photo opportunities and offer relaxed exploration at the end of the dive.

Within the Saba Marine Park, three styles of permanent moorings are utilized to prevent reef damage. Concrete blocks are placed in sandy areas with a stainless pin to which a mooring line is attached. Underwater drilling equipment is often used to drill a hole in a select area of boulder and anchor a stainless pin that is secured in place with underwater two-component epoxy. Finally, in order to accommodate larger live-aboard dive vessels, a 3-pronged triad is bolted in to place and secured with epoxy before the line and chafe gear is attached. At David's Drop-Off, a drilled pin style mooring (white) is in place at a depth of 40 feet to accommodate smaller boats.  At the same time, a triad mooring (red) has been established at a depth of 100 feet midway between Hole in the Corner and David's Drop-Off offering live-aboards access to two more dive sites for the price of one.

Our congratulations go out to David Kooistra and the staff of the Saba Marine Park. For more information on how you can support the Saba Marine Park by becoming a Friend of the Saba Conservation Foundation, visit www.sabapark.org.

A new dive site and new boats... it doesn't get any better than this!

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